Igbos Remember their Ancestors in Virginia, US

CISA Leads Igbo Village in Virginia, USA -Igbos Remember Their AncestorsI will like to use this opportunity to bring to your attention some important developments in the life of Ndi Igbo in the American Diaspora. This summer the State of Virginia through the Frontier Culture Museum Foundation is building in Staunton Virginia, an 18th century Igbo Village as a representation of her West African

exhibit to celebrate the contributions of Ndi-Igbo who were brought to Virginia as slaves. The State of Virginia is celebrating their contribution to the culture and life of their state. I will like to read a few lines from the web page on the West African exhibit:

 “During the 1600s and 1700s, nearly 250,000 Africans were brought to colonial America to serve as enslaved agricultural workers, domestic servants, and artisans. Although captives were taken from a vast area of the African continent, and from many different ethnic groups, the great majority were members of West African cultures that lived in the hinterlands of the Atlantic coast. Africans lived in all of Great Britain’s North American colonies, though their population was highest in South Carolina and Virginia.

         In Virginia, beginning in the early 1700s, tobacco planters imported increasing numbers of captive Africans to work their plantations. This shift from white indentured servants to enslaved African workers in the colony’s tobacco economy was far-reaching. Race-based enslavement quickly became a central feature of life in Virginia, and Africans and their Virginia born descendants would be treated as property, and denied the freedom and opportunities of white colonists. As settlement expanded westward toward and into the Appalachian Mountains and the Valley of Virginia, enslaved Africans and African Americans were among the settlers in back country areas. Nearly 40% of the Africans imported into Virginia during this time were brought from a part of the West African coast called the Bight of Biafra.  Many of these captives were Igbo, a people living in the upland area north of the Bight of Biafra in what is now the nation of Nigeria. The West African Farm represents life in a free Igbo household in the Biafran hinterlands in the 1700s.


Like many West African ethnic groups whose members were brought to Great Britain’s American colonies during the 1700s, the Igbo were long established and highly successful. Over the course of many centuries, they domesticated plants and animals and developed farming techniques suited to the rain-forest environment in which they lived. They also used local trees, particularly palms, for food and  materials. The range of skills and knowledge possessed by the Igbo and their neighbors by the 1700s included metal-working, wood-carving, and basket-making as well as pottery and textile manufacture.

          The peoples of West Africa were linked by an extensive trade network and system of markets. The Igbo were especially adept traders; men dominated the long distance trade, and women the local markets. Their trade skills and connections brought them goods and information from other parts of Africa and beyond. The many cultural achievements of the Igbo included the creation of a four-day  week for marking the passage of time, local autonomy and representative government, and a sophisticated world view centered on a system of religious beliefs and practices.”

       I will like to inform you that construction of this exhibit begins on Monday 6-08-09 and will officially open in July this year. Currently, ASA USA working through CISA is involved in mobilizing Ndi-Igbo in America to volunteer to assist with the construction of this exhibit and also patronize it when it opens. We should be proud of our ancestors who not only survived the oppressive system of slavery but also made significant contribution to the culture of geographical areas where they lived. It is our duty to honor them by positively contributing to our adopted country in the spirit of “O bialu be onye abiagbune ya, mgbe o ga ana,  ka mkpumkpu ghara ipu ya na azu”. Today, those of you Igbo children who participate in collegiate or professional sports are continuing in the tradition of our fathers and mothers who went before you in years past.     

          Nigeria will never find her mark and will continue to wallow in continued failures until Igbo’s return to the helms of affairs and use their God given abilities to serve the interest of all Nigerians and Africans. Nigeria should be doing much better. The truth is that Nigeria is not doing as well as she should because she has failed to deploy her best players in the various fields. What a shame and wasted opportunities. With God’s help, Nigeria will one day becomes a major power when she realizes this fact. We want Ndi-Igbo to stop crying about marginalization but instead focus their energy on getting back to the helm of Nigerian affairs in the various sectors and projecting our power as well as advantages on a worldwide basis. No one will hand power to us just because we are nice people. Power does not concede without struggle. We have what it takes to be great, the human, financial and technological resources. So we have to go and take that power as it belongs to us. We just need to reassure our neighbors diplomatically that what is good for Ndi-Igbo is also good for all Nigerians and Africans.

      The Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia (FCMV) in its effort to recognize and honor ethnic cultures that influenced the frontier Virginian culture is developing its West Africa Exhibit which will be represented by a traditional Igbo compound. This is a rare honor and recognition of the contributions of our ancestors in the development and emergence of the present State of Virginia. This compound will have houses with decor, arts, crafts and surrounding vegetation from the 18th century Igbo Nation.  All materials for the construction by the Museum staff have been imported from Ala Igbo. The Frontier Culture Museum has found a solution to the problem of getting experts from Nigeria to guide the construction of the Igbo compound in Staunton VA.  Dr. Maduawuchi Ogbonna, nwafo Igbo who resides here in the United State has accepted to direct the building of the houses.

     The Igbo Compound Construction will resume from June 8 to July 7, 2009. Volunteers are needed to assist Dr. Ogbonna and museum staffing in building this eternal landmark memorial to our forefathers who gave their life, skills and labor to develop the State of Virginia. This will also be a once in a lifetime chance to learn firsthand how to build traditional Igbo houses. ASA-USA and CISA want you and your children to volunteer and be a part of this historic event. The organizers have stated that each volunteer will receive a certificate of appreciation from the FCMV, two complimentary passes for future visits, and up-dates on the exhibit and its supporting programs.  

       The organizers have stated that volunteers can choose any number of days including weekends they will be available to help. We are asking you to make it a summer vacation event and bring your family as there will be activities for the entire family at the Frontier Museum.  For those interested call or email Dr. Kanayo K. Odeluga (CISA’s DSG of Igbo Social Council), He is the Coordinator of Igbo volunteers (2196775526) or kenenna88@yahoo. com). For more information feel free to contact him.

Click on the link below to visit the West African Site (Traditional Igbo Village): /west_africa/ index.php

        Finally, it is time for Ndi Igbo to recover their cultural identity as a people who God placed on earth with great skills and talent “to serve God and humanity”. That is to live true to our name Igbo – as “ndi na egbo mkpa”. This is how we gain relevance and earn our living everywhere we go. We need to redirect our children to accept and embrace their cultural identity as Ndi Igbo. It is sad that some of our children in the sporting arena will allow the media to define them as African American instead of Igbo Americans. Let us leave here today with a renewed desire to be Ndi Igbo in America instead of Americans who happen to be of Igbo heritage.  

         The organizers have stated that in the month of July from the 12th to 17th, 2009 Prof J. Akuma-Kalu Njoku (the Principal Consultant for the Igbo Compound/Project email njokujak@yahoo. com  ) will be hosting an Igbo Immersion Course at the Igbo Village site in Staunton, Virginia .

I will encourage every family to sign up their children for this important event that will help spark, fuel and sustain their passion for who they are. CISA will also be hosting a very important teleconference with Professor Njoku on this very issue on June -13-09. 

All Igbo leaders, affiliates Presidents/leaders and Town Union Presidents/Leaders are invited to participate. Feel free to contact CISA President Eddy Ukaegbu ( 313-506-2448) or email   uzomash1@yahoo. com  and CISA’s Secretary General  Gabe Okoye (770-256-6663) email  gabe@essexgeo. com

 Umuigbo. Da alu.Nu.

Nwachukwu Anakwenze   MD, MPH, MBA

President ASA-USA

Ex-presiding Officer CISA

Chairman Igbo World Assembly (IWA)

The making of the igbo village

Igbo Culture on the World Stage

Our Pride, Our Culture & Our Tradition

All National State Association Presidents

All Affiliate State Association Presidents/VP/ Rep

All National Town Union Presidents/VP/ Rep

You are invited to participate in a collaborative teleconference meeting about the Igbo Village, scheduled as follows:

Date:                Friday, June 12, 2009

Time:               9:00 PM (ET), 8:00 PM (CT), 7:00 PM (MT) and 6:00 PM (PT)

Phone #:          712-580-7700

Access #:         37000#


Main feature “The Making of the Igbo Village in Stanton, Virginia “ Prof. Njoku, Principal Investigator of the Igbo Compound Project.

Sponsored By: Council of Igbo States in America (CISA)