by Crystal Florez, Senior American Indian Studies Major
A little bit about me: My name is Crystal Florez and I am a proud enrolled member of the White Earth Minnesota Ojibwe tribe. I am majoring in American Indian Studies and will be graduating in the Spring of 2012. When I originally heard of the Ghana trip I immediately fell in love. The exploration seminar focuses around the Ghanaian symbol, Sankofa. The term Sankofa literally means “to go back and get it”. The key concept of this movement emphasizes the irreplaceable wisdom bestowed upon the future generation. Ghanaian’s belief that the past illuminates the present and that knowledge is a life-long, continual process echoes the sentiments of a well known proverb, “You can’t know where you are going, unless you know where you come from.”
A continual fascination with cultural identity and all of the various facets attached to the concept have led me to studying in Ghana this summer. I remember being so excited to read about a program examining the revitalization of tradition efforts within an indigenous community, aside from my own or the various efforts being headed by many Native tribes within the US and Canada. I feel that my study abroad experience in Ghana will prepare me for future graduate research I intend to pursue, allowing me to beneficially address the needs of Native peoples and more importantly, the needs of all cultures and societies within a global context.