The Power of Sankofa and the Importance of History

By Natasha Harrison Community Engagement, Culture Transformation, Racial Equity No Comments on The Power of Sankofa and the Importance of History

“History matters, and an awareness of it puts our lives into a context.  A disdain for history sets us adrift, and makes us victims of ignorance and denial.  History lives in and through our bodies right now, and in every moment.”

-Resmaa Menakem


Sankofa is a present value at CommunityBuild Ventures.  It is a word in the language of the Akan people in Ghana, a country in western Africa.  It means to “return, go, look, seek and take.”  It symbolizes the quest for knowledge rooted in critical examination and intelligent and patient investigation.  History plays a critical role in the quest for knowledge.  History offers three important lessons.

  • History activates analysis and awareness.
  • History provides important tools and information that we can retrieve and bring forward.
  • History helps us to begin to heal racialized trauma.

In order to dismantle white supremacy and prop up liberation as a cultural norm, we must be rooted in history.  We must return.

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