Black Masking Indians are black carnival revelers in New Orleans, Louisiana, who dress up for Mardi Gras in suits influenced by Native American ceremonial apparel. Collectively, their organizations are called "tribes". There are about 38 tribes which range in size from half a dozen to several dozen members. The groups are largely independent, but a pair of umbrella organizations loosely coordinates the Uptown Indians and the Downtown Indians. In addition to Mardi Gras Day, many of the tribes also parade on Saint Joseph's Day (March 19) and the Sunday nearest to Saint Joseph's Day ("Super Sunday"). Traditionally, these were the only times Mardi Gras Indians were seen in public in full regalia. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival began the practice of hiring tribes to appear at the Festival as well. In recent years it has become more common to see Mardi Gras Indians at other festivals and parades.
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