|Big Chief Donald Harrison, Senior|
Dear Mardi Gras Indian Community Enthusiast,
I am going to keep my end-of-year request for support real! The idea for Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame was conceived in December of 1998 a few weeks after my daddy, Donald Harrison, Sr., became an ancestor. My soul was deeply pained by his death and I could not imagine how I would go on participating in the tradition without him. I also learned that he made an indelible impression on many people. Someone called my workplace to inquire about a donation of some of his clothes to make a memory quilt. Hurt at what I perceived as their inconsideration, I walked out of the office and cried silently in the hallway. Then Oretha Castle Haley principal, Dr. Roslyn J. Smith, gently inquired to determine the source of the tears. After our conversation, she reflectively said, “We’re going to establish a Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, a place where Mardi Gras Indians can be honored and remembered by our students, tradition enthusiasts, and the general public.” The first ceremony was held on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, 1999.
For me, being a Mardi Gras Indian is a calling. It is a spiritual experience that consumes my being; it is in fact, a way of existing. Being the Co-Founder and Curator of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame is my current life’s work. I devote an immeasurable amount of my time and energy to its programs and projects. When I’m not doing the work, I’m thinking about the work. Over the past 15 years, the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame has worked tirelessly to authentically support tradition bearers and enhance understanding and awareness of Mardi Gras Indian culture.
Through direct community engagement activities, educational efforts and activities honoring historical significance, the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame reaches over 4,700 community members annually. These include elementary school students, elders, Mardi Gras Indians, and the general community. Programs include youth masking, performances from the Indigenous Fine Arts Series, direct services for elders, the Hall of Fame week including an induction ceremony, St. Joseph’s Day celebrations, panels, forums, exhibitions and other community events.
The Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame conducts its programs and projects with authenticity and understanding of the many nuances of Mardi Gras Indian culture. Our events are rooted in the practices that resonate back to the Mardi Gras Indian community in a meaningful manner.
It is not too late for you to make a 2012 tax deductible donation through our fiscal partner National Performance Network. It is very easy to do. Be SURE to select Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame from the drop-down menu on the donation page.
Should you choose to make a donation via check, please mail it to the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, PO Box 3762, New Orleans, LA 70177.
Thank you for your support,
Cherice "Queen Reesie" Harrison-Nelson