The White Eagles/Black Indians of New Orleans

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Nance’s photography is about her spiritual realization that all African Americans are connected, in some way, to one another. In White Eagles/Black Indians of New Orleans, African Americans dress in costumes influenced by the ceremonial dress of Native Americans as part of Mardi-Gras, the annual pre-Lenten celebration in New Orleans. One theory suggests that this custom began as a tribute by African Americans to Native Americans for helping runaway slaves; another suggests that it is a way of celebrating similarities between two minority cultural groups.

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012
The White Eagles/Black Indians of New Orleans
On View
Not on view.
sheet: 15 7/8 x 19 7/8 in. (40.4 x 50.4 cm.)
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Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase made possible by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment and the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program

Mediums Description
gelatin silver print
  • Figure group – male
  • Cityscape – Louisiana – New Orleans
  • Performing arts – music
  • Ethnic – African-American
  • Dress – costume – Indian costume
  • Ceremony – festival – New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest.
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