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AfriGeneas Canada Research Forum

Re: Fortune Richard and Clarissa Richard

Hi Lisa,
Thank you for your kind words. I believe that the Afrigeneas forum is the best place for my work and for me to learn.
I started doing my research about Kingston, Ontario when my Grade 8 teacher told me that any Black person of any worth had to have white blood in them. I got up and told her that I disagreed. At the time, I was 13 years old, I said I read the biography of Dr. King by his wife Mrs. King and he is a Black man. I got kicked out of school for the day. My parents complained...I think because we were all white in her eyes (the teacher's eyes) she thought she was safe to say that. But it created a burning desire in me to have history more reflective of all of us. Everywhere I looked I could not find the history of people of African descent in my home town. But I knew the ancestors had been there and still where.

I am not a person of African descent. However I feel the ancestors very very much. There was a lady who lived back home named Martha Wandell...She was listed in the 1881 census Rideau Ward C-13235 as a fortune teller...To me that meant a healer. I went to find her in the Cataraqui Cemetery. I prayed and asked The Spirit to show me...there she was within 4 feet..It had been raining and windy then suddenly got calm and sunny...there her stone was.. I wanted to give her something to take on her journey... in keeping with tradition. So I did...When I left to come to BC, I went to see her again with my girlfriends... one who is a medicine woman, Another who is my second mom-she is Jamaican, another girlfriend who is a musician and myself. We made her spirit food...callaloo, rice and peas and curried chicken...all without salt..We prayed to God and thanked God for her life... we poured libation, smudged...

Spirituality to me is very important in my research..honouring, respecting people...I ask the Holy Spirit for help all the time.
In my work now, if I see a grave untended I clean it or put flowers down... I go and speak with the Elders. I listen to their stories. I have the manners my mother and father taught me. I sing.

I pray to God and seek his guidance always. Things come to me...Through people such as yourself, or stumbling across a formerly hidden piece of information..

This is a responsibility...we need to safeguard...the stories flow through us.

I appreciated your inspiring words of wisdom.

God Bless
(Aka Abenna)

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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