“Roots of Faith:" An Offering of Sacred Song and Movement from Afr & Afr Amer Spiritual Traditions


Sat Feb 11 2023 at 09:30 am to 12:00 pm


5000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619, United States | Oakland, CA

Mills College Black History Month 2023, The Office of Spiritual & Religious Life, Ethnic Studies and CasaTiaLuna@Mills present . . .
“Roots of Faith:" An Offering of Sacred Song and Movement. The Living Links Between African and African American Spiritual Traditions, featuring Awon Ohun Omnira (Voices of Freedom), of Oakland’s Omnira Institute
Sat Feb 11: 9:30am Check-In & Refreshments | 10am Program Start
Registration Required: https://casatialuna.eventbrite.com
Online and In-Person
Location: Mills College (register for exact location/directions)
Join Awon Ohun Omnira (Voices of Freedom) for this two-part special circle/ceremonia of ancestral reverence. Led by AOO musical/artistic director Tobaji Stewart, the 9-member crew will sing “Oro Egun,” ancient chants for the ancestors drawn from the Yoruba tradition of Africa/Cuba that is accompanied by sacred Bata drums. Oro Egun will be followed by a demonstration of the Ring Shout, an African American cultural expression that was common throughout the South until the 1950s.
Awon Ohun Omnira’s presentation of the Ring Shout is modeled after the McIntosh County Shouters, who currently reside near Savannah, Ga., and who have upheld the cultural/spiritual practice continually since the 1800s.
Our Roots of Faith event is the first of 3 circles in the series produced by Casa Tia Luna, Roots of Resilience: Ensuring Strong Health and Spiritual Nourishment in a Rapidly Changing Climate and Society.
Roots of Resilience: Ensuring Strong Health and Spiritual Nourishment in a Rapidly Changing Climate and Society: African Americans, Afro-Indigenous, Indigenous peoples -- all those who suffered enslavement, removal, genocide and land loss at the hands of european colonization on Turtle Island (aka the Americas) survived because of their strong faith and powerful healing tradition. We celebrate this survival, and share medicinal healing practices in the past, present and what we need in the future to continue to THRIVE and SURVIVE in a rapidly changing climate and society. Three Saturdays in the month of February, March and April we will present informative, engaging and interactive workshops that explore this topic and various tools for:
~navigating and thriving in our holistic health (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual)
~ancestor communication and acknowledgement
~grounding/balancing our connection with Mother Earth, the elements and other sentient beings and more will be highlighted.
This is a gathering of family. Art, Movement, Dance, Song, Altar building, and storytelling will be the web we weave like Anansi the Spider and SpiderWoman to secure our surviv-ability and legacy for future generations. This series is hosted by:
Michele Elizabeth Lee, Author of Working the Roots: Over 400 Years of Traditional African American Healing; Artist, Educator, Curator, Historian.
Mama Davina D. Estrella Ramey, Founder Water and Honey Community Well and Incense Gurl; Doula, Herbalist, Traditional artist and performer, Counselor, Educator.
Registration: Please Note, this circle will be a hybrid circle with a limited number of in-person seats along with Zoom participation as well. Please indicate your choice during registration.
For Mills College Community: Thanks to cosponsorship by Mills College at Northeastern University, Mills Community Tickets are available for free IF YOU REGISTER WITH YOUR CURRENT NORTHEASTERN EMAIL ADDRESS to receive your ticket via that address.
For our Casa Tia Luna Community: This circle featuring Awon Ohun Omnira and Maestra Michele Elizabeth Lee is offered via donation-based registration, suggested at $60. We always offer a limited number of reduced tickets for anyone who cannot pay the suggested donation. This requires only that you contact us directly at least 3 days prior to the circle at [email protected], so we can discuss how we can make this happen with a donation/offering and/or trueque/barter that's possible for you. Please offer what you can, including assistance in all the work that goes into our circles, such as flyer design and distribution, social media help, administrative and day of setup/cleanup work, etc. We also accept medicine offerings as part of your offering.
See registration page for further details on payment.
The Omnira Institute is dedicated to preserving and extending the threads of sacred knowledge, music, and practices from West Africa to the Americas. Omnira (Freedom) Institute, formerly known as NouvO'risha Institute, began in 2003 as a school for sacred knowledge for children of practitioners of spiritual traditions derived from West Africa by way of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Haiti. It began publicly presenting Black history through song in 2008, with a Juneteenth commemoration at Oakland’s Lake Merritt, Black History Month presentations at colleges, churches and centers in 2009; the Oakland Black-Eyed Pea Festival, which celebrates African American Traditional Culture through Food, Art, and Music in 2014; and in 2016, started the African American Day of the Ancestors on Nov. 1, once known as ‘Grave-Sweeping Day,’ which, in concept, parallels the Latino ‘Day of the Dead.’ All of these events are now held annually. See https://www.facebook.com/awonohun.omnira/
Michele Elizabeth Lee is a multi-disciplinary Soul who has worked in the creative arts for 40 years as an exhibiting artist, activist, writer, curator, author, historian, cultural anthropologist and educator. She is an Author, Historian, and Cultural Anthropologist. Starting in1996, Ms. Lee documented the practice of Traditional African American healing. Starting with her own family lineage and healers who are from Mississippi, Louisiana and Virgina, Ms. Lee branched out to locate other healers in the south and parts of the eastern seaboard, weaving in and out of several indigenous nations. This journey took her to base herself in the south and live down a dirt road in rural North Carolina for 4 years. She sought out other healers throughout the south/southeast by word of mouth and often traversed through the backwoods with them looking for medicine plants. Ms. Lee apprenticed with several of the elders who shared their practice and knowledge with her. Her book, Working The Roots: Over 400 Years of Traditional African American Healing is the culmination of this sojourn! She is chair of Art Against Apartheid for the SF Bay Area, and Cofounder and Executive Director of Wadastick Artists and Scholars Residency and Cultural Center. Currently she works with a variety of afro-indigenous efforts t o affirm and reclaim cultural identity, repair and correct historical inaccuracies and restore self determination and pride in the individual and greater community.
In 1998, Ms. Lee co-founded Wadastick Artists and Scholars Residency and Cultural Center in rural North Carolina. The residency hosted artists from across the country and had sites at the Tuscarora Indian Nation, St. Helena Sea Island, South Carolina, in the heart of the Gullah culture and in, El Potrero, Mexico, a small clay-building village. Wadastick ran successfully for six years.
Casa Tía Luna (CTL) is an Indigenous ancestral healing space founded by Indigenous women in 2020 for where medicine carriers/ practitioners are invited to make their offerings available for our BIPOC communities here in the Bay Area. If you are interested in workshops or trainings for your organization or community, or if you have any questions about Casa Tia Luna, please contact us at [email protected].
Our Casa Tia Luna Spring 2023 offerings from Awon Ohun Omnira, Maestra Michele Elizabeth Lee, Veronica Iglesias, and the Wakan Wiya Two Spirit Drum with drumkeeper Zamora are all listed at https://CasaTiaLuna.eventbrite.com. Follow Casa Tia Luna on Facebook, Instagram, and Eventbrite to receive notices of all our upcoming circles and workshops.

Where is it happening?

5000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619, United States

Event Location & Nearby Stays:

Casa T\u00eda Luna

Host or Publisher Casa Tía Luna

It's more fun with friends. Share with friends