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Adventurer Fever World Nomads Travel Film Scholarship: New Orleans and Mardi Gras 2014!

Little Giants: the Red Flame Hunters

ARGENTINA | Friday, 18 April 2014 | Views [1409]

"The Chief makes the decision if the tribe will meet you or not. Because if they ain´t pretty like me I don´t want to meet them. I´m pretty every year, so if you are not as pretty as me I don´t want to meet you. If they didn´t work as I did, then I don´t meet them, they don´t deserve it, they don´t deserve me, The Big Chief.”

On our sixth day in New Orleans we had the great pleasure of meeting the Red Flame Hunters, one of the most unique Indian tribes of New Orleans. “Every tribe has the same line up of people, they have all the same positions. But we are the only kids tribe that I know right now, we are the only tribe of kids, and thats amazing”,says Justin, the Big Chief of the gang. His pride for his tribe oozes out of every single one of his pores.


When we arrive at the house, it is early in the morning and the only way to find the kids is to look for them, camouflaged by the feathers, sequins, needles, glue and scissors. Only two days remain before Mardi Gras and they know what this means. “Every year, it takes us about ten to eleven months to sew our suits. We stick our fingers with the needle, and it´s just time and dedication. We have 15 indians coming out on Mardi Gras this year.” They need to work hard, that´s the only way to go out and show everyone what they are capable of. “We come out every year on Mardi Gras, and we are the prettiest gang. It takes time to be the best, you have to work hard. That´s what I work for, to be the best, to win the championship. We got the prettiest gang and I´m the Chief of the gang.”

As part of the Red Flame Hunters, Justin has been taught not only the respect for his roots and traditions as an Indian, but also for his mates and the community. It is a long journey to become a Big Chief, and he knows thatbesides  it being a big honour, it is also a huge responsibility. “To be the Chief means that you have to take care of your own tribe, to make sure everybody is sewing, you got to protect your whole gang. The first year that we actually started we were  four kids: I was a spy boy and all the rest were spy boys too. The year after that, I was the only one sewing, and the other kids never came back so Mr. Ed made me the Big Chief.”

Mr. Ed Buckner is the mentor of the kids. He does an exceptional job of not only organising their work but also acting like the father they don´t have in every way. Most of these kids come from families with few resources in which their mothers are in charge of everything, and work long hours that don´t allow them to be with their kids as much as they would like to. Instead of leaving the kids to their own devices, the Red Flame Hunters provides a safe environment and an amazing life school. “It´s a blessing to be out on Mardi Gras day, to show everybody all the work that you have done over the year. I´ve been feeling proud of it, but this is my fifth year so I´m getting kind of use to it”, says Justin.
Getting to know Ed and his kids was a touching experience. The way they share their passion for their tradition, that what makes them who they are, it´s just amazing. They are a beautiful group of kids between (7 and 16 years old), all of them full of energy, solidarity and knowledge of how important what they are doing really is. This amazing energy is truly infectious. 

Tags: indian tribes, mardi gras, new orleans, red flame hunters

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