< Previous
Next >
Image of Carmen N’Namdi

© Gilles Perrin http://www.gilles-perrin.com/

Carmen N’Namdi
Founder of Nataki Tahliba Schoolhouse of Detroit

Nataki was the name of our daughter that died. It’s very interesting that she should one day have a school named in her honor; you couldn’t even have imagined this. She died when she was fourteen months old.

A good friend spoke at her service and he said, “You’re missing her on the physical plane, but don’t miss her on the spiritual one.” And that’s when we decided to open a school and name it after her. We just began. We gave ourselves a deadline. We said we were definitely opening in 1978, come Hell or high water, and that’s what we did. We had no money; we had nothing but nerve. And we felt brave because we felt we’d been through the worst thing in the world. What could we possibly be afraid of? Well there’s plenty, but we didn’t know it at the time. We thought this has got to be it (laughing), this has got to be the end of the world, so we’re in pretty good shape.

So we try to go with the culture; plus this country is very racial, not cultural. Race has so many connotations because it’s physical. We can all enjoy each other’s cultures, but we can’t enjoy each other’s races. It’s really just an identification that you’re using for some purpose that usually is not a good one. We try to keep this natural sense of things.

From June 7, 2012, interview