Mardi Gras Indian Culture

Posted on March 10, 2021


Greetings, dear readers! Grief has been kicking my ass, keeping me from posting here, but I WANT to every day; I simply cannot generate the energy every day. As winter turns to spring, we leave behind the season in which my two sisters, Karen and Sheree, died from cancer, and I’m really struggling with intense sadness, chronic pain flares, and low mental energy. I am able to complete one cognitive challenge per day, and then my brain is done and I head outside. I write in my journal and draw one comic per day, to explore and express my feelings, but writing to publish has been more challenging. I know that I’ll recover my productivity, but it will come in time. For now, I’ll post when I can. Today, I can. Thank you for being here.

Today I’m thinking about Mardi Gras Indian Culture and feeling respect and admiration for the people and the culture. I have been a huge fan of music from New Orleans for decades, but I never learned about the Indians, and I must say, I feel cheated! But thank goodness for Youtube, where the algorithm saw to it that, at 57 years old, I learned about this rich and beautiful American tradition that grew from Black gratitude for Indigenous compassion, when enslaved Black African people who escaped were aided and accepted into Indigenous communities.

When I hear the voices of the elders and the youth, speaking in one voice, one heart, for the People, my heart quickens with appreciation, respect, and admiration. I hear the echoes of the lessons and values I’ve learned from my own medicine elders.

What do you know about Mardi Gras Indians?

If you want to learn a little something and meet some awesome individuals and groups whose hearts beat for the People, check out:


“Chief Black Hawk” | Short Film (11 min)

A short look at 16 year-old Big Chief Tee and his tribe, The Black Hawk Hunters, exploring the passing on of the Mardi Gras Indian Masking tradition, its history, and its future. “Chief Black Hawk” is a part of a larger documentary exploring the changing of the New Orleans community, and its potential effects on its unique culture.

“The War” from “Big Chief, Black Hawk” (2:15 min) Fighting gentrification after Katrina.

Mardi Gras Indians (blog)

Musical Influence of Mardi Gras Indians (University blog w/ related course offerings at Tulane U)

The Mardi Gras Indian Of [Beyonce’s] ‘Lemonade’ (Code Switch blog, NPR)


I have really enjoyed learning about the people and traditions of Mardi Gras Indians, and I’ll be looking to learn more going forward. Maybe I’ll learn something from you! I’m keeping my eyes and ears peeled.

Peace and Love, reader! Thanks for reading! Be well!

lisa eddy is a writer and editor for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy
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