42 Tribes Questions & Answers

How much do you know about the Black Masking Injuns?

Test Your knowledge below.

1. How many years did the Black Indigenous Maskers practice the Masking Culture prior to Mardi Gras?


The Louisiana’s Code Noir of (1724) prevented the Black Indigenous Maskers from publicly Masking. However there is evidence of the Black Indigenous practicing the tradition of Masking prior to the establishment of the city of New Orleans and the discovery of America.

2. Do you know why the Mardi Gras Indians are called “Mardi Gras” Indians?


In 1964, after “segregation” ended, The Black Indigenous Maskers were allowed to participate in the city’s (New Orleans) Annual Mardi Gras Events. Thus, the name “Mardi Gras Indians”. The Black Maskers used the European Holidays, Mardi Gras, and St. Joseph’s Day to come out in Mask.

3. What is the oldest tribe?


Although there is no official record of the oldest tribe, some historians have noted that in 1993 The United Nations declared that the Washitaw Nation is the  oldest Indigenous people to this land. Discover more about this and more by viewing the Preserve Our Culture Video on The History of Black Indigenous Masking here on Black Masking Injuns

4. What did Maskers use to decorate their suits prior to the invention of sequence?


Prior to the invention of sequin, Black Indigenous Maskers used Fish scales to decorate their suits

5. How Many Tribes are there in New Orleans?


There are 39-42 active tribes in the City of New Orleans. View a new Big Chief of the Week every Thursday by viewing the Chief of the Week video here on Black Masking Injuns

6. Can a masker switch tribes?


Extremely rare, but only approval of both tribal Big Chiefs’.

7. Does the Big Chief wife become the tribe’s Queen automatically?


Traditionally Big Chief do not approve of their wives in the position as Queen of the tribe. Discover why and more by viewing the Preserve Our Culture Video on The History of Black Indigenous Masking here on Black Masking Injuns

8. What is the proper way to compliment a Big Chief?


Simply say, “You sooo pretty!”

9. What is the Role of the Flag Boy?


The Flag Boy relays the message from the Spy to the Chief.

10. What is the difference between uptown and downtown injun?


The style of beading and….. Find out more on Big Chief Talk here on BlackMasking.org. Stay tune for two short films of Downtown Injun Culture and Uptown Injun Culture coming soon.


We will highlight 42 Chiefs and there Tribe. The documentary series will describe the individual Big Chiefs Tribal History.

We have been blessed to have the rare opportunity to photograph and publish each Tribal Chief.