The Mardi Gras Indians are probably the least recognized Mardi Gras tradition. They are a large part of the African American culture of New Orleans inner city. They are socially deprived and usually poor. Groups of fugitive African slaves formed communities and settled in the inner city. The Mardi Gras Indians have paraded on Mardi Gras Day for over a century. The earliest Mardi Gras Indian parade occurred in 1899. Mardi Gras used to be a violent day for the Indians, but it is no longer. They are organized into loose "tribes". They have named themselves after Native Americans so they can pay respect for their help in escaping slavery. It is an African custom to take on some of the traditions of neighboring tribes. The Mardi Gras Indians wear costumes that combine African and Native American styles. The costumes are made of beads, sequins, feathers, rhinestones and ribbons. They have beaded designs and brilliant colors. Each beaded design tells a story and could cost thousands of dollars. Some costumes are made of deer skin and are packed with beads. The Indians also wear huge feather headpieces. Their costumes are also a cause for bragging. On Mardi Gras Day the "tribes" parade through neighborhoods singing and dancing. They sing war songs and do war dances. Their songs boast strength, skill, and bravery. The Indians carry mock weapons and play instruments like drums, tambourines, and cowbells. The Mardi Gras Indians still remain tribal and have developed their own style of celebrating Mardi Gras.