The Importance of Our Stories
A major source of inspiration for Dumisai and the Covenant of the Ancestors has been the Disney animated movie franchise. I finally decided to write my own story after viewing the Disney movie: Mulan. Even prior to the Mulan movie, Disney had presented several animated features with a focus on characters from different cultures around the world. In particular, each animated feature in the Disney Princess franchise seemed to highlight a different culture, from Snow White to The Little Mermaid (fictional culture) to Aladdin to Pocahontas to Mulan. There were no African or African-American characters to be found except for The Lion King which did not even use actual people to portray the characters (and the main character [Simba] did not even project as a Black African). Of course, this was all prior to the release of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, but by then the domino effect had already been initiated. I was convinced that if our story was to be told that we would have to tell it ourselves. Today, even after the release of The Princess and the Frog, this statement remains undeniably true. We need many stories to convey our vast cultural experiences and to educate the people of the world to who we are and what we have to contribute. We have some of the most rich and colorful cultures of any people in the world and they must be told as part of our effort to rescue, reconnect and reconstruct our communities. These stories are one way to help reclaim our children and instill some sense of self-respect. It is my sincere hope that Dumisai and the Covenant of the Ancestors will be the first of several stories to answer that clarion call while providing real inspiration to educate and entertain generations to come.