Manataka American Indian Council

Proudly Presents

 

 

 

 

 

CURRENT EVENTS  

 

Mardi Gras Indian Council

 

Legendary Chief Robbe (Robert Lee) founded The Mardi Gras Indian Council in 1985 to represent the Mardi Gras Indian tribes and preserve the unique New Orleans tradition of "masking Indian." Chief  Robbe asked Bertrand Butler to gather the neighborhood leaders known as chiefs, and he has served as executive director ever since. 

 

Every year for Carnival season, neighborhood-based groups of African Americans appear on the streets in elaborate, hand sewn suits of the finest beads and feathers, confronting other tribes in ritualistic encounters that involve chanting, dancing and competition for the “prettiest” suits. The breath-taking suits embody the artistic genius, stamina and resourcefulness of the chief and queens. The multiple generations of family and community members who accompany them, in the roles of wild men, spy boys and flag boys, testify to their power as leaders and the genesis of that strength in a community brought together to maintain an extraordinary tradition against great odds.

 

http://www.mardigrasindiancouncil.org/

 

Two documentaries created by Ohio State University Newark campus students and aired on WYES-TV capture the history of the Mardi Gras Indians. 

 

The Big Chiefs of Carnival: 

Spirit Leads My Needle

In interviews with Ohio State University at Newark students from 2012-2015, the Big Chiefs of the Mardi Gras Indian Council describe their determination to preserve their unique culture. The Mardi Gras Indian tradition  has been essential to forging community bonds and providing opportunities for leadership and creative expression to African American men and women, yet has been continually threatened by racism, marginalization, police brutality, failed levees and generational change. 

Legendary Chief Robbe (Robert Lee) founded The Mardi Gras Indian Council in 1985 to represent the Mardi Gras Indian tribes and preserve the unique New Orleans tradition of "masking Indian." Chief  Robbe asked Bertrand Butler to gather the neighborhood leaders known as chiefs, and he has served as executive director ever since. 

 

The Big Queens of Carnival: It’s Your Glory

This documentary tells the often overlooked story of the women who are integral to the culture’s survival during Carnival season and throughout the year. This documentary, based on interviews Ohio State Newark campus students conducted in spring 2015, gives voice to the powerful women who provide crucial support for a community tradition best known for its Big Chiefs. Like the chiefs, they design and sew their suits by hand each year, and they provide crucial support to the chiefs and the community.

 

 

 


 

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