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"In the spirit of SANKOFA...Reach Back and Fetch your history & your culture so that you will take purposeful steps into the future."
~ Chadra Pittman Walke, Founder & Executive Director
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Of Lions and Hunters...
Chinua Achebe writes that "Until the lions have the historians, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter." For the past few days, since the ceremony at Fells point, I have been thinking a lot about this saying.
There were many months leading up to the Fells Point Ceremony in Baltimore of writing, preparation to create the Ritual for the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port markers Project's (MPCPMP) dawn and dusk ceremonies. Many conference calls, emails, misunderstandings, issues that came up and clarity found. I have learned "grave", pun intended, yet valuable lessons on this journey. Although some of the lessons were surprising and completely unexpected, they were necessary in order that I move forward with a new awareness of my responsibilities to the dead, the living and the unborn.
I am grateful to have been part of the team of writers that created the template for the ceremony. Dr. Joanne M. Braxton, Dr. Rachel Harding and I brought to this project years of knowledge and experience which we possess individually and collectively. In order to create a meaningful sacred ceremony and to fulfill a sacred covenant with the ancestors, we created a template which we gave freely to the MPCPMP as a gift to the ancestors and I pray they, the ancestors, are pleased.
For decades now, many have across the United States and the globe have committed their lives to this sacred work of honoring our ancestors. Tributes and remembrances are nothing new. Many have been working in this tradition of paying honor and tribute to our ancestors who perished in the Middle passage of the Trans-Atlantic Enslavement Trade for a long time. Remembering our ancestors is necessary---it is the work we must do to heal and to move forward taking purposeful steps.
It is also important to acknowledge the work that others have done in this tradition before us. When we honor those who came before us, we honor ourselves as well. We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.