Doing this study, we have realized that whiteness has disconnected us from a lot of the knowledge and wisdom that our ancestors held. The multitude of European breads, flavored with herbs and shaped into many designs, has been reduced to white and flavorless. We have lost our sense of history, of coming from a lineage and a place in the world. Our disconnection from history and place has been linked to our environmental crisis, to short-term thinking, and to the loss of community.

We research our "root" cultures to better understand the subtleties and deeper richness of our culture, depending on the cultures of our ancestors. We learn about aspects of our root cultures that can bring balance and meaning to our lives.

For those who have many different cultural roots, as a starting point, you may want to choose the one to which you feel the most connection. The following link to the Indo-European tree of languages can also help you see the connections between different cultural and language groups within Europe and Asia. The branches nearest the tree are the oldest, and the growth of the tree shows the evolution of languages and cultures over time. You may find that many of your ancestral cultures are related to each other.

Questions to reflect upon:

  • Where do you see your ancestral culture(s) showing up in your life? Think about everything from displayed objects in your home, to sayings and stories, to patterns of expressing emotion and practices for remembering deceased loved ones.
  • What gaps or imbalances are missing in our present-day culture?
  • What can you bring forward from your root culture(s) to fill those gaps?


Indo-European language tree

Sacred Texts: Celtic

Sacred Texts: Icelandic/Norse: The Eddas and Sagas

Sacred Texts: Kalevala, Eddas, Mabinogion

The Role of European Americans in a Decolonization Process, by Sara Axtell