10 Questions for so-called Black Native Americans (i.e., those who deny that we are of African descent)

1. If our ancestors aren’t African, why do we primarily have West African haplotypes? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4048334/

2. Why do we eat African foods? How did these crops get to the Americas? https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/how-enslaved-africans-influenced-american-diet/4816356.html

Why is our diet not identical to the Native American diet? Consider, for instance their relationship to corn in contrast to ours?

3. Why do we speak a language (AAVE or Ebonics) that has African syntax, rather than the syntax of Native American languages? https://www.academia.edu/17776766/Africanisms_in_Contemporary_English

4. What is this and how did it come to America? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banjo#/media/File:Bluegrass_banjo.png

5. The earliest Muslims in the US were Blacks. Where did they come from? How did they get here? They said that they were brought on slave ships. They actually told their stories. Were they mistaken or confused? https://nyupress.org/9781479847112/servants-of-allah/

6. Many Africans in the 18th and 19th Century used the term African in the organizations. Examples include the African Lodge, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the First African Church. Many of those who lived during these times were taken directly from Africa or had forbears that were. Were they mistaken? Were they confused?

7. Many African Americans gave their children African names. Why didn’t they give them Native American names? Were they confused about where they came from? https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/names-and-naming-african

8. Many Africans wrote narratives of the experience of enslavement. Where are the period narratives that affirm that we are, in fact, native to the US?

9. If we are native to the US, are Afro-Cubans, Afro-Brazilians, Jamaicans, Haitians, Afro-Columbians, etc.? If so, why does so much of their culture also derive from Africa? Such similarities defies coincidence do they not?

10. Why are our fighting traditions African-based? Why aren’t these methods of fighting found amongst Africans and not the indigenous population of the Americas? https://uscpress.com/Fighting-for-Honor

The reality is that our relationship with the indigenous population has been complicated. We have collaborated with them (i.e., in instances of insurrection), extirpated them (i.e., as in the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers), and been exploited by them (i.e., as in slavery). However, we are not them. We are Africans.

To quote Edward Wilmot Blyden, “Your place has been assigned you in the universe as Africans, and there is no room for you as anything else.” The embrace of such a sublime reality as our inherent Africanness is the very foundation to our regeneration as a people.

Impoverished notions of freedom

African/Black people are strongly encouraged to embrace a notion of freedom that centers on the self-interest of the individual, rather than one wherein self-determination and sovereignty are our principal objectives. The former striving is reinforced across the cultural landscape, while the latter is portrayed as an unattainable myth or heresy.

Bridges, not walls

IMG_20190530_191323742 (1)
Given the salience of alienation in this society, it is unsurprising that the politics of atomization retain such popularity. In these times one could simply manufacture identity constructs or conspiracies or political agendas that no matter how mad would attract a following.
What is perhaps lost in the headlong rush towards division ad infinitum is an appreciation to the degree that such actions erodes the basis of community. Absent this, our capacity to exist as members of a society greatly diminishes. Further, our resolve to act in concert towards desired ends (such as addressing climate change, which threatens to nullify our species or to empower our communities) cease to be viable.
The politics of atomization has proven itself as an expedient means to garner attention and to rally the disaffected given that it peddles in fear and loathing. Alternatively, it has not proven itself sufficient to compel people to act towards a broader vision of the future based on hope, mutual respect, or a recognition of our interdependency. In its most grotesque forms, solidarity is decried and disunity is lauded. Such thinking dismisses Pan-Africanism as an anachronistic fiction, while identity constructs based on our subjugation by European settler colonists or our descent from those whom they enslaved is considered cutting-edge, if not radical.
I am reminded of a Swahili proverb that states “Bora kujenga madaraja kuliko kuta.” It translates into English as “It is better to build bridges than walls.” Indeed, we need to build the bridges that will carry us into the future.

The Ancient Aryan Concept of Freedom

In Essays in Ancient Egyptian Studies, Jacob H. Carruthers wrote, “The Greek concept of freedom which is also characteristic of the Aryan way, is drawn from the concept of the Chief God (Zeus or Wodin) who is completely free to do as he wants, e.g. to rape any goddess or woman, to exploit or destroy any god or man according to his whim.”

Though some may not see the relevance, this is what we see all around us in the west deployed as a form of absolute freedom or hyperrelativism–a contemporary discourse with ancient roots. It is a freedom from all constraints. A freedom to pursue infinite hedonism or depravity.

In the our day, such a notion of freedom has been hailed as radical or revolutionary but it is neither, at least from an African worldview. This acknowledgment begs the question of how freedom might be conceptualized with human well-being and communal flourishing as central concerns.

Yorùbá philosophy and personal development

There are a variety of recommendations for personal development that recur in the Odù Ifá, a text of Yorùbá deep thought. These are listed below.
1. The cultivation of wisdom as a means of transcending suffering and difficulties.
2. A willingness to confront life’s challenges.
3. A commitment for doing good and acting to promote good in the world.
4. The maintenance of calmness and allowing for such calmness of mind to inform our deliberations.
5. Being attentive to important matters.
6. Recognizing that humanity is best and fully expressed by the practice of good character.
7. Recognizing our social obligations–that is our inescapable duties to the world around us.
For more insight on Yorùbá philosophy I recommend Odù Ifá: The Ethical Teachings by Maulana Karenga, Ifá Will Mend Our Broken World by Wande Abimbọla, and African Philosophy: Traditional Yoruba Philosophy and Contemporary African Realities by Segun Gbadegesin.

The circular logic of conspiracy theories (the bizarre idea that Black people are indigenous to the Americas or our continued flight from being African)

I was attempting to explain to a brother who insists that African Americans are indigenous to the Americas that if this was true, our DNA would as dissimilar to continental Africans as the DNA of Blacks in Asia and Australia. I don’t know if he understood my point, which is that a separation of tens of thousands of years would have occasioned mutations that would have greatly differentiated us from our counterparts in Africa. We wouldn’t take DNA tests and have shared DNA with people from places like Ghana or Nigeria for instance.

Of course there are other elements of these arguments that are deeply flawed, but I found his perspective to be consistent with that of most people who I’ve encountered who believe all manner of conspiracy theories–1) documented evidence is fabricated by some seemingly omnipotent and hidden malevolent force, 2) unreliable and anecdotal sources are regarded as concrete evidence, and 3) a circular logic posits that a lack of evidence in support of the theory is evidence of the existence and scale of the conspiracy.

Language resources


Abibitumi: http://abibitumi.com

LearnAkan.com: https://www.learnakan.com/

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

Video Lessons: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-vyAPawT20CKpp9H-xjFlg?fbclid=IwAR079pHmTkHwrogp1k6rfyhwO46RpcAXel3vR7Se5YsK7lW_DgO396zfBgk

Various resources: https://lmc.uiowa.edu/resources/twi-language-and-culture-resources



Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html



Various resources: https://lmc.uiowa.edu/resources/ewe-language-and-culture-resources



Fulani-English/English-Fulani Dictionary and Phrasebook: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0781813840/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A1JKVWH22E85VP&psc=1

Pulaar-English Dictionary: https://www.amazon.com/Pulaar-English-English-Pulaar-Standard-Dictionary-Hippocrene/dp/0781804795/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532305251&sr=8-1&keywords=pulaar

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

A free Fula textbook: https://www.livelingua.com/fsi/Fsi-FulaBasicCourse-StudentText.pdf

A free Pular textbook: http://www.ibamba.net/pular/manual.pdf



Teach Yourself Hausa: http://www.teachyourselfhausa.com/

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

English-Hausa Dictionary: https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300047028/english-hausa-dictionary?fbclid=IwAR29l1Yo2Ph0kj9_wqI9PXsQ342GmEYzATLW9TaPlJCTpC6RUG1ygRS2Ir4

Hausa-English Dictionary: https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300122466/hausa-english-dictionary?fbclid=IwAR2TlgJZvIMoR8EfzRH6gQgXUsZBJkyYDq3yc0h9Ka5WSUdqc3bIUK5SuvE

Hippocrene Hausa-English Dictionary: https://books.google.com/books?id=sJZkAAAAMAAJ&dq&fbclid=IwAR2EL0RM1xkuq6TFLbZm-GHNgiErv_WYhPy1bbhxeWR9nueE1ddAk2zyXwU

Various resources: https://lmc.uiowa.edu/resources/hausa-language-and-culture-resources



An Igbo phrasebook: https://wikitravel.org/en/Igbo_phrasebook?fbclid=IwAR0MHHBL3Vm2oPOk4OsVmb37swXj3Yi2gKCyjgKE8aRN6XLtTXXzUwnwUrQ

The Guide on Igbo Culture and Language: https://www.igboguide.org/

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

Various resources: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/igbo.htm?fbclid=IwAR36vUepU2488lBWsNHCDi6MU6PyGPvp_j2q_0kQyeD1p1k7VtETJKNy1Kw



Textbook from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html



The Swahili Institute of Chicago: http://swahiliinstitute.org/

A free textbook from Kansas University: http://www2.ku.edu/~kiswahili/pdfs/all.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2ptAPg3yhurmaJkN4L84kP_dcOQYUZ9DzRtxApcnIy4OMzvVcg2vXPJBI

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

Various resources: https://lmc.uiowa.edu/resources/swahili-language-and-culture-resources



Various resources: https://lmc.uiowa.edu/resources/mandinka-language-and-culture-resources


mdw nTr (Medu Netcher)

Abibitumi: http://abibitumi.com

The Kemetic Institute of Chicago: http://www.ki-chicago.org/

Sebat Rkhty Amen’s school: http://www.meduneter.com/

Mfundishi Jhwtyms’s mdw nTr classes: http://www.mfundishijhutymsmdwntchr.com

Middle Egyptian by James Allen: https://www.cambridge.org/hk/academic/subjects/languages-linguistics/arabic-and-middle-eastern-language-and-linguistics/middle-egyptian-introduction-language-and-culture-hieroglyphs-3rd-edition?format=PB&isbn=9781107663282



Abibitumi: http://abibitumi.com

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

Various resources: https://lmc.uiowa.edu/resources/wolof-language-and-culture-resources

Video lessons: https://www.youtube.com/user/Moustaphasarr?fbclid=IwAR3Sqq0N4VWvJCqA3mb_lSVCPWZTTbR7NNLbgviEjCqaFPkcl-P4zOAHlVA



Abibitumi: http://abibitumi.com

A free textbook from the University of Texas at Austin: http://www.coerll.utexas.edu/yemi/index.php?fbclid=IwAR0aL7UAS3N3Mzh0viMJvY0s7xPjbAa37d3aQkyxWoMVgzieMzDuo51eyb8

A pronunciation guide: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Yoruba/Pronunciation?fbclid=IwAR0KtmJvprYAMB0nTHrYLxAxP3pIxdjjCV4E4G4o_-oim1AmCSG5m7F9TUQ

Textbooks from the National African Language Resource Center: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/resources/books-media/lets-speak.html

Various resources: https://lmc.uiowa.edu/resources/yoruba-language-and-culture-resources


Kujitiwala: An Afrikan Sovereignist interpretation of the Nguzo Saba


An Afrikan Sovereignist interpretation of the Nguzo Saba

UMOJA (“unity”) 
The Pan-Afrikanist Vision of Afrikan people throughout the world joining forces to fight for Afrikan Sovereignty and to build an Afrikan World Order.

KUJICHAGULIA (“self-determination”)
Afrikan people defining ourselves and determining our own destiny as a Sovereign people.

UJIMA (“collective work and responsibility”)
Afrikan people working together, being responsible to and for each other, and accepting a common system of accountability.

UJAMAA (“familyhood”)
Creating economic cooperatives based on the concept of Afrikan familyhood, interdependence, interrelationship, and village and national unity.

NIA (“purpose”)
Afrikan people sharing common goals that determine our commitments and guide our choices and decisions. This gives purpose to our lives and to our work, and tells us why we were born Afrikan.

KUUMBA (“creativity”)
To think with Afrikan minds and to create from our Afrikan-center. When we practice this principle, we no longer imitate europeans. We find our own way.

IMANI (“faith”)
To believe in the Vision of Afrikan Sovereignty, and to have the passion and the wer (“will,” “heart”) to bring it into being.

Mama Marimba Ani