By Cynthia Reid | Shadow and Act May 4, 2011 at 3:47AM
The documentary Bury The Hatchet just screened at the Canadian International Documentary Festival and won “Best Louisiana Feature Award” at the 2010 New Orleans Film Festival. Still on the festival circuit, the film gives a detailed look at an old New Orleans tradition.
Directed by Aaron Walker, it's presently screening at Chalmette Movies in Chalmette, LA.
Bury The Hatchet features three Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs in a dynamic portrait of the unique and endangered culture of New Orleans they represent–as bearers of tradition, as artists and as musicians.
Descendents of runaway slaves given harbor by the Native Americans in the bayous of Louisiana, these practitioners of a hundreds-years-old tradition sew elaborate costumes resembling those of the Indians, parading through the streets of the city on Mardi Gras day while singing traditional songs that contribute another layer to New Orleans’ already rich musical vernacular.
Following these men, we get to experience the vulnerability of the black community in New Orleans–from the destruction of middle class African-American neighborhoods to make way for an interstate highway, to the violence that once defined their culture, to police crackdowns, the reality of aging and death, and finally the absolute devastation of their community following Hurricane Katrina.
While the Chiefs differ in many ways, their need to pass on their traditions drives all three men as they give schoolbooks to children, teach the craft of sewing and song, tell stories and give advice, and generally serve as informal leaders in their communities.
To learn more about the film, please go to the film's website HERE.