This post has many links for your edification and enjoyment.
Young masquerader in Native American costume, Trinidad Carnival.
This image and others are available for purchase in various sizes including 8×10″, 11×14″ or 16×20″ prints, framed or unframed.
Youth from the Kilimanjaro School of Arts & Culture as Moko Jumbies (on stilts) one of the last places you’ll find young adults in traditional mas.
Heritage comes full circle with the Sierra Leone hunting band participating in the DC Caribbean Carnival.
This post should be on a writing site such as this one but…
Last year I watched Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. It’s the story of how the US government removed the Sioux Nation from their sacred lands when they discovered gold there, after they had signed an agreement giving those lands to the native tribes. There are moments in the film when I felt so much sorry for how these people’s way of life was just wiped away. There are scenes where children are forced to convert and to take christian names or not be recognized. A few times in the film people state that in order for the Indian to survive he must assimilate.
In New Orleans and in Trinidad today Native mas is a way to stand in solidarity with a way of life that has been substantially decimated. When a dominant culture wipes away another it is devastating to many. We can get a hint of that from so many Native American stories. I’ve had conversations with black people who talked about English, German, Indian ancestory and I thought “what about your African ancestory, did that just disappear?” I cannot begin to imagine the loss caused by the systematic annihilation of African culture due to slavery in the Caribbean and Americas. Carnival is one of the few places it survives. As was telling some people I met at an exhibit this weekend, the festival is not just about feting, it carries in its DNA, the cultural artifacts of many ancestral traditions, and the message that despite insurmountable challenges, that message resisted and remained alive.
February is around the corner, and again we live out the Sankofa principle by Blogging de Carnaval. I welcome your questions and ideas on how to “return and get it.”
This completes the Blogging de Carnaval series from 2011. Tomorrow is a new day to