“They have an anthem called “Indian Red” whose lyrics include:
“I’ve got a Big Chief, Big Chief,
Big Chief of the Nation Wild, wild creation
He won’t bow down, down on the ground
Oh how I love to hear him call Indian Red”
Objectively, out of context, this is by-definition cultural appropriation. Imagine if these were white men and women. I should be offended…right?
But it’s complicated. The history of Mardi Gras Indians comes out of a history of shared oppression and marginality between the Black and Native residents, or some stories point to a desire to honor Native communities who took in escaped slaves.