Mardi Gras Indians Movement Customs

One of the most magnificent spectacles of all Mardi Gras celebrations is the elaborate tradition of the black neighborhood “tribes” who dress up to honor the Native Americans who first befriended them as runaway slaves in early days of New Orleans. A unique vernacular tradition that combines the cultural customs of African and Native Americans emerged in the 1880s as an act of liberation, a spirit of rebellion that used masking, chanting, and body language of their hierarchy of positions “to take to the streets.”