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Young Guardians of the Flame Cultural Arts Collective

Members of the Young Guardians of the Flame range in age from six to fifteen years old . The children are all enrolled in the Guardians Institute’s Sankofa Saturday Program. The family program provides activities that foster civic engagement through authentic participation in indigenous cultural traditions, reading and fiscal literacy and Sankofa Lessons shared by community elders that serve to impart values through story telling and proverbs.

The Young Guardians of the Flame continue a Masquerading tradition that has been maintained in African American communities in New Orleans for more than a century. When people of African descent were enslaved, local Native Americans assisted and sheltered enslaved people who were able to escape. African Americans chose the Native American motif to pay homage to area Native Peoples for the assistance extended to them. The music of this cultural tradition blends elements of Jazz and African drumming techniques with the distinctive call and response song style. This group is known for their soulful songs, spirited dancing, and spectacular ritual attire of West African inspired beaded images, rhinestone designs, and colorful plumage.

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