Tribal Queen Littdell “Queen Bee” Banister, the senior actively masking Queen, is dedicated to the Black Indian tradition. After starting her six-year-old son Honey on the Indian path, she joined the Creole Wild West. Together they have sewn and masked for the past forty-two years. She says being an Indian is “in our blood,” literally, because she claims Choctaw ancestry. To her, performing and dancing “just come natural.” She is highly competitive, asserting: “I’m coming in peace, if you let me, and hell if you don’t.” When she puts on an Indian suit she experiences a trance-like altering of consciousness: “I’m in the zone … the suit transforms you.” She concurs with Eleanor Roosevelt, who said: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift.” She says her motto is “Be the best you can be in whatever you do.”
At WWOZ's studios, she sat down for an interview with Karen Celestan to talk about her traditions.