Firstline Schools

FirstLine’s Big Chief Awards

Created in 2015, the Big Chief Awards are named after former FirstLine leaders who embodied the values of Service, Learning, Results, Collaboration, Fun and Safekeeping. Each year’s winners are called Big Chiefs, like the leaders of New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian tribes, also known as Black Indians.

Mardi Gras Indians tribes were formed by people of African descent to retain the cultural memory of original African tribes that were brought to New Orleans as slaves. The Black Indians tradition pays respect to Native American tribes for protecting enslaved people when they made a break for freedom. Historically excluded from joining the primarily white Mardi Gras “krewes,” Black Indians developed their own traditions of celebrating Carnival, recognizing their indigenous Native American allies as the original safekeepers.

Here at FirstLine, Big Chiefs reflect those who embody the values we hold most sacred and inspire us to exhibit courage as we work towards educational equity for all children in New Orleans. Winners are nominated by their peers and voted on by former Big Chief Award winners. You can experience a Big Chief Pep Rally for yourself by clicking on the video below.

The Big Chief Awards
The Ramona Luke Big Chief of Service Award
The Brenda Benoit Big Chief of Results Award
The Anthony Recasner Big Chief of Learning Award
The Darcy McKinnon Big Chief of Collaboration Award
The Kelly Miranda Big Chief of Fun Award
The Adrian Morgan Big Chief Guardian Award

Click on each video below to see what people had to say about the 2024 Big Chiefs.

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