The Sankofa Project™ was launched at the Public Records and Archives Administration in Ghana on October 30, 2009. Several hundred Ghanaians from the Ewe, Ga, Fante, Nzema and Asante tribes participated in the genealogy and DNA workshop in hopes to discover their distant relatives in the Diaspora. CAAGRI Communications Director, Greg Russell noted that the organization’s efforts are unique and the first of its kind. “We are a non-profit organization that is committed to restoring the legacies of our African ancestors and this is our effort towards that end. This kind of outreach has never been done before and we are just very humbled to be able to make a contribution to history.”
In addition to the possibilities of reconnecting families, the project will also help researchers better understand human migration patterns which in turn will verify true tribal origins. CAAGRI’s founder and CEO, Paula D. Royster said “there are no guarantees that any DNA matches will occur“. However, Royster continued, “this is a first step in a long process to identify geographic regions, tribal affiliations and then true genetic matches.”
Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism Director of Research, Statistics and Information, Emmanuel Victor Hagan, hailed the project as an opportunity for learning and healing the African family. Speaking at the workshop, Hagan passionately declared: “We don’t really understand the hurt and pain our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora feel. The slave trade was very, very bad and our brothers and sisters still ache and long for a connection to us. This project may help them to come back home“
Office space has been provided to CAAGRI at Ft. Frederichsburg in Prince’s Town, Ghana where ongoing DNA and genealogy research will continue.
Collaborators on the Sankofa Project include: FamilyTree DNA, PRAAD, Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism and the people of Prince’s Town, Ghana.