Tribal African Necklace

Bone carved face with wooden beads
Bone carved face with wooden beads

For many African-Americans, including myself, it's hard to pinpoint exactly where our ancestors came from, although we know that it’s likely that my ancestors were part of the Atlantic Slave Trade where 12 million Africans were transported from Africa to the United States. Despite not having items that were passed down to me like some of my peers, I have an object that was given to me by my uncle. During my uncle's trip to Nigeria, he purchased a tribal african necklace which he brought back and gave to me when he returned from the trip. Prior to current times, Africans used items from nature to create jewelry, weapons, and art. In line with tradition, this particular necklace is carved out of bone and the beads are made of wood. This object is important to me because it is the one thing that I have which somewhat connects me to where I come from. Furthermore, it is important to me because there has always been a question of where I come from and this is an item that represents all of the unknown parts of my heritage. Of the thousands of tribes that exist in Africa I know that my family is rooted from at least one of them. Although this wasn't passed down from generation to generation, I plan to make this an item that will soon be passed down. As I have said, many people know where they come from and the culture that is associated with their family, but I am not like many people. I am using the present and the future to learn more about my past.

Place(s): Nigeria, Africa

– Nia Baker

Relationship:  unknown unknown