Help a unique tribe hurt by Hurricane Katrina: Mardi Gras Indians
Aided by the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Blackfoot and other American Indian tribes, the former slaves and free men of color expressed their respect for their benefactors by “masking” as Indians during Mardi Gras.
The Mardi Gras Indians are organized into about 35 neighborhood-based tribes. They spend all year working on their elaborate beaded, feathered and plumed suits. Most of them live in the lower sections of New Orleans and lost their suits in the floods accompanying Hurricane Katrina. They’ve been scattered around the country, Mann said, putting their dancing and self-decorating at risk of disappearing.
To see me explain the difference between real Indians and phony Indians to clueless Mardi Gras supporters, go to Mardi Gras: "To be an Indian is a very special calling."