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Traditional Mas Characters - Black Indians

Photos and research courtesy the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago (CITT).

Black Indians – Combines certain elements of the Red Indian with some African derived elements. They dress predominantly in black with other colours. Their faces are also painted black. They have their own distinctive speech.

Indians are one of the most colourful and interesting of the traditional mas characters; containing elaborate feathered headpieces sometimes built over bamboo or wire frames. The headpiece is supported by a structure that covers the masquerader's entire body. Indian Mas may incorporate any number of effects including papier-mâché masks, canoes, ostrich plumes, mirrors, beads, feather work, totem poles, and ribbons.


Indian Mas falls into two categories – Indians Fancy and Indians Authentic. Indians Fancy can be described as any imaginative or fanciful portrayal of American Indians. Indians Authentic is any authentic portrayal of the Wild Indians of the American continent, including Black Indians.

There are five types of Indians: Black Indians, Blue Indians, Fancy Indians, Authentic Indians and Guarahoon/Wild Indians/Red Indians