“Just what is a “leather family?” This is the group of people who care about us enough to share the important feelings and experiences that come with living life. For me, this always includes the leather/SM/fetish parts of myself. With these people, we can be ourselves and not feel the need to hide the important parts of ourselves. They discover and like the fact that we are good people and that we have good intentions…. Our values about what is important in life are similar enough to create respect and tolerance for those differences that inevitably emerge in all relationships. We cherish each other in different degrees at different times.” ~Guy Baldwin in Ties That Bind
Sankofa Leather Tribe is a Leather Tribe comprised of various Households, Families and Individuals who have come together with Intention to be Fearless in Our Love, Fierce in our Compassion and Focused in the accomplishing of our Collective and Individual Purpose.
We believe that words are containers for meaning. Sankofa describes the way that we have committed to going through the world. This is one of the most insightful explanations of Sankofa:
Touchstones- Points on the Compass
North – Relationship with Spirit – our relationship with the Great Spirit can take any number of different forms and levels. Relationship with Spirit isn’t prescriptive – rather its descriptive of the path that each of us walks as we go through the world. Recognition that there is something Greater than ourselves at work in our lives and we attempt to bring the influence of this energy to bear upon the work that we do. As such Sankofa Leather Tribe creates, honors and focuses upon the actualization of this relationship as real, tangible and practical – not merely hypothetical.
East – Highest and Best – We love and encourage what is highest and best for ourselves, our family of choice and the places where we are planted. In whatever situation we find ourselves our intention is to be a positive influence. To leave the world a better place because of our presence in it. Reaching, evolving and stretching towards what is highest and best, believing highest and best and seeing highest and best in and for others are all dynamic forms this may take.
West – Love of Learning – all knowledge is worth having. We renew our hearts and minds with information useful for the journey. We strive to remember that which has been forgotten, knowledge is a bridge between the past and the present. Knowledge applied correctly in experience is Wisdom. Both knowledge and wisdom are desired and sought out from all sources available to us – from the smallest pebble on our path, to the highest levels of education to the most challenging and painful of experiences we continue to grow and change.
South – Service – We cultivate a heart for service – Service to our Tribe, Our Community, Our World according to individual skills and abilities is both a responsibility and a great honor. We seek out opportunities to serve and internalize a Heart for Service as a way of BEing and not merely doing. All of our service finds its genesis out of our ultimate Purpose for Being.
As a Tribe comprised of families and households of choice we choose therefore to manifest the following responsibilities with and for each other:
Time – our most precious resource, we engage in the sharing of our time in communion and fellowship.
Observances of Days and Customs– From the celebration of our birth-days until the day of our graduation from this plane to whatever happens next, we commit to making time to celebrate the times and lives of each other whenever possible.
Listen to Gain an Understanding -To listen and hear another without judgement is a skillset that we strive to cultivate, grow and eventually master – may we always offer open arms and a listening ear to each other.
Community – We contribute our time and talents to the growth of our community in accordance with our abilities. Our contribution of time and talent is a natural consequence of our passion for our relationships and our connection with each other.
As part of Leather Culture we honor the Traditions and Ceremonies of our culture and Elders in ways that are dynamic, living, and practical to our daily experience. We understand that Traditions are kept alive by their evolution to maintain relevance in the lives of those that observe them – to this end we practice the Traditions of Earning and Gifting of Leather in the following form.
Items Earned – Covers
Items Gifted OR Earned – Vests, Boots
Items Passed Down – Upon discretion of giver
Items Purchased– Any of the above once given or earned. Any others at the purchasers discretion.