By Jamie Saxon, Princeton Office of Communications, and Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

In a panel discussion held April 3 at Princeton University, two “big chiefs” of New Orleans’ Black Masking Indian groups explored the complex artistry and deep-seated community of the Black Masking tradition.

Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters and Big Chief Darryl Montana of the Yellow Pocahontas Hunters are leaders of two of these groups, known popularly as Mardi Gras Indians. Referred to as “tribes,” the groups organize by neighborhood and perform during Mardi Gras (or Carnival) and other celebratory occasions wearing these intricately beaded and decorated suits. This process of creating elaborate ceremonial suits and aprons originated by African Americans almost 200 years ago to pay homage to American Indians and tell visual stories of hardship and redemption.

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By Edwin Buggage

New Orleans: The Most African City in America

New Orleans is rich with traditions. and today is celebrating its 300-Year Anniversary. Every year, people from around the world come to experience the enviable and unmatched splendor of this City, a cultural jewel that shines around the globe. This gem has given the world jazz, great cuisine, brass bands, the second-line, the Black Masking Tradition (Mardi Gras Indians) and bears so many other unique traditions that make it, unlike any other place. Continue reading →


By Glenn Jones February 22nd, 2018, history was made. For the first time in New Orleans’ higher learning history, a Black Masking Cultural art exhibition was held. Delgado Community College will not only be written in the history books as the first forward-thinking institution in New Orleans to hold a Black Masking art exhibition and lecture series but also as the first college to facilitate the bond between NOLA scholars, Black Masking Culture, and 3D Technology. Weeks prior to the opening of the exhibition, Delgado opened the Chevron FabLab to 25 middle school scholars from St. Mary’s who learned the basics of 3D design from FabLabPro Sam Provenza and went on a Black Masking cultural exploration with lead curator Glenn Jones from B-Nola. The students delved into the significance of their local native traditions and discussed ways in which to leverage 3D technology and create products that youth in New Orleans identify with. The end result of that creative powwow was a 3D collector’s edition figurine of Big Chief Shaka Zulu of the Golden Feather Tribe. New Orleans natives of all ages gathered in awe. Stay tuned for the bNola.love Black Masking podcast hosted by St. Mary’s School scholars with the gift of journalism.

 


Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines an American as A native of America; originally applied to the aboriginals, or copper-colored races, found here by the Europeans; but now applied to the descendants of Europeans born in America.

Louisiana is home to some of the oldest Black Aboriginal Tribes in North America such as the Chitimacha, Choctaw, Houma, Washita, Atakapa, Natchez, Tunica, Chawasha, Adai, Doustione, Natchitoches, Yatasi, Acolapissa, Mugulasha, Okelousa, Wuinapisa, Tangipahoa, and others known for some of the earliest civilizations and earthworks such as Poverty Point built between 1650 and 700 B.C. which is recognized as a world historic site.

In Southeast Louisiana, the aboriginals led the French colonists towards high ground through what we know today as Bayou Rd across the Esplanade Ridge. Jean Baptiste Bienville began construction on what the world knows as the French Quarter March of 1718 three hundred years to present day New Orleans. Continue reading →


By Glenn Jones

42 Tribes Recap

Beginning June, 2017,  Data News Weekly’s special feature, 42 Tribes has been shining the spotlight on the “Big Chiefs” of the 42 tribes that comprise the Black Indigenous Masking culture,  which is the heart and soul of Black New Orleans culture.  It is a supreme collective tradition and sacred heritage.  With the Tri-Centennial coming next year, Data News Weekly is highlighting all 42 of the Present Big Chiefs, and telling the stories that bring us closer to, and show proper reverence for this great and powerful history. Masking tradition is New Orleans, no Tri-Centennial celebration can be made here, without celebrating Indian culture.  Here is a quick look back at the 18 Chiefs we have profiled so far, and next week, we will bring you two new Chiefs on our way to 42 Tribes.   Visit www. http://ladatanews.com/category/42-tribes/  

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