The Mardi Gras Black Indians have been a part of New Orleans music and culture since the year 1880 although the connection to Native Americans dates back to the year 1682 (a 328 year history). During this period of slavery native Indian tribes frequently harbored escaping slaves and during the Indian resettlement of the 1830’s free blacks harbored Native Indians seeking to escape white rule. They manifested a bond which black New Orleanians have remembered until this very day. In many ways what makes Black Indians unique is out of sight from most people. Even today there are limited interactions between the Indians and mainstream New Orleans culture. It remains a mostly secret society harboring its most treasured traditions and passing them on to their descendents. The Black Indian tradition has been crippled in the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane yet it still lives.
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