Embodying an imagined other through rebellion, resistance and joy: Mardi gras Indians and black indigeneity

Ricardo A Guthrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article examines embodied double and triple consciousness expressed by African Americans who reflect Indigenous and transplanted African/Indian heritages while performing as Mardi Gras "Indians" in New Orleans. Moving beyond simplistic dichotomies of "Africanness" and "indigeneity," Black Indians produce sustained historical and cultural identities which reinforce Afro-indigeneity to overcome oppressive conditions while creating a foundation for resilience. Mardi Gras Indians perform ritual parades and complex acts of resistance and joy-playfully appropriating and adapting African, Indian and American cultures to interrogate hybrid identities beyond Black/White paradigms. The playful ambiguities-and mocking stereotypical images of savage Indians and Africans-continue to be displayed through music, art and pop cultural expressions well into the post-Katrina era. An examination of Black Indians through a cultural-historical analysis sets the stage for a reassessment of popular culture and the HBO TV series Treme (Simon, 2010-2013)-specifically its use of fictive, triple-conscious imaginaries which give life to vibrant, joyful expressions of resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-573
Number of pages16
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • African-diasporic
  • Afro-indigenous
  • Black Indians
  • Carnivalesque
  • Creoles
  • Mardi gras Indians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • History


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