Bury the Hatchet
Aaron Walker’s new film takes you deep into the heart of New Orleans to discover a celebration hidden from mainstream Mardi Gras. Each year, members of a predominantly African-American neighbourhood dress up as Indians to honour the Native American communities that harboured blacks escaping from slavery. A Mardi Gras tradition that dates back to perhaps as far as the mid-19th century, the ‘Indians’ have created a highly intricate structure, with over 40 ‘tribes’ featuring hierarchical roles such as chief, medicine man and flag boy. Through Walker’s portrayal, audiences experience the rich history and struggles this community has faced. Enduring street violence, police harassment and Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, the Mardi Gras ‘Indians’ find the strength to carry on their traditions. Bury the Hatchet also presents a soundtrack of rare music passed down through generations, many of the songs having never been written down or recorded before the 1970s. - Heather Haynes.