1998 – present- Cyrill Green Big Chief Iron Horse (deceased)
1998 – Present – Kenneth Young Big Chief klik – 2nd Chief
To date Chief Klik is the first chief that we have interviewed that can trace his bloodline back to Aboriginal America, not only that, but his family still owns their land where he is the modern-day Chief of his village. That land is in Bayou Lacombe and surrounding areas in Louisiana and that aboriginal tribe has many names. To say the least I was past intrigued and could hardly contain my composure. They were a million and one questions going through my mind! Unfortunately, this is an article and not a novel, so what I reveal will only touch the surface. I urge all that read this article to do more research about America, before Columbus. More than a majority of New Orleans’ Blacks are of Aboriginal or Indian Heritage. Yes, your history books were false, now they use the term outdated. The late Big Chief Cyril Green named the tribe the Black Seminoles to pay respect to the Indigenous Tribes of the area. Also taking his name Iron Horse from the Black Seminole freedman Chief John Horse.
In late 1700’s, early 1800’s many tribes in the West Florida, now known as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida were named Seminole meaning Renegade, by the Whites in the cavalry of the northern first colonies. As Osceola was the Chief of the Seminole, John Horse was for freed or escaped slaves known as the Black Seminoles or Maroons. As many of us have heard the stories of the Maroons occupying the areas outside the City. Well the City was only the French Quarter. That means present day 7th Ward, 9th Ward and especially uptown which was later developed was their territories. Because of the shared names and of tribes and the renaming of Indians by Americans, allow me to clarify what that means for Black Masking Culture and the Aboriginal Blacks of this area. The Black Seminoles were a tribe comprised of free Blacks (aboriginals) and fugitive slaves that forged a strategic alliance. This alliance created the community of Congo Square. This is the culture; Black Masking is celebrating on St. Joseph Night and Mardi Gras. Biblically, it can be asserted that the tribe of Gad and Judah unite in the City of New Orleans.
Q) I asked Chief if what I read was true, did the Aboriginal Indians of this land first speak a form of Hebrew?
A) Yes, originally that’s true. That’s going back biblically. It goes to everyone being a part of one of the tribes. You know the 12 tribes. I come from Gad, I know exactly where I come from, where my ancestors come from. People don’t know who they are and don’t want to know. It’s a choice.
Q) How long have you been the Big Chief of the tribe?
A) Well I’m not the Chief. I’m the second Chief. Since Big Chief Iron Horse passed away I’ve been keeping things going, keeping the tribe alive. Being a Chief was not my goal. I play my position, I was appointed and I’m still that. Second Chief to honor him.
Q) What is the spirit of your tribe?
A) The spirit of my Tribe is to keep our community together. That’s the reason why I became very interested in becoming a member of the tribe because my Chief had a real connection to our neighborhood, to our family to the kids, to people in the community who needed and still need that type of guidance. Our goal is to be a strong tribe that’s being an example to kids giving them a way out. Thirteen and 14year olds are getting their hands-on guns. My main goal is to make sure I’m available for the community so they will have somewhere to go, some events to be involved in. It’s not only that, spiritually everything else will do its work in the process.
Q) Style of beading
A) I like different styles, I love uptown, I love downtown styles. I prefer beaded patches. A lot of people do 3d work. I can do those too, but I prefer to do beaded patches.
Q) What does it mean to be a Chief on both sides of your life, Blood and culture?
A) Being Chief is not just being a person of status. It’s a lot of work. You have to get your word out to your family. Get your people together you gotta know who there are, it’s whole other lifestyle. There’s a whole lot of ways that we all have learned even down to profanity and different things that we didn’t even speak. There’s a whole bunch spiritually to being involved if that’s the way you wanna go.
Q) What are your thoughts on the Name Mardi Gras Indians opposed to Black Masking Culture?
A) The Name Mardi Gras Belongs to the City of New Orleans. The original Mardi Gras started in Alabama, so if you are looking at the word play of names, if we start addressing ourselves correctly than the money will start coming where it should be.