On the last day of Prospect.1, I had the delightful honor of catching a demonstration of Mardi Gras Indian culture at the Colton School. It wasn’t adults up there, but children attending Indian school, specifically the Young Guardians Of The Flame of the Guardians Institute. The brainchild of Herreast Harrison, widow of Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr., and their children, this school imparts vital New Orleans cultural traditions to their inheritors through dancing, music, sewing and beading lessons. Read more about the institute and its expansion proposal here.
The kids and the institute reminded me of my piano, Bharathanatyam and Hinduism lessons growing up. While I am no acclaimed pianist, dancer or pundit, I have grown to appreciate minuets and operas, jathiswarams and varnams, bhajans and puranas and hope to pass the knowledge on to my children. This exposure to family’s and scoiety’s traditions from a young age on is vital to personal identity and cultural preservation. New Orleans needs this. The world needs this.