Nationality and Population
Unit 1
The Melting Pot —— U.S.A
"This is the secret of America: a nation of people with the fresh memory of old
traditions who dare to explore new frontiers...."
-- President John F. Kennedy
1. What does “ the melting pot” mean? Can we call China “the melting pot”? Why?
2. What are the differences of the population structure between China and the
United States?
3. Do you know any stories about American immigration? Tell them to your
By Bill Clinton
President of the United States of America
As we approach the 21st century, we recognize both the great challenges and the
exciting promise that the future holds for us.
In the next century, we will have an opportunity to become the world's first truly
multiracial, multiethnic democracy. Today, there are more children from more
diverse backgrounds in our public schools than at any other time in our history, with
one in five from immigrant families. For example, just across the Potomac River
from our Nation's capital, Virginia's Fairfax County School District boasts children
from 180 different racial, national and ethnic groups who are fluent in more than
100 different native languages. We must ensure that our educational system
nurtures the creativity of every American student, empowers them with the skills
and knowledge to reach their full potential, and offers them the opportunity to
succeed in the lives they will live and the jobs they will hold in the future.
The new century also will hold challenges and possibilities for senior citizens. The
number of elderly people in our country will double by the year 2030, and, thanks to
medical advances, by the middle of the 21st century the average American will live
to be 82 -- six years longer than today's average life span. These extra years of life
are a great gift, but they also pose problems for the federal programs that provide
financial assistance and medical care for the elderly. One of the greatest concerns of
those of us in our middle years -- the generation born in the postwar era -- is that,
as we grow old, we will place an intolerable financial burden on our children and
hamper their ability to raise our grandchildren. As we enter the new millennium with
a strong economy and the first budget surpluses since the 1960s, we have a historic
opportunity -- and a solemn obligation -- to ensure that Social Security and
Medicare are preserved for the well-being of future generations of Americans who
will live in a society where men and women will lead longer, more active, more
productive lives.
We have much to accomplish in the next century as we continue our journey to
become a nation that respects our differences, celebrates our diversity, and unites
around our shared values. As the new millennium swiftly approaches, let us proudly
mark the milestones on that journey, rejoice in the progress we have made, and
resolve to achieve even greater advances in the years to come.
The story of the American people is a story of immigration and diversity. The United
States has welcomed more immigrants than any other country -- more than 50
million in all -- and still admits as many as a million persons a year. In the past many
U.S. writers emphasized the idea of the melting pot, an image that suggested
newcomers would discard their old customs and adopt New World ways. Typically,
for example, the children of immigrants learned English but not their parents' first
language. Recently, however, Americans have placed greater value on diversity,
ethnic groups have renewed and celebrated their heritage, and the children of
immigrants often grow up being bilingual.
Native Americans
The first American immigrants, beginning more than 20,000 years ago, were
intercontinental wanderers: hunters and their families following animal herds from
Asia to North America, across a land bridge where the Bering Strait is today. When
Spain's Christopher Columbus "discovered" the New World in 1492, about 1.5
million Native Americans lived in what is now the continental United States,
although estimates of the number vary greatly. Mistaking the place where he landed
-- San Salvador in the Bahamas -- for the Indies, Columbus called the Native
Americans "Indians."
During the next 200 years, people from several European countries followed
Columbus across the Atlantic Ocean to explore America and set up trading posts and
colonies. Native Americans suffered greatly from the influx of Europeans. The
transfer of land from Indian to European and later American hands was
accomplished through treaties, wars and coercion, with Indians constantly giving
way as the newcomers moved west. In the 19th century, the U.S. Government's
preferred solution to the Indian "problem" was to force tribes to inhabit specific plots
of land -- called reservations. Some tribes fought to keep from giving up land they
had traditionally used. In many cases the reservation land was of poor quality, and
Indians came to depend on government assistance. Poverty and joblessness among
Native Americans still exist today.
The territorial wars, along with Old World diseases to which Indians had no built-up
immunity, sent their population plummeting, to a low of 350,000 in 1920. Some
tribes disappeared altogether. Nonetheless, Native Americans have proved to be
resilient. Today they number about two million (0.8 percent of the total U.S.
population). Only about one-third of Native Americans still live on reservations.
Countless U.S. place-names derive from Indian words, including the states of
Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Idaho. Indians taught
Europeans how to cultivate crops that are now staples throughout the world, such
as corn, tomatoes, potatoes and tobacco. Canoes, snowshoes and moccasins are
among the Indians' many inventions.
The Golden Door
The English were the dominant ethnic group among early settlers of what became
the United States, and English became the prevalent American language. But
people of other nationalities were not long in following. In 1776 Thomas Paine, a
spokesman for the revolutionary cause in the colonies and himself a native of
England, wrote that "Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America."
These words described the settlers who came not only from Great Britain, but also
from other European countries, including Spain, Portugal, France, Holland,
Germany and Sweden. Nonetheless, in 1780 three out of every four citizens of the
United States were of English or Irish descent.
Between 1840 and 1860, the United States received its first great wave of
immigrants. In Europe as a whole, famine, poor harvests, rising populations and
political unrest caused an estimated five million people to leave their homelands
each year. In Ireland, a blight attacked the potato crop, and upwards of 750,000
people starved to death. Many of the survivors emigrated. In one year alone, 1847,
the number of Irish immigrants to the United States reached 118,120. Today there
are about 39 million Americans of Irish descent.
The failure of the German Confederation's Revolution of 1848-49 led many of its
people to emigrate. During the U.S. Civil War (1861-65), the U.S. Government -the Union -- helped fill its roster of troops by encouraging emigration from Europe,
especially from the German states. In return for service in the Union army,
immigrants were offered grants of land. By 1865, about one in five Union soldiers
was a wartime immigrant. Today, 22 percent of Americans have German ancestry.
Jews came to the United States in large numbers beginning about 1880, in the
throes of fierce pogroms in eastern Europe. Over the next 45 years, two million Jews
moved to the United States; the U.S. Jewish population today is more than five
During the late 19th century, so many people were entering the United States that
Washington operated a special port of entry on Ellis Island in New York City's harbor.
Between 1892, when it opened, and 1954, when it closed, Ellis Island was the
doorway to the United States for 12 million people. It is now preserved as part of the
Statue of Liberty National Monument. The Statue of Liberty itself, a gift from France
to the people of the United States in 1886, stands on an adjoining island in the
harbor. The statue became many immigrants' first sight of their homeland-to-be.
Unwilling Immigrants
Among the flood of immigrants to North America, one group came unwillingly.
These were Africans, 500,000 of whom were brought over as slaves between 1619
and 1808, when importing slaves into the United States became illegal. The practice
of owning slaves and their descendants continued, however, particularly in the
agrarian U.S. South, where many laborers were needed to work the fields.
The process of ending slavery began in April 1861 with the outbreak of the Civil War
between the free states of the North and the slave states of the South, 11 of which
had left the Union. On January 1, 1863, midway through the war, President
Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery in
those states that had seceded. Slavery was abolished throughout the United States
with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865.
Even after the end of slavery, however, American blacks were hampered by
segregation and inferior education. In search of opportunity, African Americans
formed an internal wave of immigration, moving from the rural South to the urban
North. But many urban blacks were unable to find work; by law and custom they
lived apart from whites, in the run-down inner cities.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, African Americans, led by Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr., used boycotts, marches and other forms of nonviolent protest to demand equal
treatment under the law and an end to racial prejudice.
A high point of this civil rights movement came on August 28, 1963, when more
than 200,000 people of all races gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in
Washington, and heard a stirring speech by King. Soon afterwards, the U.S.
Congress passed laws prohibiting discrimination in voting, education, employment,
housing and public accommodations. Today, African Americans constitute 12.7
percent of the total U.S. population, and in recent decades blacks have made great
strides, with the black middle class growing significantly.
Language and Nationality
It is not uncommon to walk down the streets of a U.S. city today and hear Spanish
spoken. In 1950 fewer than four million U.S. residents were from Spanish-speaking
countries. Today that number is about 27 million. About 50 percent of Hispanics in
the United States have origins in Mexico. The other 50 percent come from a variety
of countries, including El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Colombia. Thirty-six
percent of the Hispanics in the United States live in California. Several other states
have large Hispanic populations, including Texas, New York, Illinois and Florida,
where hundreds of thousands of Cubans fleeing the Castro regime have settled.
There are so many Cuban Americans in Miami that the Miami Herald, the city's
largest newspaper, publishes separate editions in English and Spanish.
The widespread use of Spanish in U.S. cities has generated a public debate over
language. Some English speakers point to Canada, where the existence of two
languages (English and French) has been accompanied by a secessionist movement.
To head off such a development in the United States, some citizens are calling for a
law declaring English the official language of the United States. Others consider
such a law unnecessary and likely to cause harm. Recognition of English as the
official language, they argue, would stigmatize speakers of other languages and
make it difficult for them to live their daily lives.
This article is drawn from Portrait of the USA, a publication of the United States
Information Agency, September 1997.
From Changing America, A Report of the Council of Economic Advisers
As the new century looms, the population of the United States continues to grow
increasingly diverse. In recent years, Hispanics and minority racial groups (defined
here as racial and ethnic groups that make up less than 50 percent of the population
and include non-Hispanic blacks, Asians and American Indians) have each grown
faster than the population as a whole. In 1970 these groups together represented
only 16 percent of the population. By 1998 this share had increased to 27 percent.
Assuming current trends continue, the Bureau of the Census projects that these
groups will account for almost half of the U.S. population by 2050. Although such
projections are necessarily imprecise, they do indicate that the racial and ethnic
diversity of the United States will expand substantially in the next century.
Immigration has been the key to this demographic evolution. It has contributed to
the rapid growth of the Asian and Hispanic populations since the 1960s. In 1997, 38
percent of the Hispanic population and 61 percent of the Asian population were
foreign-born, compared with eight percent of the white population, six percent of
the African American population, and six percent of the Native American population.
The increased immigration of Asians and Hispanics over the past several decades is
largely the result of changes in immigration policy. In particular, the 1965
Immigration Act ended the system of national origin quotas that had previously
restricted immigration from non-European countries. The Immigration Reform and
Control Act of 1986 also contributed to the increase in the documented Asian and
Hispanic populations by legalizing a large number of immigrants.
While immigration of Asians and Hispanics has increased, population growth has
slowed dramatically for the United States as a whole, largely due to declining
fertility rates among non- Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites. As a result of
this declining fertility, the non-Hispanic white share of the population has fallen
since 1970, and the non-Hispanic black share of the population has increased only
Changes in racial and ethnic identification have also contributed to the increase in
(measured) racial and ethnic diversity. These changes are most important for the
Native American population, which has increased more in recent years than can be
accounted for by deaths, births, immigration and improvements in census coverage.
The rise in these numbers in this population group suggests that people are more
likely to identify themselves as Native Americans in the census than they were in the
National changes in the composition of the population mask differences across and
within regions. The geographical distribution of racial and ethnic groups is important
because it influences the potential for social and economic interaction between
them. According to 1995 Census Bureau projections, the West had the highest
concentration of minorities (36 percent), followed by the South (30 percent), the
Northeast (23 percent), and the Midwest (15 percent). Non-Hispanic blacks are
most likely to live in the South, while Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans are
most likely to live in the West.
Racial composition also varies from the center cities of metropolitan areas, to the
suburbs just outside, to nonmetropolitan areas. Hispanics, blacks and Asians are
more likely than non-Hispanic whites to live in central cities (in 1996 more than half
of blacks and Hispanics and nearly half of Asians lived in central cities, compared
with less than a quarter of non-Hispanic whites). By contrast, over half of all
non-Hispanic whites lived in the suburbs in 1996, as did 48 percent of Asians. Native
Americans are by far most likely to live outside cities and suburbs; in 1990 nearly
half of the American Indian population lived outside of metropolitan areas.
As the population becomes more diverse, opportunities for social interaction with
members of other racial and ethnic groups should increase. Intergroup marriage
(marriage between persons of different races or Hispanic origin) is one measure of
social interaction. The number of interracial married couples (marriage between
persons of different races) has increased dramatically over the past several decades,
more than tripling since 1960. Yet a 1995 study by Roderick Harrison and Claudette
Bennett found that interracial married couples still represented only about two
percent, and intergroup couples four percent, of all married couples in 1990.
Many demographic characteristics affect economic and social status and play a role
in explaining differentials in well-being among the U.S. citizenry. For instance,
immigration has lowered the relative socioeconomic status of the U.S. Hispanic
population, since Hispanic immigrants tend to have lower levels of education and
income than the Hispanic population as a whole.
Other demographic characteristics with important effects on social and economic
status include household structure and age distribution. In particular, growth of
child poverty has often been associated with the rising share of single-parent
families. Since 1970 the fraction of families maintained by a single parent has
increased for all groups, and is highest among African Americans (38 percent),
Native Americans (26 percent), and Hispanics (26 percent). Household structure is
also affected by economic status; for example, the greater tendency of the elderly
to head their own households has been linked to their increasing wealth.
Differences in the age distribution of populations may affect their rates of growth, as
do differences in average economic and social well-being. For example, poverty
rates are highest among children, and rates of criminal activity are highest among
young adults. On average, the non-Hispanic white population is considerably older
than the population as a whole. Only 24 percent of the non-Hispanic white
population is below the age of 18, compared with about 30 percent of non-Hispanic
blacks and Asians and about 35 percent of Native Americans and Hispanics.
Differences in age distributions between racial and ethnic groups reflect differences
in death rates, fertility rates, rates of net immigration and the age of immigrants.
This article was excerpted from the second chapter of Changing America: Indicators
of Social and Economic Well-Being by Race and Hispanic Origin, published by the
Council of Economic Advisers for the President's Initiative on Race, September
IV. One Nation, Indivisible: Is It History?
By William Booth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 22, 1998; Page A1
At the beginning of this century, as steamers poured into American ports, their
steerages filled with European immigrants, a Jew from England named Israel
Zangwill penned a play whose story line has long been forgotten, but whose central
theme has not. His production was entitled "The Melting Pot" and its message still
holds a tremendous power on the national imagination – the promise that all
immigrants can be transformed into Americans, a new alloy forged in a crucible of
democracy, freedom and civic responsibility.
In 1908, when the play opened in Washington, the United States was in the middle
of absorbing the largest influx of immigrants in its history – Irish and Germans,
followed by Italians and East Europeans, Catholics and Jews – some 18 million new
citizens between 1890 and 1920.
Today, the United States is experiencing its second great wave of immigration, a
movement of people that has profound implications for a society that by tradition
pays homage to its immigrant roots at the same time it confronts complex and
deeply ingrained ethnic and racial divisions.
The immigrants of today come not from Europe but overwhelmingly from the still
developing world of Asia and Latin America. The are driving a demographic shift so
rapid that within the lifetimes of today's teenagers, no one ethnic group – including
whites of European descent – will comprise a majority of the nation's population.
This shift, according to social historians, demographers and others studying the
trends, will severely test the premise of the fabled melting pot, the idea, so central
to national identity, that this country can transform people of every color and
background into "one America."
Just as possible, they say, is that the nation will continue to fracture into many
separate, disconnected communities with no shared sense of commonality or
purpose. Or perhaps it will evolve into something in between, a pluralistic society
that will hold on to some core ideas about citizenship and capitalism, but with little
meaningful interaction among groups.
The demographic changes raise other questions about political and economic power.
Will that power, now held disproportionately by whites, be shared in the new
America? What will happen when Hispanics overtake blacks as the nation's single
largest minority?
"I do not think that most Americans really understand the historic changes
happening before their very eyes," said Peter Salins, an immigration scholar who is
provost of the State Universities of New York. "What are we going to become? Who
are we? How do the newcomers fit in – and how do the natives handle it – this is the
great unknown."
This is the first of a series of articles examining the effects of the new demographics
on American life. Over the next few months, other reports will focus on the impact
on politics, jobs, and social institutions.
Fear of strangers, of course, is nothing new in American history. The last great
immigration wave produced a bitter backlash, epitomized by the Chinese Exclusion
Act of 1882 and the return, in the 1920s, of the Ku Klux Klan, which not only
targeted blacks, but Catholics, Jews and immigrants as well.
But despite this strife, many historians argue that there was a greater consensus in
the past on what it meant to be an American, a yearning for a common language
and culture, and a desire – encouraged, if not coerced by members of the dominant
white Protestant culture – to assimilate. Today, they say, there is more emphasis on
preserving one's ethnic identity, of finding ways to highlight and defend one's
cultural roots.
Difficult to Measure
More often than not, the neighborhoods where Americans live, the politicians and
propositions they vote for, the cultures they immerse themselves in, the friends and
spouses they have, the churches and schools they attend, and the way they view
themselves are defined by ethnicity. The question is whether, in the midst of such
change, there is also enough glue to hold Americans
"As we become more and more diverse, there is all
this potential to make that reality work for us," said
Angela Oh, a Korean American activist who emerged
as a powerful voice for Asian immigrants after the
Los Angeles riots in 1992. "But yet, you witness this
persistance of segregation, the fragmentation, all
these fights over resources, this finger-pointing. Black
You would have to be blind not to see it."
Nathaniel J. Wilcox in Miami
It is a phenomenon sometimes difficult to measure,
but not observe. Houses of worship remain, as the
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. described it three
institutions in America, not just by race but also
says, "Hispanics don't want
some of the power, they want
all the power."
(By Todd Bigelow for The
Washington Post)
ethnicity. At high school cafeterias, the second and third generation children of
immigrants clump together in cliques defined by where their parents or
grandparents were born. There are television sitcoms, talk shows and movies that
are considered black or white, Latino or Asian. At a place like the law school of the
University of California at Los Angeles, which has about 1,000 students, there are
separate student associations for blacks, Latinos and Asians with their own law
review journals.
It almost goes without saying that today's new arrivals are a source of vitality and
energy, especially in the big cities to which many are attracted. Diversity, almost
everyone agrees, is good; choice is good; exposure to different cultures and ideas is
But many scholars worry about the loss of community and shared sense of reality
among Americans, what Todd Gitlin, a professor of culture and communications at
New York University, calls "the twilight of common dreams." The concern is echoed
by many on both the left and right, and of all ethnicities, but no one seems to know
exactly what to do about it.
Academics who examine the census data and probe for meaning in the numbers
already speak of a new "demographic balkanization," not only of residential
segregation, forced or chosen but also a powerful preference to see ourselves
through a racial prism, wary of others, and, in many instances, hostile.
At a recent school board meeting in East Palo Alto, Calif., police had to break up a
fight between Latinos and blacks, who were arguing over the merits and expense of
bilingual education in a school district that has shifted over the last few years from
majority African American to majority Hispanic. One parent told reporters that if the
Hispanics wanted to learn Spanish they should stay in Mexico.
The demographic shifts are smudging the old lines demarcating two historical, often
distinct societies, one black and one white. Reshaped by three decades of rapidly
rising immigration, the national story is now far more complicated.
Whites currently account for 74 percent of the population, blacks 12 percent,
Hispanics 10 percent and Asians 3 percent. Yet according to data and predictions
generated by the U.S. Census Bureau and social scientists poring over the numbers,
Hispanics will likely surpass blacks early in the next century. And by the year 2050,
demographers predict, Hispanics will account for 25 percent of the population,
blacks 14 percent, Asians 8 percent, with whites hovering somewhere around 53
As early as next year, whites no longer will be the majority in California; in Hawaii
and New Mexico this is already the case. Soon after, Nevada, Texas, Maryland and
New Jersey are also predicted to become "majority minority" states, entities where
no one ethnic group remains the majority.
Effects of 1965 Law
The overwhelming majority of immigrants come from Asia
and Latin America – Mexico, the Central American countries,
the Philippines, Korea, and Southeast Asia.
What triggered this great transformation was a change to
immigration law in 1965, when Congress made family
activist Angela Oh
segregation ... you
would have to be
blind not to see it."
(By Todd Bigelow
reunification the primary criteria for admittance. That new
policy, a response to charges that the law favored white
Europeans, allowed immigrants already in the United States
to bring over their relatives, who in turn could bring over
more relatives. As a result, America has been absorbing as
many as 1 million newcomers a year, to the point that now
almost 1 in every 10 residents is foreign born.
These numbers, relative to the overall population, were
for The Washington slightly higher at the beginning of this century, but the
current immigration wave is in many ways very different, and
its context inexorably altered, from the last great wave.
This time around tensions are sharpened by the changing profile of those who are
entering America's borders. Not only are their racial and ethnic backgrounds more
varied than in decades past, their place in a modern postindustrial economy has also
been recast.
The newly arrived today can be roughly divided into two camps: those with college
degrees and highly specialized skills, and those with almost no education or job
training. Some 12 percent of immigrants have graduate degrees, compared to 8
percent of native Americans. But more than one-third of the immigrants have no
high school diploma, double the rate for those born in the United States.
Before 1970, immigrants were actually doing better than natives overall, as
measured by education, rate of homeownership and average incomes. But those
arriving after 1970, are younger, more likely to be underemployed and live below
the poverty level. As a group, they are doing worse than natives.
About 6 percent of new arrivals receive some form of welfare, double the rate for
U.S.-born citizens. Among some newcomers – Cambodians and Salvadorans, for
example – the numbers are even higher.
With large numbers of immigrants arriving from Latin America, and segregating in
barrios, there is also evidence of lingering language problems. Consider that in
Miami, three-quarters of residents speak a language other than English at home and
67 percent of those say they are not fluent in English. In New York City, 4 of every
10 residents speak a language other than English at home, and of these, half said
they do not speak English well.
It is clear that not all of America is experiencing the impact of immigration equally.
Although even small midwestern cities have seen sharp changes in their racial and
ethnic mix in the past two decades, most immigrants continue to cluster into a
handful of large, mostly coastal metropolitan areas: Los Angeles, New York, San
Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Houston. They are home to more
than a quarter of the total U.S. population and more than 60 percent of all
foreign-born residents.
But as the immigrants arrive, many American-born citizens pour out of these cities
in search of new homes in more homogeneous locales. New York and Los Angeles
each lost more than 1 million native-born residents between 1990 and 1995, even
as their populations increased by roughly the same numbers with immigrants. To
oversimplify, said University of Michigan demographer William Frey, "For every
Mexican who comes to Los Angeles, a white native-born leaves."
Most of the people leaving the big cities are white and they tend to working class.
This is an entirely new kind of "white flight," whereby whites are not just fleeing the
city centers for the suburbs but also are leaving the region, and often the state.
"The Ozzies and Harriets of the 1990s are skipping the suburbs of the big cities and
moving to more homogeneous, mostly white smaller towns and smaller cities and
rural areas," Frey said.
They're headed to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, Denver, Austin and
Orlando, as well as smaller cities in Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and Washington. Frey
and other demographers believe the domestic migrants – black and white – are
being "pushed" out, at least in part, by competition with immigrants for jobs and
neighborhoods, political clout and lifestyle.
Frey sees in this pattern "the emergence of separate Americas, one white and
middle-aged, less urban and another intensely urban, young, multicultural and
multiethnic. One America will care deeply about English as the official language and
about preserving Social Security. The other will care about things like retaining
affirmative action and bilingual education."
Ethnic Segregation
Even within gateway cities that give the outward
appearance of being multicultural, there are sharp
lines of ethnic segregation. When describing the
ethnic diversity of a bellwether megacity such as Los
Angeles, many residents speak soaringly of the
great mosaic of many peoples. But the social
scientists who look at the hard census data see
something more complex.
State University-Northridge, suggests that while Los
immigrants is attracted to
large metropolitan areas like
James P. Allen, a cultural geographer at California
This century's huge wave of
Los Angeles, above.
(By Todd Bigelow for The
Washington Post)
tremendously mixed society, on the ground, racial homogeneity and segregation
are common.
This is not a new phenomenon; there have always been immigrant neighborhoods.
Ben Franklin, an early proponent of making English the "official language," worried
about close-knit German communities. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y)
described the lingering clannishness of Irish and other immigrant populations in
New York in "Beyond the Melting Pot," a benchmark work from the 1960s that he
wrote with Nathan Glazer.
But the persistance of ethnic enclaves and identification does not appear to be going
away, and may not in a country that is now home to not a few distinct ethnic groups,
but to dozens. Hispanics in Los Angeles, to take the dominant group in the nation's
second largest city, are more segregated residentially in 1990 than they were 10 or
20 years ago, the census tracts show. Moreover, it is possible that what mixing of
groups that does occur is only a temporary phenomenon as one ethnic group
supplants another in the neighborhood.
If there is deep-seated ethnic segregation, it clearly extends to the American
workplace. In many cities, researchers find sustained "ethnic niches" in the labor
market. Because jobs are often a matter of whom one knows, the niches were
enduring and remarkably resistant to outsiders.
In California, for example, Mexican immigrants are employed overwhelmingly as
gardeners and domestics, in apparel and furniture manufacturing, and as cooks and
food preparers. Koreans open small businesses. Filipinos become nurses and
medical technicians. African Americans work in government jobs, an important
niche that is increasingly being challenged by Hispanics who want in.
UCLA's Roger Waldinger and others have pointed to the creation, in cities of high
immigration, of "dual economies."
For the affluent, which includes a disproportionate number of whites, the large labor
pool provides them with a ready supply of gardeners, maids and nannies. For
businesses in need of cheap manpower, the same is true. Yet there are fewer
"transitional" jobs – the blue-collar work that helped Italian and Irish immigrants
move up the economic ladder – to help newcomers or their children on their way to
the jobs requiring advanced technical or professional skills that now dominate the
upper tier of the economy.
A Rung at a Time
Traditionally, immigration scholars have seen the phenomenon of assimilation as a
relentless economic progression. The hard-working new arrivals struggle along with
a new language and at low-paying jobs in order for their sons and daughters to
climb the economic ladder, each generation advancing a rung. There are many
cases where this is true.
More recently, there is evidence to suggest that economic movement is erratic and
that some groups – particularly in high immigration cities – can get "stuck."
Among African Americans, for instance, there emerges two distinct patterns. The
black middle class is doing demonstrably better – in income, home ownership rates,
education – than it was when the demographic transformation (and the civil rights
movement) began three decades ago.
But for African Americans at the bottom, research indicates that immigration,
particularly of Latinos with limited education, has increased joblessness, and
In Miami, where Cuban immigrants dominate the political landscape, tensions are
high between Hispanics and blacks, said Nathaniel J. Wilcox, a community activist
there. "The perception in the black community, the reality, is that Hispanics don't
want some of the power, they want all the power," Wilcox said. "At least when we
were going through this with the whites during the Jim Crow era, at least they'd hire
us. But Hispanics won't allow African Americans to even compete. They have this
feeling that their community is the only community that counts."
Yet many Hispanics too find themselves in an economic "mobility trap." While the
new immigrants are willing to work in low-end jobs, their sons and daughters,
growing up in the barrios but exposed to the relentless consumerism of popular
culture, have greater expectations, but are disadvantaged because of their
impoverished settings, particularly the overwhelmed inner-city schools most
immigrant children attend.
"One doubts that a truck-driving future will satisfy today's servants and assemblers.
And this scenario gets a good deal more pessimistic if the region's economy fails to
deliver or simply throws up more bad jobs," writes Waldinger, a professor of
sociology and director of center for regional policy studies at the University of
California-Los Angeles.
Though there are calls to revive efforts to encourage "Americanization" of the
newcomers, many researchers now express doubt that the old assimilation model
works. For one thing, there is less of a dominant mainstream to enter. Instead,
there are a dozen streams, despite the best efforts by the dominant white society to
lump groups together by ethnicity.
It is a particularly American phenomenon, many say, to label citizens by their
ethnicity. When a person lived in El Salvador, for example, he or she saw
themselves as a nationality. When they arrive in the United States, they become
Hispanic or Latino. So too with Asians. Koreans and Cambodians find little in
common, but when they arrive here they become "Asian," and are counted and
courted, encouraged or discriminated against as such.
"My family has had trouble understanding that we are now Asians, and not Koreans,
or people from Korea or Korean Americans, or just plain Americans," said Arthur Lee,
who owns a dry cleaning store in Los Angeles. "Sometimes, we laugh about it. Oh,
the Asian students are so smart! The Asians have no interest in politics! Whatever.
But we don't know what people are talking about. Who are the Asians?"
Many immigrant parents say that while they want their children to advance
economically in their new country, they do not want them to become "too
American." A common concern among Haitians in South Florida is that their children
will adopt the attitudes of the inner city's underclass. Vietnamese parents in New
Orleans often try to keep their children immersed in their ethnic enclave and try not
to let them assimilate too fast.
Hyphenated Americans
One study of the children of immigrants, conducted six years ago among young
Haitians, Cubans, West Indians, Mexican and Vietnamese in South Florida and
Southern California, suggests the parents are not alone in their concerns.
Asked by researchers Alejandro Portes and Ruben Rumbauthow how they identified
themselves, most chose categories of hyphenated Americans. Few choose
"American" as their identity.
Then there was this – asked if they believe the United States in the best country in
the world, most of the youngsters answered: no.
V. The Great Melting Pot
Music & Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens
Sung by: Lori Leiberman
My grandmother came from Russia,
A satchel on her knee;
My grandfather had his father's cap
He brought from Italy.
They'd heard about a country
Where life might let them win,
They paid the fare to America
And there they melted in.
Lovely Lady Liberty,
With her book of recipes,
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American meltin' pot.
The great American meltin' pot.
}} {America was founded by the English.}
}} {But also by the Germans, Dutch and French.}
}} {The principle still sticks,
Our heritage is mixed.}
}} {So any kid can be the president!}
You simply melt right in,
It doesn't matter what your skin.
It doesn't matter where you're from,
Or your religion,
You jump right in
To the great American meltin' pot.
Great American meltin' pot
Ooh what a stew,
Red white and blue.
America was the new world,
And Europe was the old.
America was the land of hope,
Or so the legend told.
On steamboats by the millions,
In search of honest pay,
Those 19th-century immigrants sailed
To reach the U.S.A.
Lovely Lady Liberty
With her book of recipes
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American melting pot.
The great Anerican melting pot.
What good ingredients:
Liberty and immigrants.
They brought their countries' customs,
Their language and their ways.
They filled the factories,
Tilled the soil,
Helped build the U.S.A.
Go on and ask your Grandma,
Hear what she has to tell,
How great to be an American
And something else as well.
Lovely Lady Liberty
With her book of recipes
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American meltin' pot.
The great American meltin' pot.
The great American meltin' pot.
The great American meltin' pot.
The great American meltin' pot.
The great American meltin' pot.
The great American meltin' pot...
Unit 2 German Americans
German Americans, residents of the United States who trace their ancestry to
German-speaking regions of Europe. According to the 1990 Census, more
Americans claim some degree of German "ancestry or ethnic origin" than any
other: 57.9 million or 23.3%. Over 300 years, 8 million Germans have created lives
for themselves and their families in the United States, enriching its history and
1. Who are the German Americans?
2. When did German Americans come to this country and where did they settle?
3. What role did German Americans play in improving life in the USA?
4. How are German Americans viewed today?
I. Heritage: 300 Years of German Roots in America
The First German Americans
It is generally accepted that the first group of German settlers arrived in the
American colonies in 1683. Thirteen families from the Rhine valley came to
Philadelphia in the schooner Concord, the Mayflower of German immigration. They
established a community on the city's northern outskirts, later known as
Germantown. However, individual Germans had been in America since the start of
European immigration. Germans were part of the Jamestown settlement in 1608.
And Peter Minuit, a Rhinelander, is famous as the director of the Dutch colony who
bought Manhattan from native Americans in 1626.
Who Came to America
The first groups of Germans in America came in search of religious freedom. By the
1800s, they came primarily for economic reasons. As the motivation changed, so
did who came and where they came from. The first immigrants were small farmers
who came from Southwest Germany. They were followed by craftsmen and cottage
industry workers from the West and Northwest. Farm hands and day laborers from
the Northeast made up the final group. Eventually all regions of Germany were
represented in the United States.
Immigration Trends
By 1800, around nine percent of the United States' total population had ties to
Germany. Mass immigration started after 1815 and reached a high during the 1880s
when more than 1.5 million Germans arrived. The peak year was 1882, when a
record 250,600 Germans immigrated. At the turn of the century, German
immigration began to slow. Since the 1970s, only about 150,000 Germans have
come to the United States. Over three centuries, around 8 million Germans have
come to what is now the United States.
Where German Americans Settled
Like other immigrant groups, the Germans tended to settle near family members
and friends who had gone ahead. In 1770, three-quarters of the German
immigrants lived in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania
group was the start of the famous "Pennsylvania Dutch," so-called because their
English-speaking neighbors called all German-speaking people from continental
Europe "Dutch." When the first American census was taken in 1790, one third of
Pennsylvania's population was of German origin.
As the United States spread westward, German immigrants moved in that direction,
too. The vast majority settled in the midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and
Nebraska. Today, Wisconsin has the largest population of German Americans,
53.8%, and Milwaukee boasts more people with German heritage than any other
American city.on July 9,1776.
Political Participation
The very first printed copy of the official Declaration of Independence was in
German, not English. It appeared in the Philadelphia newspaper Pennsylvania
During the American Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin recruited Friedrich
Wilhelm von Steuben, a former Prussian officer, to train American troops. Von
Steuben's organization of the Continental Army was critical to its success. On the
British side there were also Germans, 30,000 mercenaries, known as the Hessians.
However, many of these Germans took a liking to the enemy's way of life and by
war's end, over a third had decided to stay in the new United States.
A failed German democratic revolution in 1848 forced many well-educated,
politically-active Germans to flee to the United States. This group became very
involved in the American antislavery movement. It is said that German Americans
were instrumental in the election of Abraham Lincoln (who owned and operated a
German-language newspaper). Carl Schurz, a leading forty-eighter, was Lincoln's
first ambassador to Spain, a brigadier general during the civil war, a senator and
finally, the secretary of the interior under President Rutherford B. Hayes.
The German-American political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, created the Uncle Sam
figure, as well as the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant. Nast, who
came to the United States in 1846, is also responsible for the modern version of that
beloved, non-partisan figure, Santa Claus.
Prohibition and the anti-alcohol amendments in the United States were caused at
least in part by Yankee Puritanism's prejudice against the German immigrants'
fondness for beer. Particularly scandalous was the German-American habit of using
Sunday to socialize in beer gardens (likely a hardworking German American's only
day off).
Herbert Hoover, elected in 1928, was the first American president with German
ancestry (his family's last name was originally Huber). President Eisenhower,
another German American, could trace his ancestors back to Hans N. Eisenhauer,
who came to America in 1741.
Cultural Contributions
Some of the cultural icons most closely associated with the United States were
produced by German Americans. The first pair of blue jeans was made in 1850 by
Levi Strauss, who came from Bavaria at the age of 14. The hamburger was
introduced in 1904 by German Americans living in St. Louis. And what would a
hamburger be without ketchup, the 1892 creation of German American Henry Heinz.
To wash it all down, of course, you need a Budweiser beer. Budweiser comes from
the largest brewing company in the world, Anheuser-Busch, founded by Adolphus
Busch and Eberhard Anheuser.
The first hymnal printed in America was in German. Conrad Beissel produced it in
1739. The first bible printed in America was also in German, made in 1743 by
Christopher Saur.
Margarethe Meyer Schurz, wife of forty-eighter, Carl Schurz, established the first
successful kindergarten in 1856 in Watertown, Wisconsin.
In 1896, Arthur Simon Ochs, son of German immigrants, became the New York
Times' publisher. To this day, the paper is published by his descendants.
Following the rise of Hitler and the National Socialists in 1933, a new wave of
Germans came to the United States. They included influential architects Walter
Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who changed the skylines of Chicago and
New York, author Thomas Mann and physicist Albert Einstein.
German-American scientists made the walk on the moon possible. Wernher von
Braun, who came to the United States after World War II, developed the Saturn V
rocket that carried Apollo 11 astronauts to their destination.
German American Day
German-American Day was first instituted on October 6, 1983, the tricentennial of
German immigration to America. Now the president of the United States officially
proclaims this day every year. In 1997, President Bill Clinton wrote, "All Americans
have benefited greatly from the labor, leadership, talents, and vision of Germans
and German-Americans, and it is fitting that we set aside this special day to
acknowledge their many contributions to our liberty, culture, and democracy."
The German-American Joint Action Committee (GAJAC) was founded in 1990 to
coordinate celebrations for this day. GAJAC is made up of the German-American
National Congress (DANK), the Steuben Society of America and the United
German-American Committee (VDAK).
Going Back to Germany
In 1997, some 300,000 Americans visited Germany. The central and southern
regions of the country are its most popular, attracting over three-fifths of all
American visitors.
It is also interesting to note that since 1945, approximately 15 million American
soldiers and their family members have lived in Germany.
by Betty Randall
The settlers to Germantown came from the Lower Rhine where German and Dutch
cultural ways mingled. These thirty-three settlers from Krefeld, Germany who
established the first sizable, stable and distinctly German settlement in America at
Germantown, PA in 1683, followed more than seven million immigrants to our
shores from German-speaking countries. The city of Krefeld west of the Rhine near
Duesseldorf, known for the manufacture of silk and linen, prided itself on being a
haven of tolerance during the 17th century, and a refuge for those suffering
religious oppression. When changes in the rule of the region caused the spirit of
religious acceptance to diminish, some among the Mennonite and Quaker families
decided to accept the invitation of William Penn to settle in America.
The English Schooner which brought these German settlers to the port of
Philadelphia was named the Concord, an appropriate symbol of the immigrants'
friendly cooperation with the English and Dutch aboard. All the passengers,
attached to religious groups outside the established churches, answered the call of
William Penn to share the "Holy Experiment" and settle on the land granted to
William Penn's father for his services to the English crown.
When the thirteen Mennonite families from Krefeld landed in Philadelphia on
October 6, 1683 after a 75-day voyage, they were greeted not only by Penn but also
be a young, 32-year old German lawyer, Francis Daniel Pastorius, who had become
close friend wit h Penn since his arrival on August 20, 1683 on the ship America with
about a dozen people, among them his personal servants.
When Pastorius, a well traveled scholar, had heard about Penn's visits to the
Rhineland in 1671 and 1677 to recruit a group of religious and affluent Pietists, he
decided to associate himself with the group. But plans with the Frankfurt Land
Company did n ot materialize. Instead, Pastorius became the leader of thirteen
more modest families, who wished to escape religious intolerance, and settle where
they could lead a quiet and god-fearing life, free from religious controversy and with
the promise of liber ty. That place was to be Germantown, PA.
Pastorius arranged with Penn for the Krefelders to settle on a parcel of land six miles
north of newly founded Philadelphia. Cellers were dug into the ground and covered
and these were their shelters for the first winter. Even though that winter brought m
any hardships, the new settlers endured. The nickname for the new town,
"Armentown" (town of the poor) was soon made obsolete by their hard work and
skills in the trades of weaving, tailoring, carpentry, and shoemaking.
They built homes first of logs and later of native stone; they raised flax, built looms
and set up their spinning wheels. Many were accustomed to growing vines and when
they saw wild grapes, they establishing vineyards. The official seal of Germantown
bea rs at its center a trifolium having a grape vine on one leaf, flax blossoms on
another and a weaver's spool on a third with the inscription "Vinum, Linum et
Textrinum," to show that the people lived from grapes, flax, and trade. The
Germantown Fair, first held in 1701 became a center of exhibiting and selling the
products of these craftsmen.
Penn had advised the new settlers not to reside on scattered farms, but to follow the
European pattern of living together in a town. By the end of the 1600s Germantown
had a wide Main Street bordered by peach trees, a central market and on opposite
ends of town were burial grounds. Along the several streams were a number of mills.
More than fifty families built spacious farm buildings and tended their three acre
town plots growing vegetables and flowers. The fields of the town lay to the north
and south. These Germans had a love and respect for the land unequaled by other
immigrants and so they gained the reputation for caring for the land exceedingly
In a few years the population of Germantown had increased so that additions were
made: Kriegsheim with 884 acres (named for the home of the Palatine Quakers),
Sommerhausen with 900 acres (in honor of Pastorius' birthplace), and Crefeld with
1166 acres were added to the 2750 acres of Germantown. All were on the same
road; Germantown was the nearest to Philadelphia and Crefeld was beyond
Chestnut Hill in present Montgomery County.
On August 12, 1689 Germantown was incorporated and its first burgomaster,
Pastorius, made many lasting contributions to the community. Among them he is
credited with the establishment of a school system in which he became a teacher.
Since Mennonites considered education important, school houses were often built
first with worship held there until meetinghouses could be built. Another of
Pastorius's contributions was the writing of the first resolution in America against
Negro slavery*. As Germantown prosp ered, its administration, founded on self
government and civic responsibility, became a model for later German settlements
in America.
In 1883 America remembered the Germantown settlement and on Thanksgiving,
November 29, 1884 William Penn's statue was completed in Philadelphia. Today one
can visit the rebuilt home of Penn called Pennsbury Manor which is about 26 miles
from Philadelphia.
In 1983 ceremonies were held throughout the U.S. to commemorate the first
German-American involvement in the founding and development of America. The
U.S. and Germany issued postage stamps of the ship Concord to salute the courage,
stamina, and motivation of those immigrants and all who followed in their footsteps.
On this 300th anniversary of the arrival of the German pioneers the home of the
father of Franz Daniel Pastorius in Germany was acquired by the Pastorius Home
Association. The historic building was restored to its original charm by a combined,
voluntary effort of German and American citizens. It contains a lecture hall, library,
and facilities for guests. The home is open all year round for travelers, and
educational programs are scheduled throughout the year.
Since 1983 several landmarks in Germantown have been restored, among them
Rittenhouse Square which marks's America's first paper mill, established by
Wilhelm Rittenhouse in 1690. A U.S. postcard was also issued showing the
Rittenhouse mill.
In 1988, under the leadership of the Greater Germantown Housing Development
Corporation, the Germantown community initiated a comprehensive economic
development program for the area which was suffering urban decay. Plans called for
the renovation of the 4 9 houses along Germantown Avenue and the creation of new
job-producing enterprises in the neighborhood. In the center was to be a town
square and historic park dedicated to the 1688 slavery protest and to the thirteen
pioneer families. It was also fitting that thirteen "family trees" were planted.
On a marker, previously placed for the families in Germantown, is written: In
commemoration of the Landing of the German Colonists, October 6, 1683, FRANZ
DANIEL PASTORIUS, Dirk, Herman, Abraham Op Den Graeff*, Tuenes Kunders,
Lenert Arens, Reinert Tisen, Wilhelm Strepers, Jan Lensen, Peter Keurlis, Jan
Siemens, Johann Bleikers, Abraham Tuenes and Jan Lueken with their families.
* Betty Randall is a descendant of Abraham op den Graeff, one of the original
Krefelders, who was also one of the signers of the "Protest Against Slavery." Ms.
Randall is a long-time member of IGHS and also a member of the DAR.
Information taken from articles in: Krefeld Immigrants and Their Descendants,
[email protected] (ISSN 0883-7961)
PASTORIUS, Francis Daniel (1651-1720). German-American, lawyer and colonizer,
b. Sommerhausen, Germany. Practiced law in Germany; as agent for Quaker group
founded (1683) Germantown, Pa., and became its first mayor, chief citizen, and
He marks the beginning of German settlement in the US. He was the leader of the 13
Quaker families from Krefeld, who had to leave because of their religious believes.
They arrived on the ship called Concord on October8, 1683 in Philadelphia. Pastorius
founded Germantown (now part of Philadelphia). He was a lawyer, teacher, poet
and mayor. As a mayor he took precise record of the German settlement in
Germantown. Germantown was a poor town, but Pastorius spend a lot of effords in
getting the industry going. In November16, 1684 he held the first fair in
Philadelphia, which became later a rolemodel for American country fairs. Soon after
that Germantown started to flourish by selling clothing to New York and Boston.
Pastorius didn't believe in slavery and started a protest against it on February 18,
1688, which resulted that slavery was outlawed in German religious colonies, even
in the south. The town of Philadelphia followed this law in 1771, by prohibiting the
import of slaves, almost a century later.
Franz Daniel Pastorins and the Settlers of Germantown
What Plymouth Rock is to Anglo-Americans, Germantown is to Americans of
German descent: a spot consecrated by history, a spot where every American
should stand with uncovered head!
At Plymouth Rock we cherish the memory of the Puritan Pilgrims; in Germantown
that of those pious Mennonites, who, after their arrival in Philadelphia, broke ground
for the first permanent German settlement in North America.
There is no chapter in our colonial history, which in general interest and elevating
character surpasses the story of that little town, which to-day is one of the suburbs
of William Penn's famous "City of Brotherly Love." Like the Puritans, the Mennonites,
followers of the reformer Menno Simon, had been subjected to so many restrictions
and persecution, that they gladly accepted the invitation of Penn, to settle in his
American domain. The first group of Mennonites, which crossed the ocean, came
from Crefeld, a city of the lower Rhine. Numbering 33 persons, they landed, after a
voyage of 73 days in the good ship "Concord," in Philadelphia October 6, 1683. They
were received by William Penn and Franz Daniel Pastorius, a young lawyer from
Frankfort on the Main, who had hurried to America in advance of the Mennonites, in
order to prepare everything for their arrival.
The first problem was to select a suitable location for the future town of the
Mennonites. After due search they decided upon a tract near the Schuylkill River,
two hours above Philadelphia. Here they broke ground on October 24.
For the first year the life of the settlers was but one continuous struggle against the
vast wilderness, whose depths no white man had ever penetrated. Trees of
enormous size, hundreds of years old, and almost impenetrable brushwood had to
be removed to win a clearing for the little houses. The trials of the settlers, who by
occupation were weavers and not accustomed to hard work, were often so great,
that it took the combined persuasion of Pastorius and Penn, to encourage the
Mennonites to persist in the bitter fight against the cruel wilderness. But when at
last the work was done, Germantown was well worth looking at. A street 60 feet
wide and planted with peach-trees on both sides, divided the village in two parts.
Every house was surrounded by a three-acre garden, in whose virgin soil flowers
and vegetables grew in such abundance, that the settlers raised not only enough for
their own use, but were also able to provide the market of Philadelphia.
Special care was given to the cultivation of flax and grapevine. The flax was of
importance, as the Mennonites continued in their profession as weavers with such
success, that the linen and other woven goods from Germantown became famous
for quality. As the inhabitants of Germantown came from the Rhine, their hearts
were open to blissful enjoyment of life, and wine was appreciated as the means to
drive away all grief and sorrow. Before long the windows and entrances of the
houses were surrounded by heavy grapevines.
Certainly it was a happy idea, when Pastorius, in designing an official seal for the
town, selected the clover, the leaves of which were to represent the grapevine, the
flax blossom and the weavers' shuttle. These were surrounded by the Latin motto:
"Vinum, Linum et Textrinum" (Vine, Linen and Weaving). With this he indicated,
that culture of the grapes, flax-growing and the textile industries were the principal
occupations in Germantown. At the same time it indicated the mission of the
German in America, to promote agriculture, manufacture and enjoyment of life.
Happy hours these German Pilgrims must have had in Germantown, when at
eventide, after the day's work had been done, they sat on the benches by the doors,
listening to the cooing of the doves, and enjoying the fragrant odor of the manifold
flowers, the seeds of which they had brought with them from their native home.
While attending to their daily work, the inhabitants of Germantown did not neglect
their intellectual life. Pastorius, this true shepherd of his flock, was its center. He
established a school and arranged also an evening class, in which he imparted freely
of his great wisdom to all who were eager to enrich their knowledge.
When Germantown was incorporated as a town, Pastorius was of course elected its
first burgomaster. How deeply rooted in his heart was the love of his old Fatherland
and his countrymen, is indicated by a "Greeting to Posterity," which he wrote on the
first page of the "Grund- und Lagerbuch," the first official document of Germantown.
Pastorius, the noble leader of Germantown, departed this life about Christmas of
1719, much deplored by his many friends, who, like William Penn, respected him as
"an upright and courageous, moderate and wise man, a shining example to his
A few years after Pastorius' death another remarkable person made Germantown
his home: Christoph Saur, a native of Westphalia. Being a printer, he published here
in 1739 the first newspaper in German type, and also in 1743 the first German Bible
in America. This antedated, by forty years, the printing of any other Bible in America,
in another European language. Besides Saur published numerous other volumes,
among them many textbooks for schools. To him is due also the founding of the
Germantown Academy, which still exists.
Germantown deserves credit also as the place, where Wilhelm Rittenhaus
established in 1690 the first paper mill in America. So the name of Germantown is
connected with many events of great importance in American history. No one who
intends to give a true idea of the origin and development of American culture, can
omit to mention Germantown and its founders.
The great success of the Mennonites inspired many other German sectarians to
follow their example and emigrate to the Western hemisphere. Among them were
the Tunker or Dunkards, whose cloister Ephrata in Pennsylvania became famous as
a seat of learning. It had its own printing press, paper mill and book bindery, and
published in 1749 the "Märtyrer Spiegel," a folio volume of 1514 pages, the greatest
literary undertaking of the American colonies.
Furthermore, there were the Herrnhuter or Moravians, the founders of Bethlehem,
Nazareth and other settlements in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Many of these Moravians
devoted themselves to missionary work among the Indians: Some of these devout
emissaries, for instance Christian Friedrich Post, Johann Heckewelder and David
Zeisberger performed most valuable work among the Delawares, Mohicans and
other tribes.
The Salzburgers, driven from their homes in the Alps in 1731, established in Georgia
a flourishing colony, named Ebenezer. Other German sectarians founded Zoar and
Harmony in Ohio, Economy in Pennsylvania, Bethel and Aurora in Missouri, Amana
in Iowa, and other colonies, many of which created world-wide attention because of
their successful application of communistic ideas.
IV A Proclamation
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 3, 2003
German-American Day, 2003
By the President of the United States of America
German-American Day celebrates more than 300 years of German immigration to
our shores, beginning with the arrival of 13 Mennonite families from Krefeld on
October 6, 1683. Seeking a new life of freedom and opportunity, these immigrants
settled in Pennsylvania and founded Germantown near the city of Philadelphia. On
this day, we recognize the contributions of those German pioneers, and millions of
other German-American immigrants and their descendants, to the life and culture of
our great Nation.
As one of the largest ethnic groups in the United States, German Americans have
greatly influenced our country in the fields of business, government, law, science,
athletics, the arts, and many others. Henry Engelhard Steinway and his sons
founded Steinway & Sons in 1853. The 300,000th Steinway piano, the "golden
grand," was presented to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938, and is still on display
at the White House. John Augustus Roebling and his son pioneered the development
of suspension bridges and wire cable. Their construction of the Brooklyn Bridge is a
lasting landmark to their skill, determination, and innovation. And entrepreneurs
such as John Davison Rockefeller, John Wanamaker, and Milton Snavely Hershey
helped to strengthen the American economy and inspire others to reach for the
American Dream.
In addition to their many professional achievements, German Americans have
influenced American culture. From Christmas trees to kindergartens, the United
States has adopted many German traditions and institutions. By celebrating and
sharing their customs and traditions, German Americans help to preserve their rich
heritage and enhance the cultural diversity of our Nation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America,
by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United
States, do hereby proclaim October 6, 2003, as German-American Day. I encourage
all Americans to recognize the contributions to the liberty and prosperity of the
United States of our citizens of German descent.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of October, in
the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence of the United
States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.
Unit 3 Irish Americans
The 2000 United State Census reports 30,528,492 persons claiming Irish ancestry,
10.8% of the total American population. This is over 7 times the population of Ireland
itself, which was 4 million in the year 2003.
1. What are the basic characteristics of Irish Americans?
2. Would you like to tell us the history of St. Patrick’s Day? Do you know how to
celebrate the day?
3. Why did millions of Irish people choose to move to American?
I. A Proclamation
(Irish-American Heritage Month, 2003)
By the President of the United States of America
From the earliest days of our Republic, America has inspired the hopes and dreams
of countless individuals from around the world who have come to share in our gifts
of freedom, justice, and opportunity. During Irish-American Heritage Month, we
celebrate the contributions of these talented and industrious citizens and recognize
their rich legacy of ingenuity, creativity, and achievement.
Throughout our history, America has welcomed millions of Irish immigrants to its
shores. These proud people arrived seeking a better life for themselves, their
families, and future generations. Many courageous individuals came during the
terrible years of Ireland's Great Famine in the middle of the 19th century, and their
road to prosperity was not easy. Many faced significant obstacles, including
discrimination and poverty. Despite these challenges, Irish Americans have risen to
success in every sector of our society.
Americans of Irish descent have played a vital role in shaping our history and culture.
Nineteen Presidents of the United States have claimed Irish heritage. One-third to
one-half of the American troops during the Revolutionary War and 9 of the 56
signers of the Declaration of Independence were Irish Americans. Irish Americans
explored our frontiers, built many of our Nation's bridges, canals, and railroads, and
their proud record of public service helped to fortify our democracy.
In all areas of American life, Irish Americans have made significant and enduring
contributions to our great country. America is a better Nation because of the efforts
of Irish Americans like Henry Ford, who spurred innovation; Bing Crosby, who
entertained countless people around the world; and activist Mary Kenney O'Sullivan,
who worked for critical and compassionate social reform. These individuals are just
a few of the many Irish Americans who helped to transform our national identity and
whose accomplishments reflect the determination, joy, and hope of the Irish. The
faith, perseverance, and spirit of the Irish have helped to strengthen our families,
our communities, our ideals, and our national character.
Today, approximately one in four Americans can trace their ancestry in part to
Ireland's green shores, and we are proud of and grateful for the many Irish
Americans who continue to enrich our country.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America,
by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United
States, do hereby
proclaim March 2003 as Irish-American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to
observe this month by learning about and commemorating the contributions of Irish
Americans to our Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of
February, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence of
the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-seventh.
Bush circles Irish wagons
By Ray O'Hanlon
[email protected]
You can take the man out of Texas . . . President Bush was remembering the Alamo
as he declared March to be Irish American Heritage Month.
The president, who is gearing up to entertain a posse of Irish political leaders at the
White House next week, singled out four outstanding Irish Americans for the annual
White House proclamation of Irish American Heritage Month.
The first two of them were a combination of Lone Star, thistle and three leaf.
Bush plumped for Davy Crockett and Sam Houston, heroes of the Texan struggle for
independence from Mexico.
"The names of Irish Americans who have helped make America great are familiar,"
said the president in his signed proclamation. "Davy Crockett and Sam Houston
helped settle the West," Bush said in the proclamation which, appropriately, was
released by the White House press office from the president's Crawford ranch.
Crockett and Houston both hail from the largely Protestant Scots-Irish branch of the
Irish American family tree.
For his second named duet of Irish American role models, the president turned east
and Catholic.
"As archbishop, John Cardinal O'Connor served the people of New York with
conviction and compassion," he said. "President John Kennedy led America with
steadfast determination during a time of great challenge."
"During Irish-American Heritage Month, we recognize these proud citizens and
important contributions to America," the president, who will have a chance to laud
Irish America on Irish soil when he visits Ireland in June, said.
Meanwhile, the White House this week formally announced next week's meeting
between the president and taoiseach Bertie Ahern at the White House.
"On the eve of St. Patrick's Day, they will mark the enormous contributions to
America made by the Irish people," the White House said in a statement. "The two
leaders will review ongoing ties, including the strong interest of the United States in
supporting the Northern Ireland peace process."
This story appeared in the issue of June 30-July 6, 2004
To understand the reasons why millions of Irish people to emigrate to America, we
must know the "push and pull" factors, starting from the situation of Ireland before
the Great Famine. Unfortunately this factors will appears as a chain of causes and
consequences, that could have been stopped at any point, but either Britain, the
landlords and poor classes didn’t. Irish emigration wasn't restricted to the famine
years of 1845 to 50, but it did take a dramatically sharp rise during this period.
People had been leaving from the 1700's on in search of a better life but we will
concentrate on the period of the Great Starvation because the greatest Irish
emigration was recorded in that period.
To understand the Great Famine, one must focus on the expanding Irish population
of the early 1800’s and the growing dependency on a single crop -- the potato. To
realise why the famine lasted for five years one must understand the politics,
cultures and economics of the time, since full crop failures did not occur every year
between 1850 and 1900. In fact, while the blight provided the catalysts for the
famine, the calamity was essentially man-made, a poison of blind politics, scientific
ignorance, rural suppression and enforced poverty. Not only religious matters and
prejudices against the poor Irish Catholics were key elements that led to the
In 1800 some four and one-half million people lived in Ireland. By autumn 1845,
when the Great Famine struck Ireland, there were more than eight million. This was
the largest increase of the population in Irish history. In addition, Ireland’s
poorpopulation was very high, and the number of landlords was very low.
Most Irish landlords were Protestants, simply because the law forbade Catholics
from owning land. The Irish peasants themselves, who were both Protestant and
Catholic, ate potatoes almost exclusively, since land was scarce and potatoes were
an intensive crop.
England’s exploitation of the Irish, economically and morally, are reflected in
articles published in The Times and on other important newspapers.
By 1800, the white potato, imported in Europe by Spain in 1532, had taken root in
Ireland and ninety percent of Irish society was dependent on the potato as their
primary means of caloric intake and as an export.
In September of 1845 a fungus called ‘Phytophthora infestant’ infected and
devastated Ireland’s potato crops. A large portion of the population died from
disease or starvation, while a great number of the people fled the country, usually
for the New World.
Many Irish landlords sent badly needed grain to England for profit, instead of
retaining it for the poorer classes. Without crops or employment, the tenants could
no longer pay rent, so many lost the land they lived on.
The effect of this was multiplied by the fact that the English parliament was
reluctant to send any food to Ireland. In 1846 one official declared : "there is no
intention at all to import food for the use of the people of Ireland".
For many, the only alternative to starvation, and the only option to eviction from
their tenant's lands, was emigration. The British Government was the first to believe
in emigration as the only possible solution, and the first to take actions against the
Irish situation.
Irish Emigration began long before the Great Famine, a Passenger Act was already
in effect, but in 1827 the British government repealed the Passenger Acts, which
had greatly inflated the cost of fares. The same year, over 20,000 Irish took
advantage of the cheaper rates. New, less stringent regulations were introduced in
1828 and in the following decade almost 400,000 Irish immigrated to North America.
Moreover, in 1837 the British Government enacted the Irish Poor Laws that gave
authority to Boards of Guardians to strike a poor rate (a form of local taxation). The
money raised was used to take care of paupers in specially built workhouses.
Eventually, it was accepted that ‘outdoor relief' should also be granted. This meant
that paupers could now receive aid - including assistance to emigrate. Powers were
granted to the Boards of Guardians enabling them to contribute towards the cost of
emigration, including providing outfits and paying the passage of any family that
could prove it needed help. Between 1849 and 1906 nearly 45,000 emigrants were
assisted in this manner.
As a consequence of conditions among the poor, landlordsalso supported
emigration. New taxes imposed on landlords for poor relief encouraged them to
reduce their tax bill by reducing the number of poor peasants. Sometimes this could
be achieved by 'forgiving' the rent, which would then be used to buy a passage, or
by the landlord buying the tenant's home, land and crop at a price that would allow
the family to emigrate. The Poor Law made landlords responsible for paying rates
for any tenant with land worth 4 pounds or less. With the famine, many landlords
simply evicted tenants to reduce the taxes they had to pay, leaving those with no
other option but to emigrate if they could afford the fare of £3 ($3.45). But some
landlords subsidised or paid the fair of tenants to the U.S.A. out of genuine pity and
to give them some hope of a future, if not in their own country.
While approximately 180 landlords and philanthropists offered some form of
assistance to more than 80,000 emigrants - it was cheaper to pay for passages to
Canada or America than to support the paupers at home - the bulk of assisted
emigration was conducted by landlords who sent out some 30,000 people. Amongst
them we can quote Vere Foster, considered a real Good Samaritan for his help to the
Why did the greater part of Irish emigrants chose America and Canada as their
The belief that emigration was the best solution to Irish starvation, was the general
consensus in different countries, not only in England. Newspapers in England and in
USA were interested in the Irish disaster, and often judged it as a result of Catholic
Irish incapacity to "grow" and become the subject of compassion. Canada and
United States saw an opportunity for poor people in Irish emigration, but also for
themselves since both countries needed laborers and settlers. They were allowed to
advertise low-cost land and all the benefits to be found in the underdeveloped areas
of North America. American contractors recruited Irish labor through newspapers in
Dublin, Cork, and Belfast, for the vast construction of railways, canals, and roads.
An example of advertisement:
The BRITISH AMERICAN LAND COMPANY, incorporated by Royal charter and Act of
Parliament, have for sale One Million Acres of Land, in Farms of 100 Acres and
upwards, situated in the healthy and fertile Eastern Townships of Lower Canada,
distant from 50 to 100 miles from Montreal, Three Rivers and Quebec. Prices from
Four Shillings to Ten Shillings currency per Acre, payable one-fifth cash down on the
higher priced lots, one-fourth on the lower priced lots, and the balance in six annual
instalments bearing interest. Money remitted to Canada through the Company's
Office, in London, on favourable terms.
For Prospectuses, with particulars (gratis), application may be made to WILLIAM
M'CORKELL & CO., Londonderry, who will also furnish information as to passenger
ships, or to the subscriber, at the Company's Office, no. 4 Barge Yard, Bucklersbury,
For the combined advantages of both countries, the British government favored the
Emigration to the USA and Canada, through advertisements and lowering of the
passage costs.
"Far away-- oh far away-We seek a world o'er the ocean spray!
We seek a land across the sea,
Where bread is plenty and men are free,
The sails are set, the breezes swell-England, our country, farewell! farewell!"
Advertisements peppered about the quayside proclaimed the 'cheapest rates
available anywhere!' and usually boasted of the amenities available on board. In
reality, while all the ships were advertised as the 'fastest', the 'most comfortable' or
the 'most luxurious', most of them were little better than tubs. Old ships like the
'Elizabeth & Sarah' built in 1763 were still being used in 1846, 83 years later, to
carry Irish emigrants; the convict ship proved to have far better conditions for their
'passengers' than emigrant ships, governed by a series of regulations. Many ships
were not designed to carry passengers. They would carry cargo such a wood on the
journey into Ireland and prior to the famine would have been empty on the return
journey. Now wooden bunks would be hastily erected before setting sail.
The passage over the Atlantic was everything but safe: danger, uncertainty,
sickness and death reduced the number of passengers by half. Those who finally
reached the new world usually didn’t find what they had been told: an equally hard
overland journey awaited the newly-Irish immigrates for reaching their destination
(if they were lucky enough to be expected by relatives or friends who had
immigrated earlier). The most common danger for all the others was to become
thieves or prostitutes if they ended in the wrong hands.
In any case, religious prejudices, stereotypes and racism were the common
welcome in the new land.
The Irish people set out for America to escape British mercantilism, economic
recession, increasing violence of terrorists groups, and the Great Famine. Most Irish
people entering the United States between 1818-1870 came as refugees from
disaster; they were running away from misery and death rather than rushing
towards freedom and opportunity.
Nevertheless, they had put great hope for their new life. But their dreams were
disillusioned as soon as they set foot on the ship which was supposed to bring them
to America. Living Conditions on these ships, often referred to as "Coffin Ships,"
were so horrible that for the first time doubts arose whether their new life would be
better than the old.
If they survived the long journey and arrived in America, these immigrants learned
that life was going to be a battle for survival. Hundreds of runners, usually large
greedy men, swarmed aboard the ship grabbing immigrants and their bags trying to
force them to their favorite tenement house and then exact an outrageous fee for
their services. The tenements they were put in were in a horrible condition; Cellar
tenement's were unsuitable for any living creature but the Irish lived in these
tenements where floors ranged from ten to thirty feet below high-water mark! 'In
sub-tidal basements often more than a dozen families lived cramped together
beneath the level of the sea. In very many cases the vaults of privies were situated
on the same or a higher level, and their contents frequently oozed through walls into
the occupied apartments beside them. These living conditions bred sickness and
early death. It was estimated that 80% of all infants born to Irish immigrants in New
York City died.
In order to improve the living conditions of the Irish Immigrants, who weren’t very
well educated for they had led a rural lifestyle, they were forced to acquire unskilled
labor and work their way up. But this climb to success was long and hard.
During the period of peak immigration the Irish people were forced into jobs that
demanded many hours of hard physical labor with very little pay. Irish immigrants
often entered the workforce at the bottom of the occupational ladder and took on
the menial and dangerous jobs that were often avoided by other workers. Many
Irish women became servants or domestic workers.
Americans disdained this type of
work, fit only for servants, the
Negroes be servants, and if not
Many Irish men labored in coal mines
dangerous that it was said that there
was an Irishman buried under every tie. Usually, other jobs were not available for
the Irish
Advertisements for employment often were followed by "NO IRISH NEED APPLY".
Catholics were used to living in rural communities; they lacked the knowledge and
skills needed to succeed in urban, Protestant Anglo-Saxon society. The Irish people
realized they were uneducated, unskilled, and lacked the skills required to survive in
the city.
The American people feared the mass Catholic migration of unskilled and
uneducated Irish workers because they were scared of the effects the Irish would
have on the economy and their way of life. The American's fear was often associated
with a loathing that sprung from the poor living conditions and the low social class
of the Irish. The Irish people realized they had to first overcome their lack of
education and skill before they could fight for a higher social class. This fight for jobs
and education led to years of strife, but the Irish knew they had to take it one day
at a time to succeed in a society in which they rewarded the hardworking and
Not knowing how to "behave" in the beginning, they provoked scorn; they were
compared with African Americans and almost treated in a similar way. A common
saying in the USA was:
"The Negro is black outside; the Irishman is black inside", showing very drastically
how little they were welcome.
The resentment against the Irish wasn’t only uttered in private, it was also
published in newspapers:
The Chicago Post for example wrote, "The Irish fill our prisons, our poor
houses...Scratch a convict or a pauper, and the chances are that you tickle the skin
of an Irish Catholic. Putting them on a boat and sending them home would end
crime in this country."
Instead of trying to improve their image by becoming friends with the Americans,
they united and took the offence. Especially at the beginning, insult or intimidation
was often met with violence.
The Church played an integral part in their lives. It was a militant church which
fought not only for their souls but also for their human rights.
After the religious riots in Philadelphia, during which many Catholic churches were
burned, the mayor of New York asked Archbishop Hughes, "Do you fear that some
of your churches will be burned."
"No sir, but I am afraid some of yours will be. We can protect our own."
Later, public officials asked the Archbishop to restrain New York's Irish. "I have not
the power," he said. "You must take care that they are not provoked." No Catholic
church burned in New York.
Since they knew that their dream of leading a successful life for which they had
sacrificed so much could only come true if they got educated and adapted to the
American way of life, the Irish often became more "Americanized" than the
So, little by little the days of "No Irish Need Apply" passed; St.Patrick's Day parades
replaced violent confrontations. The Irish not only won acceptance, but persuaded
everyone else to become Irish at least for St.Patrick's Day.
In 1850 at the crest of Potato Famine immigration, Orestes Brownson, a celebrated
convert to Catholicism, stated: "Out of these narrow lanes, dirty streets, damp
cellars, and suffocating garrets, will come forth some of the noblest sons of our
country, whom she will delight to own and honor."
In little more than a century his prophecy came true. Irish-Americans had moved
from the position of the despised to the Oval Office.
The Irish faced many problems throughout the nineteenth century but these
hardships and struggles gave them the strength they needed to succeed in America.
America offered one thing that Ireland could not offer these people, hope for the
opportunity to succeed in life. The military first contributed to many problems of the
Irish, such as the deterioration of the family structure, but it also aided them in
breaking the remaining ties to Irish nationalism, and gave the people a chance to
receive an education.
During the Civil War, when America recruited the recent wave of Famine Irish
immigrants to fight for their country, 144,000 of them volunteered to fight for the
Union. Others, in smaller numbers, fought for the Confederate States. Since the
military was basically their only chance to achieve success in the U.S.A., the Irish
fought passionately for the Americans.
World War I brought the Irish respect by American society; their fierce conduct in
many military operations allowed them to break from Ireland's nationalism and
depend on themselves and their new home for success. World War II furthered this
success by providing the Irish soldiers with an opportunity to seek education at the
expense of the country they defended. The G. I. Bill sent many Irish-Americans
through college, giving them the education they needed to make a significant jump
from a simple peasant to such positions as lawyers, doctors, and professors. This
movement along with the new skills accumulated in the factory allowed the
Irish-Americans to move out of the ghettos and into respectable housing; leaving
disease and poverty behind them.
Unit 4
Black/African Americans
“ I have a dream today… that one day little black boy and black girls will be able to
join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a
dream today.”
“ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they
will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King. Jr.
1. Describe the contributions made by African Americans.
2. What were Africans’ experiences of arriving and settling in American?
3. What is the racial segregation? Would you like to find some examples to explain
I. African Americans
African Americans (American Blacks or Black Americans), racial group in the United
States whose dominant ancestry is from sub-Saharan West Africa. Many African
Americans also claim European, Native American, or Asian ancestors. A variety of
names have been used for African Americans at various points in history. African
Americans have been referred to as Negroes, colored, blacks, and Afro-Americans,
as well as lesser-known terms, such as the 19th-century designation Anglo-African.
The terms Negro and colored are now rarely used. African American, black, and to
a lesser extent Afro-American, are used interchangeably today.
Recent black immigrants from Africa and the islands of the Caribbean are
sometimes classified as African Americans. However, these groups, especially firstand second-generation immigrants, often have cultural practices, histories, and
languages that are distinct from those of African Americans born in the United
States. For example, Caribbean natives may speak French, British English, or
Spanish as their first language. Emigrants from Africa may speak a European
language other than English or any of a number of African languages as their first
language. Caribbean and African immigrants often have little knowledge or
experience of the distinctive history of race relations in the United States. Thus,
Caribbean and African immigrants may or may not choose to identify with the
African American community.
According to 2000 U.S. census, some 34.7 million African Americans live in the
United States, making up 12.3 percent of the total population. 2000 census shows
that 54.8 percent African Americans lived in the South. In that year, 17.6 percent of
African Americans lived in the Northeast and 18.7 percent in the Midwest, while only
8.9 percent lived in the Western states. Almost 88 percent of African Americans
lived in metropolitan areas in 2000. With over 2 million African American residents,
New York City had the largest black urban population in the United States in 2000.
Washington, D.C., had the highest proportion of black residents of any U.S. city in
2000, with African Americans making up almost 60 percent of the population.
The African American Experience
African American history is intertwined with that of blacks in Latin America and the
Caribbean (see Blacks in Latin America). Like other blacks in the western
hemisphere, the overwhelming majority of African Americans were brought to North
America as slaves between the 1700s and the early 1800s (see Slavery in the United
States). As slaves, they were considered the property of their owners and had no
rights. African slaves could be found in all 13 of the British colonies, as well as the
Spanish colony of Florida and the French colony of Louisiana.
After the American Revolution (1775-1783), changing economic conditions resulted
in the decline of slavery in the North. However, the spread of cotton cultivation
encouraged the growth of slavery in the South. By 1860, 4 million slaves accounted
for one-third of the total population of the southern states. About 500,000 free
blacks lived throughout the United States, slightly more than half residing in the
southern states. In the North, many free blacks became abolitionists, activists
dedicated to ending slavery and bringing about black equality.
In 1863, during the American Civil War (1861-1865), U.S. president Abraham
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in the southern states
at war with the North. The 13th amendment to the Constitution of the United States,
ratified in 1865, outlawed slavery in the United States. In 1868 the 14th
amendment granted full U.S. citizenship to African Americans. The 15th
amendment, ratified in 1870, extended the right to vote to black males.
In the South, such rights were enforced only by the presence of Union troops, who
occupied the region during the period known as Reconstruction. When Union troops
withdrew from the South in 1877, white Southerners quickly reversed these
advances. Racist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, used terrorism to keep blacks
from voting, holding office, and enforcing labor contracts. Whites also began
establishing a thorough system of segregation in the United States. Laws limiting
blacks’ access to transportation, schools, restaurants, and other public facilities,
sprang up throughout the South. Although legal systems of segregation were not
established in the North or West, informal segregation was enforced in both of these
Blacks responded to these setbacks by forming the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910. The NAACP mounted legal
challenges to segregation and lobbied legislatures on behalf of black Americans.
African Americans also created an independent community and institutional life.
They established schools, banks, newspapers, and small businesses to serve the
needs of their community.
Between 1910 and 1950, in the largest internal migration in U.S. history, over 5
million African Americans moved from southern plantations to northern cities in
hopes of finding better jobs and greater equality. In the 1920s the concentration of
blacks in urban areas led to the cultural movement known as the Harlem
Renaissance, which used art, music, and literature to demonstrate the creative
abilities of African Americans. A new generation of African American political leaders,
such as black nationalist Marcus Garvey and union organizer A. Philip Randolph, also
found support among urban African Americans.
In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in the case of
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. This decision led to the dismantling of legal
segregation in all areas of southern life, from schools to restaurants to public
restrooms. Energized by leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights
movement in the United States gained new momentum in the mid-1950s. Civil
rights groups organized nonviolent protests, such as marches and sit-ins, to rally
the black community.
Many Southern whites attempted to hold onto segregation through continued
violence. By the mid-1960s some African Americans began to question the
effectiveness of nonviolent protest. More militant black leaders, such as Malcolm X
of the Nation of Islam and Eldridge Cleaver of the Black Panther Party, called for
blacks to defend themselves, using violence if necessary. From the mid-1960s to
the mid-1970s, the Black Power movement urged African Americans to look to
Africa for inspiration and emphasized African American solidarity rather than
Responding to pressure from the civil rights movement, the U.S. government
sought to open up political and economic opportunities for black Americans. The
1965 Civil Rights Act banned discrimination in public accommodations, employment,
and labor unions. The 1965 Voting Rights Act, which brought equality to black
voters throughout the South, was the capstone to more than a decade of major civil
rights legislation.
Contemporary Issues
Politically and economically, blacks have made substantial strides in the post-civil
rights era. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who ran for the Democratic Party’s
presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, brought unprecedented support and
leverage to blacks in politics. In 1989, Virginia became the first state in U.S. history
to elect a black governor, Douglas Wilder. In 1992 Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois
became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate. There were 8,936 black
officeholders in the United States in 2000, showing a net increase of 7,467 since
1970. In 2001 there were 484 mayors and 38 members of Congress. The
Congressional Black Caucus serves as a political bloc in Congress for issues relating
to African Americans. The appointment of blacks to high federal offices—including
Colin Powell (chairman of the U.S. Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989-1993),
Ron Brown (Secretary of Commerce, 1993-1996), and Supreme Court justice
Clarence Thomas—also demonstrates the increasing power of blacks in the political
Economically, blacks have also benefited from the advances made during the civil
rights era. The racial disparity in poverty rates has narrowed slightly. The black
middle class has grown substantially. In 2000, some 47 percent of African
underrepresented in government and employment. In 1999, median income of
African American household was $27,910 compared to $44,366 of non-Hispanic
whites. Approximately one-fourth of the African American population lives in
poverty, a rate three times that of white Americans. In 2000, 19.1 percent of black
population lived below poverty level as compared to 6.9 percent of white population.
The unemployment gap between blacks and whites has grown. In 2000, the
unemployment rate among African Americans was almost twice the rate for whites.
The income gap between black and white families also continues to widen.
Employed blacks earn only 77 percent of the wages of whites in comparable jobs,
down from 82 percent in 1975. In 2000, Only 16.6 percent of 25 years and older
blacks earned bachelor’s or higher degrees in contrast to 28.1 percent of whites.
Although rates of births to unwed mothers among both blacks and whites have risen
since the 1950s, the rate of such births among African Americans is three times the
rate of whites.
Black Americans have shorter life expectancies than the national average. Blacks
suffer disproportionately from heart disease, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
(AIDS), hypertension, stroke, and diabetes. Blacks’ lack of access to quality health
care contributes to these problems.
Black experiences with and attitudes towards the criminal justice system differ
markedly from whites. Although rates of violent crime are dropping among blacks,
more than one million African American men are currently in jail or prison. Homicide
remains the leading cause of death among black men between the ages of 15 and 34.
African Americans distrust the criminal justice system much more than whites do. In
1991 the beating of an unarmed black motorist, Rodney King, by four Los Angeles
police officers was captured on videotape. An all-white jury later acquitted the police
officers, sparking riots in Los Angeles and protests around the country.
II. African American Culture - Black Power
Some people believe that right and wrong can be determined by one's dominance
over another. They believe that whoever has the mightiest army or the most guns
can decide what is right. This is a delusion. It does not matter what point of view
people hold. Nothing any person says or does can determine right and wrong.
We are Black people, whether born in Africa, or in another land, as descendants of
those taken from our ancestral home. Although I refer to us as Black people, it does
not matter what title we use, whether Black, Colored, African American, Caribbean,
or any other. Our substance is in our mind, body, and spirit, and exists regardless of
the names we bear.
Our people have faced great adversity, possibly more than any other people, simply
for being a Black race. Now we must overcome the centuries of abuse and massacre
to rise to the responsibility inherent of the righteous. Many Black people feel
powerless in a world that seems to be dominated by white people and an anti Black
world order. That is the subject of this page.
To the non Black people who may be reading this, this page is not meant to be anti
white. Still, it is one of the pages on this site designed specifically for Black people.
The context is meant to be understandable to Black people, and any insult to other
people is probably due to their different point of view. If this page is insulting to you,
feel free to send me your feelings about it, but do not expect me or this page to
change do to your misunderstanding of pro Black text.
The world we live in gives us many reasons to feel powerless. We have been
enslaved, tortured, sold as cattle or other property, and murdered as if our lives
have no value. To add to the torment, the same people who did these things to us
are in political power and still have the capability to affect our lives. The adversity
we have to face every moment of our lives is much more than I choose to include in
a single web page. Listing the relentless brutality is not my goal. My goal is to help
my people to overcome the hatred, the brutality, and general wickedness, so that
we can reach the day our forbears dreamed of.
The forces against us are so relentless, brutally bombarding us with so much evil
that Black people feel overwhelmed, as if the evil is too great. They feel powerless
against those who would have us enslaved or eliminated. They feel as if any chance
we ever had to overcome has been taken from us, that our enemy has us at its
mercy. It has even been suggested that God must be against us, or we would never
have been put through such turmoil. This is our delusion, implemented by the
intoxication of satanic worldly forces.
God is on our side. If God were with our enemies when they attacked us, we would
have been eliminated. Also, we are not at the mercy of our enemy. The fact that we
remain alive despite our enemies' most terrible attacks is proof that our fate cannot
be determined by our enemy. Only God can determine whether we live or die.
We are not powerless. Those who oppress us perform their tricks to convince us that
we are powerless so that they can keep us manageable, if not under control. They
tell us they outnumber us, they tell us they have superior weapons, and they tell us
that they are genetically superior, among many other tales. These tales make us
feel helpless, and we remain inactive and docile, and our enemy preys on us during
our delusion.
It is time for us to stop accepting the tales our oppressors tell. They want us to
believe we are powerless because they know that if we realize the power we have,
we will not allow ourselves to be oppressed anymore.
There is more than one reason why people do not want us to realize our power.
Some people are afraid that if we do, we will use our power to punish those who
oppressed us.
Others are hungry for power and do not want to give up control over
Others are simply hateful and willing to do anything to hurt Black people.
As I will probably repeat every time I write pages like this, I am not claiming to be
a source of complete wisdom. I am only offering my thoughts and perspectives on
various subjects. It is important for me to mention this before writing about
As most people, Black people tend to want power. Some of us may read this with
skepticism, preparing to dismiss it as useless motivational text. It may be
motivational text but if I thought it was useless I would not spend precious time
typing it. This text is meant to be a key to unlock the power within us.
I believe in order for us to realize our power, we first have to stop accepting the
words of our oppressors as absolute truth. This means never let someone tell you
that you are not as smart as another person. It means never let someone tell you
that you must raise your children their way and not your own. It means that you
should never let someone tell you that you cannot change your life or change the
lives of others. It means you should never let an oppressor make you think that you
are not good enough or that you need them to survive. There are too many
examples to list but basically what I mean is you should never let the words of an
oppressor stop you from overcoming them.
Second, we must not give up our struggle. We have come too far as a people, and
fought too many battles to give up now.
Whenever a Black man or woman gives up,
that person not only fails himself or herself, but also all other Black people. That
person fails all righteous people.
people have hard times.
You were not put on earth to be a failure. All
I am experiencing hard times as I type this. Still, You and
I must both remember that no matter how hard life gets, we can survive. We can
survive because Jesus told us we could. You may feel as if you have taken all of the
pain and abuse you can handle. Maybe you don't see the food, clothing or other
material things you need. Maybe you don't see the friends or family you need.
Maybe you are so entrenched in some problem that you feel there is no way out.
Maybe you feel as if you have been defeated by someone or done yourself in.
The fact that you are reading or hearing this is evidence that you have not been
finished yet. Dead people do not read or hear. You are still alive. As long as you are
alive, you can change the situation in your life. Experience has shown me that
hardship is not me downfall, but instead is a source of power. Just as exposure to
chicken pox makes us immune to it, each time we survive and overcome an obstacle,
we become more capable of overcoming future obstacles. Through slavery and
murder, our oppressors have tried time after time to destroy us, and each time, we
have consumed their vicious attack, and become a more powerful people. The more
people try to destroy us, the harder it will be to destroy us.
Don't let yourself remain idle. You have power and it is in your nature to overcome
hardship. You can defy the way of the world and thrive despite the voices telling you
to give up. Voices told slaves they would never be free, but we are now free to
correct the problems caused by slavery. Voices told Jesus he was not the son of God
but he came back from "the dead" and saved the world. Now it is time for you to defy
the voices telling you not to succeed. The method cannot be described in this web
page. It must play out in your mind. That is where you will find the end of this
III. Black Beauty
They stare at us from the tops of shyscrapers, the sides of buses and bus stops.
They entice us from behind boutique windows, pixilated TV sets, and the glossy
pages magazines. They smile, they pout, smoke cigarettes, drink beer, all the while
holding their perfectly sculpted bodies poised just so. Our idols teach us to how to
look, how to dress, and how to carry ourselves. But most importantly, these
heavenly creatures teach us how to want. “ Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,”
their heavy-lidded eyes tell us. “ You can get the right product and look just like
For centuries, people of African descent have struggled with the paradox of black
beauty as reflected by a Western gaze. Historically, to many European observers,
black hair was seen as too kinky and too short; black lips, thighs and behinds were
too large; and, of course, black skin was, well, too black. Black looks were
contrasted to a white ideal, and a simultaneous Western fascination and distaste for
black features found expression in many ways, perhaps most tellingly in the 18th
century exhibition in Europe of a Southern African “ Hottentot Venus” whose
physique was perceived as freakish and worthy of circus display.”
In a world dominated by Western values, it’s no wonder that blacks themselves
began to internalize white standards of beauty and to aspire to a European aesthetic.
The battle for black beauty has been a long and protracted one, and through the
ages black people have both responded to white expectations and struggled to
define their own standards of beauty. And black women’s preoccupation with
manipulating their appearance has fueled lucrative businesses and influenced social
movements. Madame C.J. Walker was the first African American ertrepreneur to
cash in on the particular beauty needs of black women. Born in 1867 to former
slaves, Walker developed “ Wonderful Hair Grower,” a hair care product for women
who suffered from hair loss. The resourceful one-time domestic went on to create a
hot comb that could soften and straighten black hair, a style that aspired to white
hair texture but which soon took on its own uniquely black aesthetic.
Walker started by selling her inventions via mail order, but eventually her products
became so popular that she built a nationwide, door-to-door distribution network to
full the demand. By 1914, Walker was a millionaire twice over, but more importantly
she had taught African American women to reclaim a certain pride in how they
looked, even if beautifying themselves had come to mean making themselves look
as white as they could. In her book Skin Deep: Inside the World of Black Fashion
Models, former fashion model Barbara Summers traces the origins of African
American beauty icons back to the turn of the century. Three early figures,
Summers argues, were the prototypes for African American images of beauty.
“ Madame C.J. Walker was the original black female entrepreneur, Josephine Baker
was the entertainer diva, and Lena Horne is the very beautiful, but non-threatening,
black woman who is strong and determined, “ she says. It would be decades
before a prototypical black beauty could sport dark shin or kinky hair.
French fashion photographer Thierry Le Goues illustrates her point. In his 1998
book of photography, Soul, Le Goues covers his nude black models from head to toe
in black grease paint and then photographs them in a white space, the result is
provocative , striking and , yes, beautiful. “ I always loved to photograph black
models, “ Le Goues is quoted as saying in the introduction to his book. “ I just got
better results with my technique and lighting. It’s not a sexual dimension at all .
[Black] bodies are more sculptural. The shape of the ass and the curvature of the
spine is very dramatic; the carriage is different, stronger than the white body. The
book is reaction to never being able to book black girls when I do fashion shoots.
Soul is an homage to my medium, which is the models who are my inspiration. “ And
who wouldn’t be inspired by the nude figures of Naome Campbell, Iman, Kiara,
Karen Alexander or Alek Wek whose sleek, black bodies carve out the white spaces
of Soul’s pages like ancient Egyptian sculptures?
Even though America’s visual culture has been slow to change, in the past several
years, leaps and bounds have been made. This shift is largely due to the rise of hip
“ It’s interesting to see how hip hop and fashion have become intertwined,” Mosko
remarks, “ A cpuple of years age, Vogue did a spread featuring Puff Daddy and Kate
Moss. Foxy Brown was the special guest at the last calvin Klein Show and Lauryn Hill
was on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. African Americans are gaining access to
fashion through hip hop. And fashion is using hip hop artists to sell their products.”
From the high end to popular fashions, hip hop culture has also been aggressively
mined for its aesthetic innovations. Think of Tommy Hilfiger et al. Last season,
Christiand Dior’s show shamelessly borrowed from Lauryn Hill’s aesthetic in her
“ Everything is Everything.” Video. And not only was the clothing imitative, but the
models, most of whom were white, all walked the runway in faux dreadlocks – a bit
of cultural appropriation that harks back to white America’s flirtation with cornrows,
as seen on Bo Derek in the 1979 movie 10.
In days of old, each culture had its own standard of beauty, and both men and
women begged, borrowed or stole just to meet it. But in this relatively new (one
–size-fits-all) order, we’re not just trying to get along, we’re all trying to look like
each other too. Perhaps it is enough that images of black beauty continue to push at
the norm. Perhaps it is enough that black women’s cosmetic needs are now catered
If Madame C. J. Walker were alive today she would be overwhelmed by the plethora
of companies now selling black beauty products. Perhaps she might hump back into
the fray. Or perhaps she’d simply kick up her feet, thumb through a magazine and
Black Music
African Americans have played a tremendous role in American music. Almost all
popular music contains elements of African American rhythms and culture. Black
spirituals are one of the best known and earliest forms of American music. These
religious songs eventually gave birth to the blues. Jazz, which began in the late
1800's, grew out of black folk blues and ballads. And musicians in the mid-1900's
combined spirituals, blues, and jazz styles to develop rock and roll. In the late
1900's, a new American musical form called rap emerged.
Spiritual is a type of religious song made famous by the blacks of the Southern
United States. Spirituals are emotional songs and have a strong rhythm. They are
especially moving when sung by a group. A leader sometimes sings one or two lines
alone, and a chorus comes in with the refrain. Spiritual singers often emphasize the
rhythm by clapping their hands.
The melodies used in spirituals are sometimes said to have originated in Africa.
However, many spirituals are unrelated to African songs. Such spirituals reflect a
direct relationship to evangelistic preaching among poor Southern whites that
began at a Kentucky camp meeting in 1800. These "revivals" also encouraged
"white spirituals." The blacks' love for song led them to put their feelings into their
singing at worship and at work.
The slaves based most of their spirituals upon characters and stories from the Bible.
The manner in which these stories are told in black spirituals shows a colorful
imagination and a simple faith. Many slaves thought of themselves as modern
children of Israel and sought freedom from bondage. Their songs were appealing
and sincere. Well-known spirituals include "Go Down, Moses," "Deep River," and
"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."
The spread of spirituals
Spirituals were little known outside the Southern States until after the blacks were
freed from slavery. In 1867, William Francis Allen, Lucy McKim Garrison, and
Charles Pickard Ware published a collection of black music called Slave Songs of the
United States.
In 1871, spirituals were introduced to other parts of the United States by a group of
blacks called the Jubilee Singers, of Fisk University. They traveled throughout the
United States, and to England and Germany, giving concerts to raise money for their
school. Other black schools followed their example. The black quartets from
Hampton Institute and Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) became
Spirituals are now one of the best-known forms of American music. Major writers of
spirituals include the black composers Harry Thacker Burleigh, William Dawson, and
Hall Johnson. Such black singers as Marian Anderson, Roland Hayes, and William
Warfield helped make spirituals popular.
Rock and roll
Rock music is one of the world's most popular and adaptable musical forms. When
it originated in the United States in the early 1950's, rock music was known as rock
'n' roll (also spelled rock and roll). From the start, it was party music, dance music,
and music that appealed to young listeners. It often celebrated the joys of being
young, and it occasionally expressed the frustrations of youth.
Many adults dismissed rock 'n' roll as a passing fad or condemned it as a threat to
society. By the mid-1960's, however, rock 'n' roll had earned wide respect as a
legitimate art form. The music's popularity spread internationally and among older
listeners as well. By the end of the 1960's, the music had moved far from its roots
in blues and country music, and it became known simply as rock.
In the 1970's, rock became a bigger business than ever. It not only dominated the
music industry, but also influenced everything from film to fashion to politics. As
rock music became increasingly accepted, it lost much of the rebelliousness that
had originally given it its power.
Since the early 1980's, rock music has continued to defy musical barriers and has
drawn much of its strength from international musical influences. Today, rock music
is no longer only the music of young Americans. It is music of the world.
Musical roots
Rock developed from a variety of different popular music styles. The roots of rock
can be heard in the lyrics and electric guitar of the blues, in the rhythms of a form
of blues known as rhythm and blues, and in the spirit of American country music.
The squawking saxophone of dance-band jazz, and the melodies, choruses, and
harmonies of popular (pop) music also added to the rock sound.
The emergence of rock 'n' roll
Before rock 'n' roll became a musical category, such rhythm and blues hits as
"Rocket '88" (1951) by Jackie Brenston had the spirit of rock 'n' roll. This and other
similar records became increasingly popular with both black rhythm and blues
audiences and white country music audiences.
The major rock 'n' roll explosion began with Elvis Presley. Although he was white, he
had the style commonly associated with increasingly popular black music. The
popularity of his black sound combined with his hip-shaking live performances and
frequent radio play quickly made Presley a superstar. His first major success came
with his 1956 recording of "Heartbreak Hotel" for RCA Victor.
Another important influence on rock music was St. Louis blues artist Chuck Berry.
He was the first of the great rock songwriters. His lyrics effectively expressed the
feelings and problems of youth. Berry's first hit record was a country-styled tune
titled "Maybellene" (1955). Berry was a major influence on later rock performers,
including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Richard Penniman, known as Little Richard, helped influence rock performance
styles. His vigorous and flamboyant stage performances provided a model for
performers who followed. His first major success came in 1955 with "Tutti Frutti."
Though the United States was racially divided, some people sensed a spirit of racial
equality in rock 'n' roll. It featured black artists, such as Chuck Berry, who were
influenced by white country music. It also presented white artists, such as Presley
and songwriter-guitarist Buddy Holly, who adopted styles based on black rhythm
and blues. In earlier times, the recordings of such Southern black artists as Bo
Diddley and Fats Domino would have been categorized as "race records" and sold
primarily to black customers. With the rise of rock 'n' roll, these artists appealed to
black and white audiences alike.
Jazz is a kind of music that has often been called the only art form to originate in the
United States. The history of jazz began in the late 1800's. The music grew from a
combination of influences, including black American music, African rhythms,
American band traditions and instruments, and European harmonies and forms.
Much of the best jazz is still written and performed in the United States. But
musicians from many other countries are making major contributions to jazz. Jazz
was actually widely appreciated as an important art form in Europe before it gained
such recognition in the United States.
One of the key elements of jazz is improvisation--the ability to create new music
spontaneously. This skill is the distinguishing characteristic of the genuine jazz
musician. Improvisation raises the role of the soloist from just a performer and
reproducer of others' ideas to a composer as well. And it gives jazz a fresh
excitement at each performance.
Another important element of jazz is syncopation. To syncopate their music, jazz
musicians take patterns that are even and regular and break them up, make them
uneven, and put accents in unexpected places.
The earliest jazz was performed by black Americans who had little or no training in
Western music. These musicians drew on a strong musical culture from black life. As
jazz grew in popularity, its sound was influenced by musicians with formal training
and classical backgrounds. During its history, jazz has absorbed influences from the
folk and classical music of Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world. The
development of instruments with new and different characteristics has also
influenced the sound of jazz.
Classical music
Classical music is music written chiefly for concerts, for religious services, and for
opera and ballet. It includes music for groups of instruments--such as symphony
orchestras--for voices, and for both instruments and voices. Classical music is
sometimes called art music. Most classical music is more complex than popular
music, which includes country music, rock music, and jazz.
Classical music varies greatly. Many compositions are extremely long and have a
variety of tempos (speeds) and styles. Others are short and have the same tempo
and style throughout. Some classical music deals with a specific subject. For
example, it may tell a story, express an idea, or describe a mood.
There are two principal kinds of classical music. These two kinds are instrumental
music and vocal music. Composers write instrumental music to be performed by one
instrument, a small ensemble (group of instruments), or an orchestra. Vocal music
may be written for one singer, for several singers, or for a large chorus. Many works
of classical music combine both instrumental parts and vocal parts.
Until the middle 1900's, many opera and symphony companies discriminated
against African American musicians. In 1955, Marian Anderson became the first
black soloist to perform with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, which opened
the door for many other musicians. By the end of the 1900's, African American
opera singers Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman were among the most
accomplished opera singers in the world
Blues are a kind of music that developed in America from the various musical
expressions of African Americans. The blues are an extremely flexible type of music,
and various musicians have created individual styles of performing them. The blues
contributed greatly to the development of jazz. Such jazz musicians as Duke
Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Jack Teagarden have often included variations of the
blues in their music. In addition, some classical music and numerous rock, folk, and
country music compositions also show the influence of the blues.
The basic blues design is a 12-bar form that is divided into three sections of four
bars each. Most blues lyrics consist of several three-line stanzas. The second line of
each stanza repeats the first, and the third line expresses a response to the first two.
Many blues lyrics reflect loneliness or sorrow, but others declare a humorous or
defiant reaction to life's troubles.
Roots of the blues
Blues may have developed after the American Civil War (1861-1865) from short
solo calls and wails called field hollers. Field hollers were used as a form of
communication among black plantation workers in the South. In the late 1800's,
country, or "down-home," blues developed in the Mississippi Delta region. These
songs were sung by a male singer, usually with the accompaniment of a guitar.
Blind Lemon Jefferson and Mississippi John Hurt were well-known singers of country
The blues became more widely known in the early 1900's. A bandleader named W.
C. Handy began to publish blues songs that won wide popularity. Handy's
compositions include "Memphis Blues" (1912) and "St. Louis Blues" (1914). In the
1920's, Bessie Smith emerged as one of the most talented and popular of the classic
blues singers. Recordings by Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, Ethel Waters, and others
helped bring urban blues to a larger audience. In the 1930's, boogie-woogie, a
blues-influenced style of piano music, became popular.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929--1968)
Martin Luther King, Jr., was a great man who worked for racial equality and civil
rights in the United States of America. He was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta,
Georgia. Martin had a brother, Alfred, and a sister, Christine. Both his father and
grandfather were ministers. His mother was a schoolteacher who taught him how to
read before he went to school.
Young Martin was an excellent student in school; he skipped grades in both
elementary school and high school . He enjoyed reading books, singing, riding a
bicycle, and playing football and baseball. Martin entered Morehouse College in
Atlanta, Georgia, when he was only 15 years old.
Martin experienced racism early in life. He decided to do to something
to make the world a better and fairer place.
After graduating from college and getting married, Dr. King became a
minister and moved to Alabama.
During the 1950's, Dr. King became active in the movement for civil rights and racial
equality. He participated in the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott and many other
peaceful demonstrations that protested the unfair treatment of African-Americans.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
Commemorating the life of a tremendously important leader, we celebrate Martin
Luther King Day each year in January, the month in which he was born.
Unit 5 Italian Americans
"When they
- that the
- that the
- and that
got to America, they learned three things:
streets were not paved with gold;
streets were not paved at all;
they were expected to pave them."
1. What are your impressions about Italy and Italians?
2. List the contributions made by Italian Americans.
3. Do you know anything about some famous Italian Americans? Please share them with
your classmates.
I. The Joy of Growing up Italian American
Author Unknown
I was well into adulthood before I realized that I was an American. Of course, I had
been born in America and had lived there all of my life, but somehow it never occurred
to me that just being a citizen of the United States meant I was an American. Americans
were people who ate peanut butter and jelly on mushy white bread that came out of plastic
packages. ME?? I was Italian.
For me ... as I am sure for most second-generation Italian-American children who grew
up in the 40s or 50s, there was a definite distinction drawn between US and THEM. We
were Italians. Everybody else – the Irish, German, Polish, Jewish – they were the
"MED-E-GONES." There were no hard feelings, just – well – we were sure ours was the
better way. For instance, we had a bread man, a coal man, an ice man, a fruit and vegetable
man, a watermelon man, and a fish man; we even had a man who sharpened knives and scissors
who came right to our homes, or at least right outside our homes. They were the many
peddlers who plied the Italian neighborhoods. We would wait for their call, their yell,
their individual distinctive sound. We knew them all, they knew us. Americans went to
the stores for most of their foods – what a waste.
Truly, I pitied their loss. They never knew the pleasure of waking up every morning to
find a hot, crisp loaf of Italian bread waiting behind the screen door. And instead of
being able to climb on back of the peddler's truck a couple of times a week just to hitch
a ride, most of my "MED-E- GONE" friends had to be satisfied going to the A&P. When it
came to food, it always amazed me that my American friends or classmates only ate turkey
on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Or rather, that they only ate turkey, stuffing, mashed
potatoes and cranberry sauce. Now we Italians – we also had turkey, stuffing, mashed
potatoes and cranberry sauce, but – only after we had finished the antipasto, soup,
lasagna, meatballs, salad and whatever else Grandma thought might be appropriate for
that particular holiday. This turkey was usually accompanied by a roast of some kind
(just in case somebody walked in who didn't like turkey) and was followed by an assortment
of fruits, nuts, pastries, cakes and, of course, homemade cookies. No holiday was
complete without some home baking, none of that store-bought stuff for us. This is where
you learned to eat a seven-course meal between Noon and 4:00 p.m, how to handle hot
chestnuts and put peach wedges in red wine. I truly believe Italians live a romance with
Speaking of food – Sunday was truly the big day of the week. That was the day you'd
wake up to the smell of garlic and onions frying in olive oil. As you laid in bed, you
could hear the hiss as tomatoes were dropped into the pan. Sunday we always had gravy
(the "MED-E-GONES" called it "sauce") and macaroni (they called it "pasta"). Sunday would
not be Sunday without going to Mass. Of course, you couldn't eat before Mass because
you had to fast before receiving Communion. But, the good part was we knew that when
we got home, we'd find hot meatballs frying and nothing tastes better than newly-fried
meatballs and crisp bread dipped in a pot of gravy.
There was another difference between US and THEM. We had gardens, not just flower gardens,
but huge gardens where we grew tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes. We ate them, cooked
them, jarred them. Of course, we also grew peppers, basil, lettuce and squash. Everybody
had a grapevine and a fig tree, and in the fall everyone made homemade wine, lots of
it. Of course, those gardens thrived so because we also had something else it seemed
our American friends didn't seem to have. We had a Grandfather. It's not they didn't
have grandfathers, it's just that they didn't live in the same house, or nearby. They
visited their grandfathers. We ate with ours, and God forbid we didn't see him at least
once a week. I can still remember my Grandfather telling me how he came to America as
a young man "on the boat." How the family lived in a rented tenement on Thompson St.
in New York's "Little Italy" and struggled to make ends meet; how he decided he didn't
want his children, four sons and five daughters, to grow up in that environment. All
of this, of course, in his own version of Napolitano/English which I soon learned to
understand quite well.
So, when he saved enough, and I could never figure out how, he bought two houses in New
Jersey. The house in Hoboken and the house at Long Branch at the Jersey shore served
as the family headquarters for the next 40 years. I remember how he hated to leave, would
rather sit by the window and watch his garden grow and when he did leave for some special
occasion, had to return as quickly as possible. After all, "Nobody's watching the house."
I also remember the holiday when all the relatives would gather at my Grandfather's house
and there'd be tables full of food and homemade wine and music. Women in the kitchen,
men in the living room, and kids, kids everywhere. I have a lot of cousins, first and
second. And my Grandfather, his fine moustache trimmed, would sit in the middle of it
all surveying his domain, proud of his family and how well his children had done.
He had achieved his goal in coming to America and to New Jersey and knew his children
and their children were achieving the same goals that were available to them in this
country because they were Italian Americans with that strong Italian work ethic. When
my Grandfather died years ago at the age of 89, things began to change... Slowly at first.
Family gatherings were fewer and something seemed to be missing, although when we did
get together, I always had the feeling he was there somehow. It was understandable, of
course, everyone now had families of their own and grandchildren of their own. Joy of Growing up Italian
II. Roman Catholics and the American Mainstream in 20th Century
Julie Byrne
Texas Christian University
©National Humanities Center
In the course of the twentieth century, the face of Roman Catholicism in America changed
again, almost as dramatically as it had in the nineteenth century. In the nineteenth
century, the change was predominantly demographic, as Catholic immigration added to
church ranks thirteen million from far-flung corners of the world. In the twentieth
century, the change was largely socioeconomic, as the children and grandchildren of
Catholic immigrants began to make their own way—and their own kinds of Catholicism—in
the United States.
The most important thing to convey to your students is how issues of family structure,
gender roles, social status, and national heritage unfolded through the generations
after immigration—and how for Catholic immigrants and their children, religion stood
at the heart of those issues.
When immigration restriction laws were passed in the early 1920s, Catholic communities
were relieved of the great pressure to deal with so many immigrants' basic needs, but
they confronted new pressures to prove—to themselves and to others—that Catholics
could be as "American" as anyone else. Have the students imagine the issues that would
face the children of immigrants; certainly the students' own conflicts with parents and
authority can help generate answers. The Catholic children may have been influenced by
ideas from their neighbors, or at school, or in the papers, that challenged or changed
their ideas of what was desirable or good. Maybe hanging out with the Protestant kids
was not so bad after all. Maybe having a hamburger on Friday was not such a great sin
after all. More importantly, maybe a Catholic daughter doesn't really want to grow up
to be like her mother; maybe a Catholic son doesn't want to do the same kind of work
as his father. Then put the shoe on the other foot: what would the range of parents'
feelings on such changes likely be?
Sometimes this new pressure to conform expressed itself in interethnic rivalry among
Catholics. For example, to the Irish, who spoke English and had often arrived earlier
than other groups, "fitting in" with mainstream America seemed natural and attractive.
They actively pursued the jobs, clothes, and home decorations that would assimilate them
to the wider American population—earning themselves a reputation as "the lace-curtain
Irish." But for the late-coming Italians, it was much more important to emphasize a vital
"Sicilian" or "Neapolitan" identity over a newer "American" one. The Italian
neighborhoods maintained Old World traditions, such as parades and carnivals for saints'
days, that flew in the face of the American taste for simplicity and modernity. The
self-conscious Irish were embarrassed by their fellow Catholics. Many Italian
parishioners wrote to their bishops—and sometimes even to the pope!—to complain that
their Irish pastors had threatened to cancel their traditional celebrations and were
interfering with the raising of their families in proper Italian fashion.
Other times the pressure to Americanize came from the external world. Anti-Catholic
prejudice was alive and even rejuvenated in some quarters in the twentieth century.
anti-Catholicism as part of an insistence on "original," pre-Rome Christianity. The Ku
Klux Klan resurgence in 1915 included Catholics along with blacks and Jews as victims
of their hate attacks. As late as 1949, a bestseller called American Freedom and Catholic
Power by Paul Blanshard argued, again, that the Catholic religion undermined the basic
tenets of American society.
Yet the gradual assimilation of Catholics into the mainstream of American life was
perhaps inevitable with the passage of time and generations. Assimilation also got
several big boosts from world and Church events.
First, Catholics served their country fighting in two world wars in the first half of
the twentieth century, after which their patriotism could not so easily be called into
Second, "mainstream" Protestant religion was becoming increasingly progressive and
liberal; as Will Herberg argued in 1955, it was becoming more important to "American
identity" to have SOME religion rather than any particular religion. Catholicism and
Judaism, Herberg wrote, had woven themselves into a triple-threaded "mainstream" with
Third, the Church itself started to gain a reputation for social responsibility and
public leadership. Catholic people and priests were heavily involved in labor struggles
for decades; Dorothy Day and other Catholics interested in social justice opened homes
and shelters for society's poorest poor; and the Catholic bishops' national conference
published a plan for post–World War I social policy that was universally lauded by
By the end of the 1950s, most Catholics saw little conflict between being Catholic and
American at the same time, and most Protestants had stopped thinking that way too. The
most visible forms of discrimination against Catholics in the national press, housing,
and banking had all but disappeared. Historian of American religion Grant Wacker has
rightly called this wholesale change in Catholic-Protestant relations the single biggest
social transformation in twentieth-century America.
This widespread acceptance of Catholics into mainstream America was largely accomplished
in the postwar era, but two major events of the 1960s brought the trend to completion.
In 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected president of the United States. Kennedy was an
immigrant success story, the grandson of an Irish Catholic immigrant who had worked his
way up from pennilessness to riches. The last Catholic to run for president had been
Al Smith, who lost the race in 1928 due largely to anti-Catholic hysteria. After that,
it was conventional wisdom that a Catholic could not win the presidency. Yet Kennedy,
a youthful, vigorous, charismatic man, not only won the presidency but became an icon
for a whole country who saw his leadership as a chance for a new hopeful and optimistic
era. When Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, many people, Protestant and Catholic, felt
that the country itself had died.
The other event of the 1960s that brought Catholics completely into the American
mainstream was the Second Vatican Council. This was an international council of bishops
called by Pope John XXIII to Rome between 1962 and 1965 for the purpose of "updating"
the Church—making its traditional doctrines and rituals relevant for the modern world.
For example, the Church had traditionally celebrated weekly Mass everywhere in the world
in Latin, the ancient language of Rome; now the bishops felt it was time to say Mass
in the local vernacular. Likewise, the Church had traditionally emphasized Roman
authority in all matters; now much more decision making power was delegated to local
bishops and lay councils. But perhaps the most important change decided upon at Vatican
II had to do with Catholicism's official position towards other Christian religions.
Whereas before the Church had always cautioned against associating too freely with
non-Catholics, now the bishops called upon Catholics to "build bridges" with their
Protestant brothers and sisters toward common goals.
As with any decision made by the few for the many, not all Catholics liked everything
about Vatican II. In America, the changes coincided with unprecedented social turmoil
to create an especially volatile decade for Catholics. Kennedy's assassination was
followed by the killing of Martin Luther King, Jr. and another Kennedy son, Robert; civil
rights demonstrators and student protesters were attacked by police; Malcolm X was
murdered; American involvement in Vietnam was becoming unpopular; racial riots were
breaking out in the cities.
People who weren't directly involved in these activities still watched the news on
television at night; everyone began to feel as if the country was falling apart. Catholics
went through these upheavals with the rest of Americans. But for them, the comforts of
old-time religion were also being pulled out from under their feet. Priests were leaving
their posts in droves; sisters abandoned their habits for jeans. "High church" bells,
incense, colorful vestments, and majestic music were no longer in vogue; "guitar masses,"
hippie priests, and group confession became common. In the space of ten years, many
Catholics no longer recognized their former Church.
A lot of Catholics had already thought change in the Church was long overdue and still
inadequate. But others missed the Latin Masses now said in English and old satisfying
devotions to the saints. These different reactions to the Vatican Council changes
precipitated a break between "liberal" and "conservative" Catholics that divides the
American Church and its members to this day. Liberal and conservative Catholics worship
together and both maintain fidelity to the universal Church. But they disagree about
who has the authority to say what it means to be a good Catholic. Liberals emphasize
Vatican II principles that allow the conscience of individual Catholics the final say
in their religious decisions. They understand birth control, second marriage, premarital
sex, and abortion as issues Catholics can make their own decisions about, and many believe
the Church's updating did not go far enough to make women equal members of a Church that
restricts the priesthood to men. Conservatives insist that Catholics' consciences should
still be formed in large part by the precepts of the Church under the authority of Rome.
The pope's pronouncements, they believe, are to be taken as the final authority without
question. The current pope backs them up. John Paul II is a "modern" activist pope who
travels the world, writes bestsellers, issues compact discs of prayers, and shakes hands
with folksinger Bob Dylan at a Church-sponsored rock concert, but he is conservative
in his understanding of Church authority.
While the story of the Catholic "arrival" in the American mainstream is the main story
of American Catholicism in the twentieth century, it is important to remember that
immigration of Catholic people continued throughout the century, especially after 1964,
when immigration laws were once again relaxed. Catholics from Puerto Rico, Haiti, the
Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Colombia, Zaire, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, the
Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, and many other countries have come to this country in the
last fifty years. Hispanics currently constitute the fastest-growing and arguably the
most vital Catholic population in the United States. These new arrivals benefit from
Catholicism's established position in American society, but in many ways, they are now
dealing with some of the same frustrations that the nineteenth-century immigrants faced.
Whereas European immigrants in the nineteenth century faced discrimination based on
religion and class, immigrants from the so-called "Third World" in the twentieth century
face discrimination based on class and race. Sometimes even leaders of their own Church
discriminate against them, devaluing the unfamiliar styles of Catholic ritual and
beliefs that grew up in the colonial and postcolonial contexts of the Caribbean, Mexico,
South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. So when we say that Catholics have "arrived"
nineteenth-century immigrants. In many ways, the American Catholic Church has not gone
"mainstream" at all; it is presently more ethnically diverse and politically complex
than it has ever been.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—June 23, 2004
The Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA), the nation's
oldest and largest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage, has been
recognized with a street sign in New York City's historic Little Italy district. On June
19, almost exactly 99 years since OSIA's founding, the street-naming celebration took
place on Grand Street with over 500 guests in attendance.
Order Sons of Italy Way/Grand Street marks the site where the organization's founders
first met at 203 Grand Street on June 22, 1905.
Hosting the ceremony was OSIA National President Joseph Sciame and New York State
President Joseph J. Di Trapani.
"As we approach our centennial year it is an honor to host this extraordinary event in
the place where it all began. Now we have a permanent legacy that we can share with all
of New York," says Mr. Di Trapani.
New York City Councilman Allen Gershon, and the New York City Council's Italian American
Caucus facilitated the street renaming, John Fratta, a member of the OSIA Lt. Joseph
Petrosino Lodge of Little Italy, also was a prime mover. Coordinator for the day’s events
was Lucy Codella, OSIA National/NY state historian.
Representatives from New York State Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg presented proclamations declaring June 19 "Order Sons of Italy in
America Day." NY State Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli and Nassau County Executive Thomas
Suozzi also extended greetings. Actor Tony LoBianco addressed the crowd.
"The sacrifices our parents and grandparents made to give us greater opportunities is
a clear example of the purity of the love that grounds our families this day and for
the years to come. The Order has been a part of that legacy all these many years," said
Mr. LoBianco.
OSIA state presidents and members from Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts,
New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia came to enjoy the day's events.
The program included a luncheon at SPQR Restaurant on Mulberry Street, where two lifetime
Achievements Awards were presented to Connecticut's Sebastian Polo and New York's Armand
Vella. The luncheon was followed by a mass dedicated to OSIA and celebrated by OSIA's
National Chaplain, Rev. Father Donald B. Licata, at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral. The
day concluded with a concert, performed by tenor Peter Buchi.
In expressing his appreciation to those present for such "a grand start" to the
anniversary celebrations, National President Sciame lit a symbolic Flame of Liberty to
honor OSIA members, their immigrant parents and grandparents.
"I hereby declare this a year of celebration for all OSIA members, lodges and grand lodges,
and enjoin them each to plan and coordinate appropriate events which reflect on the
glorious history of our national organization," he said.
OSIA is the largest and oldest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage
in the United States. It has more than 600,000 members and supporters and a network of
more than 700 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the community, national and
international levels to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million
Italian Americans, the nation’s fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census
VI. History of Italian Americans
Three-fourths of all Italian immigrants to the United States came from regions south
of Rome. Although the vast majority had been farmers in Italy, 97 percent settled in
cities in the United States. They often established distinctive ethnic neighborhoods
known as Little Italies. Many early Italian immigrants settled in New York City and San
Francisco. In 1860 New York City had an Italian population of 10,000. By 1920 almost
one-fourth of all Italian immigrants lived in New York City, while more than half lived
in the middle Atlantic states and New England.
The factors that initiated the southern Italian emigration were mostly economic and the
shortage of tillable land was also a problem. Difficult conditions characterized life
in southern Italy in those times. For centuries the entire Italian peninsula was divided
into feuding states, with foreign powers often ruling one or several states. In this
chaotic situation, the feudal system ruled the economic system, leaving the money
concentrated in the hands of a privileged few. The 1800's were marked by several bloody
uprisings that would eventually unify Italy in 1871, but the cost was the loss of over
a million lives. Southern Italy's lack of coal and iron ore severely hampered the growth
of industry. In the last half of the 1800's, deforestation, soil erosion and
overpopulation made a difficult situation even worse. Then, in the early 20th century,
several natural disasters rocked southern Italy: Mt. Vesuvius erupted burying an entire
town near Naples, Sicily's Mt. Etna erupted practically every year from 1900-1935, and
the Sicilian earthquake of 1908 and its resultant tidal wave that swept through the Strait
of Messina killed more than 100,000 people in the city of Messina alone.
Traditionally Italian men came to the United States before the rest of their family.
Most Italian immigrants never planned to stay in the US permanently. There is even a
special phrase that was coined for Italians: "Birds of Passage" since their intent was
to be migratory laborers. Even though about 75% of Italian immigrants were farmers in
Italy, they did not wish to farm in the US (as it implied a permanence that did not figure
in their plans). Instead, they headed for cities where labor was needed and wages were
relatively high. Many Italian men left their wives and children behind because they
expected to return (and many, many did). They worked seasonal and unskilled jobs building
railroads, streets, skyscrapers, and public transportation systems; mining coal; or
working in steel, shoe, and auto plants. Many of the women who followed the men to the
United States found work in the urban garment trades, canneries, and textile mills.
Immigrant children often left school before graduating to help their families earn money.
Life in Italian neighborhoods in the early 1900s revolved around family, church, and
small self-help insurance societies formed by villagers from a single Italian town. Other
boardinghouses, groceries, and saloons. In later years, political parties, the Catholic
Church, and labor unions often sponsored sports and social clubs.
Many Americans of northern European ancestry regarded early Italian immigrants as
undesirable foreigners who were “not quite white.” Some anti-immigrant activists
feared Italian American support for radical labor organizations, such as the Industrial
Workers of the World (IWW) and the Italian Socialist Federation. Others associated
Italian Americans with mysterious criminal organizations, such as the Mafia or the Black
Hand, a secret society devoted to blackmail and terrorism. They demanded that Italian
Americans abandon their distinctive ways in order to become 100 percent American. Fear
of Italians, along with other southern and Eastern European immigrants, led Congress
to restrict immigration in 1921 and again in 1924.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Italian immigrants gained U.S. citizenship in large numbers.
In New York City, the children of immigrants preferred to move from Manhattan to the
outlying boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island where they could
purchase a modest home. Many immigrants found higher-paying work in skilled trades, while
their American-born sons and daughters sought work in corporate offices. Italian
Americans also began to win election to prominent public offices. Such politicians as
New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia and New York congressman Vito Marcantonio relied
on the support of Italian American workers in vast industrial unions, including the
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) and the Amalgamated Clothing
Workers of America (ACWA).
Also during the 1920s and 1930s, the domination of Italy by fascist dictator Benito
Mussolini caused sharp tensions in Italian American communities. After the United States
entered World War II (1939-1945), the U.S. government, fearing that Japanese, German,
and Italian immigrants might betray their adopted country for their former homelands,
proceeded to classify even naturalized citizens as “enemy aliens.” The section below,
titled "Treatment of Italian Americans During World War II", describes the experiences
of Italian Americans during this infamous period of U.S. history as well as a memorial
that was displayed in Washington, D.C. in 1997. Although eager to feel pride in their
homeland, Italian Americans ultimately chose loyalty to the United States after it
entered World War II in 1941 and declared war on Italy. The large numbers of young Italian
American men who fought in World War II perceived themselves as totally American in the
postwar years.
Postwar prosperity and government programs to assist war veterans allowed large numbers
of Italian Americans to leave their old neighborhoods for the suburbs. By the 1960s the
earnings of Italian American men, which had lagged behind those of older immigrant groups,
had risen to the national average. Similarly, educational achievement among Italian
American women caught up with both Italian American men and other American women.
majority of Italian Americans are now well educated and middle class. Italian Americans
are still portrayed in negative ways, particularly in popular culture, which frequently
depicts them as urban gangsters. But they prefer to emphasize the upward mobility and
financial successes of their families, achieved over several generations of American
life. (Source: Encarta 2004; Contributed by: Donna Gabaccia, BA, MA, PhD.)
Una Storia Segreta (Italian for “A Secret Story” or “A Secret History”), a traveling
exhibit examining the United States government's treatment of Italian Americans during
World War II (1939-1945), went on display in Washington, D.C., on September 29, 1997.
The exhibit's organizers, members of the American Italian Historical Association's (AIHA)
Western Regional Chapter, hoped the exhibit would draw attention to a little-examined
aspect of American history.
The United States entered World War II in December 1941. Fearing that German, Italian,
and Japanese immigrants might retain their former loyalties, U.S. authorities imposed
restrictions on them, and in the case of Japanese Americans, interned even native-born
and naturalized citizens en masse. Italian Americans and German Americans affected by
these restrictions were generally resident aliens, legal immigrants who were not yet
U.S. citizens.
Beginning in January 1942, German, Italian, and Japanese resident aliens were required
to register with authorities and carry cards identifying them as “enemy aliens”;
forbidden to travel more than 8 km (5 mi) from their homes without permission; forced
to surrender “contraband” such as firearms, radios, cameras, and “signaling devices”
such as flashlights; and subjected to an 8 PM to 6 AM curfew on the West Coast. About
600,000 Italian Americans were classified as “enemy aliens,” the exhibit organizers
Some Italian American fishermen on the West Coast were forced to surrender their boats
for the duration of the war, the exhibit organizers said. Others, including the father
of baseball great Joe DiMaggio, were restricted from fishing in the Pacific Ocean. In
February 1942 all so-called enemy aliens—including some longtime U.S. residents—were
forced to evacuate “prohibited” zones, primarily coastal areas. These restrictions
applied even to those with relatives serving in the U.S. armed forces.
Some Italian Americans were arrested and detained. According to the exhibit's organizers,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested 1521 Italian American resident aliens
between December 1941 and June 1942. Many were quickly released, but about 250 spent
up to two years in internment camps in Oklahoma, Montana, Tennessee, and Texas.
Restrictions against most Italian Americans were lifted in October 1942. However, some
naturalized Italian Americans considered dangerous by the military were forced to
evacuate military zones (areas declared sensitive by military authorities) after October
1942 and were not allowed to return until Italy surrendered to Allied forces in September
These wartime experiences caused long-term changes in the Italian American community,
exhibit organizers said. Propaganda calling for all so-called enemy aliens to “Speak
American” led many Italian Americans to stop speaking their mother language. Others
Americanized their names or otherwise shied away from their heritage to avoid suspicion.
The number of Italian Americans interned during the war was significantly smaller than
the number of German Americans (more than 10,000) and Japanese Americans (more than
110,000). In addition, many German and Japanese Americans were detained for the duration
of the war, and many Japanese Americans permanently lost their property and businesses.
In 1988 then-President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which
apologized for the treatment of Japanese Americans and provided a $20,000 payment to
surviving internees. No compensation has ever been offered to German American or Italian
American internees.
Unit 6 Hispanic Americans
Hispanic Americans are Americans of Spanish-speaking descent. Many Hispanic Americans
are the descendants of Mexican people who lived in the Southwest when it became part
of the United States. Almost all other Hispanic Americans or their ancestors migrated
to the United States from Latin America. The three largest Hispanic groups in the United
States are Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans. As a group, Hispanic
Americans represent a mixture of several ethnic backgrounds, including European,
American Indian, and African.
1. Who are Hispanic Americans? What countries have they come from? Do you know any
cultural information of those countries?
2. How has the Mexican culture influenced on American culture? Give some examples.
3. Does American-Mexican war play an important role in Mexican-American’ immigration?
I. Hispanic Americans (1)
Hispanic Americans, also known as Latinos, residents of the United States who trace their
ancestry to countries in the western hemisphere where the Spanish language is spoken.
People of Hispanic background have lived in what is now the United States since the 17th
century. In 2000 the U.S. census counted 34.3 million Hispanic or Latino Americans. Most
experts think that an additional 2 to 3 million illegal Hispanic immigrants live in the
United States. Hispanic Americans are the fastest-growing minority group in the United
States. Experts predict that Hispanic Americans will number more than 50 million by the
year 2025.
The Hispanic American community is a mix of subgroups with roots in various countries
of Latin America, such as Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador,
Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama. Official U.S. government documents and
the English-speaking media typically use the term Hispanic when referring to the larger
community comprised of these varied national groups. Spanish-language radio and
television stations generally use the terms Hispano or Latino. Many Hispanic Americans
are uncomfortable with all of these broad categories and prefer more specific
designations, such as Cuban American or Mexican American.
Mexican Americans
Mexican Americans, numbering approximately 21.5 million, are the largest subgroup of
Hispanic Americans. Mexican Americans live primarily in the Southwestern United States,
especially in Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Los Angeles,
California, is often informally referred to as the capital city of the Hispanic Southwest.
Mexican American communities are also found in many large cities in other regions of
the country, such as New York City and Chicago, Illinois.
The history of the Mexican American community begins with the conclusion of the Mexican
War in 1848. As part of the treaty ending the war, Mexico ceded large portions of Mexican
territory in the Southwest to the United States. Mexicans living in these territories
were granted U.S. citizenship. Most contemporary Mexican Americans trace their roots
to the poor, uneducated campesinos (farmers) from rural Mexico who came to the United
States in search of jobs during the 20th century.
Mexican Americans are often ambivalent about Mexico. Although many feel a deep sense
of connection to Mexico, some still feel betrayed by the sale of the lands of their
ancestors to the United States in the 1840s. More recent Mexican immigrants often resent
the fact that Mexico cannot offer them an opportunity for a better life. Mexico’s economy
relies heavily on the income sent back home by illegal and legal workers in the United
States. Nonetheless, many Mexicans look down on Mexican Americans as people who have
abandoned their heritage. Mexico consistently ignores the cultural assets and minimizes
the political power of Mexican Americans, even though that power has become increasingly
decisive in Mexican internal politics. Many Mexican Americans feel they do not belong
in the United States or Mexico. Some Mexican Americans dream of seceding from the United
States and creating an autonomous, self-sufficient nation known as Aztlán in the
Puerto Ricans
The second largest subgroup of Hispanic Americans is Puerto Ricans. About 3.5 million
Puerto Ricans live in the United States, primarily in New York and New Jersey. Another
3.8 million live in Puerto Rico, a commonwealth associated with the United States.
Most Puerto Ricans living in the United States are former jíbaros (rural folk) who
migrated from the countryside of Puerto Rico in the 1960s. Because Puerto Rico is a U.S.
commonwealth and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, they are eligible for many federal
benefits not available to other groups. However, many people feel that welfare programs
have trapped many poor Puerto Ricans in a cycle of poverty. Others maintain that
discrimination in employment and education—not welfare—are the major forces that have
kept some Puerto Ricans in poverty.
Cuban Americans
Cuban Americans, numbering 1.2 million, constitute the third largest Hispanic American
group. The Cuban American community is concentrated in Florida, especially in the Miami
area. Most Cuban Americans arrived in the United States as political refugees following
the Cuban Revolution of 1959, which brought Communist dictator Fidel Castro to power.
These Cuban immigrants were mostly well-educated members of the middle and upper-middle
classes, with a partial knowledge of English and a clear sense of national identity.
Within the Hispanic community, Cuban Americans are considered intellectually
sophisticated, politically committed, and obsessed with the fate of their homeland. As
political refugees, many Cuban Americans received government assistance in the United
States. Partly because of these advantages, the Cuban American community has been
economically successful and politically influential. Cuban Americans also exert
considerable political and financial influence in Cuba. With its delicate diplomatic
ties to the United States, the Communist government of Cuba pays close attention to the
voice of the Cuban exile community in Florida.
Other Hispanic Americans
Since the 1970s, civil wars and economic turmoil in Latin America have brought
substantial numbers of emigrants from other countries. In El Salvador, conflict between
leftist guerrillas and the government drove many Salvadorans from their homes in the
1980s. About 500,000 Salvadorans immigrated to the United States during the 1980s. These
Salvadoran immigrants settled primarily in Washington, D.C., Florida, Massachusetts,
and California. Also in the 1980s, civil war in Nicaragua drove around 800,000
Nicaraguans to the United States. In the Dominican Republic, a shrinking job market and
political unrest resulted in a large immigration of Dominicans to the United States,
particularly to New York City. These overlapping waves of immigration have produced a
number of distinct Hispanic American communities, each struggling to establish a unique
identity in the United States.
Immigrants from South America, predominantly from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, are
concentrated in the Northeast. Colombian Americans, numbering 572,000 in 2000, are the
largest group of Hispanic Americans with roots in South America. Ecuadorian Americans
and Peruvian Americans numbered 330,000 and 271,000, respectively, in 2000.
II. Hispanic Americans (2)
Hispanic American Cultural Diversity
The cultural diversity of the Hispanic American community is reflected not only in the
mix of varied national groups, but in the cosmopolitan roots of individual Latin American
cultures. To varying degrees, Hispanic cultures have been influenced by Jewish, Muslim,
Catholic, Spanish, African, Asian, and Native American traditions. Many people from
Latin America are mestizos (people of mixed European and Native American ancestry) or
mulattoes (people of mixed African and European ancestry). Even within a single national
group, these disparate cultural and racial groups sometimes come into conflict.
Attempts to unify Hispanic Americans under a single banner have often created tensions
among the varied Hispanic American subgroups. Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, and
Puerto Ricans often have little in common. Some Hispanic Americans find it easier to
identify with other minorities rather than with members of other Hispanic groups. Cuban
Americans have often allied themselves politically with Jewish Americans. Puerto Ricans
have built similar alliances with African Americans.
Even apparent similarities sometimes mask profound differences. Although most Hispanics
speak Spanish, each subgroup adapts the pronunciation and slang of its homeland to its
unique circumstances in the United States. Likewise, while most Hispanic Americans are
members of the Roman Catholic Church, they have inherited different religious traditions
from their homelands. In the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean, Catholic
religious practices reflect strong African influences as a result of the slave trade
that took place in the region. In Central and South America, the most significant
influences on the Catholic Church are the religious traditions of pre-Colombian
civilizations of Native Americans (see Pre-Columbian Religions).
Hispanic groups also have varied tastes in sports, cuisine, and political beliefs. Soccer
is the favorite sport among Mexicans, El Salvadorans, and Nicaraguans, while Dominicans,
Puerto Ricans, and Cubans prefer baseball. Rice and beans are important ingredients in
most Latin American cuisines. However, corn is the staple of the Mexican diet, and
plantains and batatas (sweet potatoes) are the staple foods in Cuba and Puerto Rico.
In addition, while Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans tend to endorse liberal candidates
in national and state elections in the United States, Cuban Americans are known for their
strong conservative beliefs.
Hispanic American Identity
Despite these profound differences, other social forces contribute to the formation of
an increasingly unified Hispanic identity in the United States. Rather than provide
specialized services to each Hispanic group, the U.S. government has encouraged the
creation of a single Hispanic identity. American Spanish-language radio and television
stations work hard to create a unified Hispanic market for their advertisers. Hispanic
American politicians, attempting to find common ground in their diverse constituencies,
have forged political alliances among Hispanic groups. These attempts to create a single
Hispanic community have had positive results, but they have also led to an oversimplified
understanding of the complex variety of Hispanic groups in the United States.
The Chicano movement, a campaign to secure civil rights and foster cultural pride among
Mexican Americans, which flourished in the late 1960s and early 1970s, led to increased
political consciousness among Hispanic Americans of all backgrounds. This new awareness
encouraged various Hispanic subgroups to emphasize their historical and cultural
similarities in order to forge political alliances. The 1990 U.S. census, which counted
22.3 million Hispanic Americans, recognized the potential collective political power
that Hispanic Americans could wield as a group.
Current Debates
Many people have come to view Hispanic Americans not simply as another set of immigrants
destined to assimilate into mainstream American culture, but as a branch of Latin America
in the United States. Some Hispanic Americans even talk of a reconquista (reconquest)
of formerly Hispanic regions of the United States. They argue that Hispanic Americans
will never fully assimilate. Instead, they argue Hispanics will take control of the lost
territories and ultimately “Hispanicize” all of North America.
This rhetoric has been matched by the rise of anti-immigrant movements and anti-Hispanic
sentiments in many parts of the United States. In the 1980s and 1990s, crude propaganda
designed to create resentment against poor Spanish-speaking workers has become common
in political debates about U.S. immigration laws and bilingual education programs.
Illegal Hispanic immigrants in the United States have been portrayed as a threat to
national security. While increasing Hispanic influence in the United States is roundly
criticized, anti-immigrant groups usually ignore the powerful political, economic, and
military influence the United States exercises in Latin America. Many other immigrant
groups have faced this type of antagonism in the United States in the past. However,
as the Hispanic community in the United States has grown, Hispanic Americans have
increasingly found themselves at the center of debates about immigration reform.
In the long run, Hispanic influence is likely to profoundly change the predominantly
English-speaking culture of the United States. Spanish is already the second most widely
spoken language in the United States, and Hispanic influences are increasingly
noticeable in American foods, music, and the visual arts. As the nations of the western
hemisphere are increasingly linked within a global economy, the Hispanic world and the
United States are rapidly discovering that their cultural differences are less important
than their common interests and shared destiny.
III. Immigrants Shunning Idea of Assimilation
By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 25, 1998; Page A1
Maria Jacinto, with her husband, Aristeo, and one of their five children, speaks only
Spanish. "When my skin turns white and my hair turns blonde, then I'll be an American,"
she says.
(By William Branigin
– The Washington Post)
OMAHA – Night is falling on South Omaha, and Maria Jacinto is patting tortillas for
the evening meal in the kitchen of the small house she shares with her husband and five
children. Like many others in her neighborhood, where most of the residents are Mexican
immigrants, the Jacinto household mixes the old country with the new.
As Jacinto, who speaks only Spanish, stresses a need to maintain the family's Mexican
heritage, her eldest son, a
bilingual 11-year-old who
wears a San Francisco 49ers
jacket and has a paper route,
comes in and joins his brothers
and sisters in the living room
to watch "The Simpsons."
Jacinto became a U.S. citizen
last April, but she does not
feel like an American. In fact,
she seems resistant to the idea
of assimilating into U.S. society.
"I think I'm still a Mexican," she says. "When my skin turns white and my hair turns
blonde, then I'll be an American."
In many ways, the experiences of the Jacinto family are typical of the gradual process
of assimilation that has pulled generations of immigrants into the American mainstream.
That process is nothing new to Omaha, which drew waves of Czech, German and Irish
immigrants early this century.
But in the current immigration wave, something markedly different is happening here in
the middle of the great American "melting pot."
Not only are the demographics of the United States changing in profound and unprecedented
ways, but so too are the very notions of assimilation and the melting pot that have been
articles of faith in the American self-image for generations. E Pluribus Unum (From Many,
One) remains the national motto, but there no longer seems to be a consensus about what
that should mean.
There is a sense that, especially as immigrant populations reach a critical mass in many
communities, it is no longer the melting pot that is transforming them, but they who
are transforming American society.
American culture remains a powerful force – for better or worse – that influences people
both here and around the world in countless ways. But several factors have combined in
recent years to allow immigrants to resist, if they choose, the Americanization that
had once been considered irresistible.
In fact, the very concept of assimilation is being called into question as never before.
Some sociologists argue that the melting pot often means little more than "Anglo
conformity" and that assimilation is not always a positive experience – for either
society or the immigrants themselves. And with today's emphasis on diversity and
ethnicity, it has become easier than ever for immigrants to avoid the melting pot entirely.
Even the metaphor itself is changing, having fallen out of fashion completely with many
immigration advocacy and ethnic groups. They prefer such terms as the "salad bowl" and
the "mosaic," metaphors that convey more of a sense of separateness in describing this
nation of immigrants.
"It's difficult to adapt to the culture here," said Maria Jacinto, 32, who moved to the
United States 10 years ago with her husband, Aristeo Jacinto, 36. "In the Hispanic
tradition, the family comes first, not money. It's important for our children not to
be influenced too much by the gueros," she said, using a term that means "blondies" but
that she employs generally in reference to Americans. "I don't want my children to be
influenced by immoral things."
Over the blare of the television in the next room, she asked, "Not all families here
are like the Simpsons, are they?"
Among socially conservative families such as the Jacintos, who initially moved to
California from their village in Mexico's Guanajuato state, then migrated here in 1988
to find jobs in the meatpacking industry, bad influences are a constant concern. They
see their children assimilating, but often to the worst aspects of American culture.
Her concerns reflect some of the complexities and ambivalence that mark the assimilation
process these days. Immigrants such as the Jacintos are here to stay but remain wary
of their adoptive country. According to sociologists, they are right to be concerned.
"If assimilation is a learning process, it involves learning good things and bad things,"
said Ruben G. Rumbaut, a sociology professor at Michigan State University. "It doesn't
always lead to something better."
At work, not only in Omaha but in immigrant communities across the country, is a process
often referred to as "segmented" assimilation, in which immigrants follow different
paths to incorporation in U.S. society. These range from the classic American ideal of
blending into the vast middle class, to a "downward assimilation" into an adversarial
underclass, to a buffered integration into "immigrant enclaves." Sometimes, members of
the same family end up taking sharply divergent paths, especially children and their
The ambivalence of assimilation can cut both ways. Many native-born Americans also seem
to harbor mixed feelings about the process. As a nation, the United States increasingly
promotes diversity, but there are underlying concerns that the more emphasis there is
on the factors that set people apart, the more likely that society will end up divided.
With Hispanics, especially Mexicans, accounting for an increasing proportion of U.S.
population growth, it is this group, more than any other, that is redefining the melting
Hispanics now have overtaken blacks as the largest minority group in Nebraska and will
become the biggest minority in the country within the next seven years, according to
Census Bureau projections. The nation's 29 million Hispanics, the great majority of them
from Mexico, have thus become the main focus for questions about how the United States
today is assimilating immigrants, or how it is being transformed.
In many places, new Hispanic immigrants have tended to cluster in "niche" occupations,
live in segregated neighborhoods and worship in separate churches. In this behavior they
are much like previous groups of immigrants. But their heavy concentrations in certain
parts of the country, their relatively close proximity to their native lands and their
sheer numbers give this wave of immigrants an unprecedented potential to change the way
the melting pot traditionally has worked.
Never before have so many immigrants come from a single country – Mexico – or from
a single linguistic source-Spanish-speaking Latin America. Since 1970, more than half
of the estimated 20 million foreign-born people who have settled in the United States,
legally and illegally, have been Spanish speakers.
Besides sheer numbers, several factors combine to make this influx unprecedented in the
history of American immigration. This is the first time that such large numbers of people
are immigrating from a contiguous country. And since most have flowed into relatively
few states, congregating heavily in the American Southwest, Mexican Americans have the
capacity to develop much greater cohesion than previous immigrant groups. Today
Hispanics, mostly of Mexican origin, make up 31 percent of the population of California
and 28 percent of the population of Texas.
In effect, that allows Mexican Americans to "perpetuate themselves as a separate
community and even strengthen their sense of separateness if they chose to, or felt
compelled to," said David M. Kennedy, a professor of American history at Stanford
To be sure, assimilation today often follows the same pattern that it has for generations.
The children of immigrants, especially those who were born in the United States or come
here at a young age, tend to learn English quickly and adopt American habits. Often they
end up serving as translators for their parents. Schools exert an important assimilating
influence, as does America's consumer society.
But there are important differences in the way immigrants adapt these days, and the
influences on them can be double-edged. Gaps in income, education and poverty levels
between new immigrants and the native-born are widening, and many of the newcomers are
becoming stuck in dead-end jobs with little upward mobility.
'We Were Pretty Much Invisible'
Previous waves of immigrants also arrived unskilled and poorly educated. What has changed,
however, is the nature of the U.S. economy, which increasingly requires education and
skills to assure an upward path.
Although the children of these low-income, poorly educated immigrants may grow up fluent
in English, acquire more education than their parents and assimilate in other ways,
research shows that "they will lag well behind other students, particularly in college
attendance," said Georges Vernez, director of the Center for Research on Immigration
Policy at the RAND Corp.
"Today, for instance, native-born Hispanic youths are 30 percent less likely to go on
to college after high school and three times less likely to graduate from college than
non-Hispanic white students," he told a House hearing last month.
Nationally, Hispanic youths are the most likely to abandon the classroom. Their dropout
rate of 29.4 percent is more than double the rate for black Americans and four times
higher than the rate for non-Hispanic whites.
Yet the statistics also show that the dropout rate for second-generation Hispanic
students is higher than that for first generation youths, suggesting that assimilation
does not always work as intended.
Sociologist Rumbaut said his research has shown that the most disciplined,
hardest-working and respectful students "tend to be the most recently arrived." They
are the ones "who have not been here long enough to be Americanized into bad habits,
into a Beavis and Butthead perspective of the world."
Since the children of immigrants tend to adapt much faster than their parents, the result
is often tension and divisions within families. Immigrants who arrive as adults to escape
poverty tend to view their lives here as an improvement over what they left behind, but
their children often compare their circumstances to those of other Americans and find
themselves lacking. Some gravitate toward a growing gang culture that offers them an
identity and an outlet for their alienation, according to researchers.
In Omaha, police, teachers and social workers attribute rising youth gang activity in
part to an influx of Hispanic families from California. Ironically, many left California
precisely to escape a violent gang subculture there but ended up spreading the infection.
"A number of families who moved from L.A. brought children who were already involved
with gangs," said the Rev. Damian Zuerlein, the parish priest of the nearby Roman Catholic
church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, which caters to the community's growing Mexican
Omaha now has an estimated 1,800 "hard-core" gang members, police say. Two main competing
Hispanic gangs are believed to have several hundred members each.
And, as it is across the nation, the high school dropout rate among Hispanics is a growing
concern here. In the 1995-96 school year, the most recent for which statistics are
available, 12 percent of Hispanic students dropped out of Omaha public secondary schools,
double the rate for non-Hispanic whites. According to Mario Remijio, a teacher at South
High School here, many Hispanic teenagers drop out to get jobs under pressure from their
In many cases, argues University of Nebraska sociologist Lourdes Gouveia, the problem
is not a lack of assimilation to American culture, but too much of it.
"An attachment to one's home country, culture and language can be very positive" for
immigrant children in U.S. schools, contends Gouveia. These attachments "help maintain
a sense of identity and self-respect when the family drops in status," as often happens
when foreigners immigrate. As a result, the Venezuelan-born Gouveia said, citing studies
by Rumbaut and others, students who are the least "assimilated" often do better in school
than other immigrants and sometimes top even the native born.
On the other hand, some critics contend, the United States should not be abandoning a
concept – the Melting Pot – that has served the country well for generations, helping
to maintain unity through two world wars. They worry that the traditional U.S. commitment
to assimilation is breaking down from an incessant advance of "multiculturalism."
"On the whole, there is an American national identity that immigrants ought to be
encouraged to assimilate into," said John J. Miller, author of a new book on the issue.
For all the concerns, the recent wave of immigration has brought some notable benefits
to Omaha. The city is now home to about 20,000 Latinos, the vast majority of them
concentrated in South Omaha. By all accounts, the influx has revived that part of the
city. New businesses owned by Hispanics and other immigrants have sprouted up, lending
an air of vibrancy to South Omaha's main street.
"Ten years ago, this area was dying," said the Rev. Zuerlein. "Stores were closing, and
people were moving out."
The wave of immigration also has stirred new ethnic consciousness among longtime Latino
residents, notably the assimilated descendants of Mexicans who came to Nebraska in the
early part of this century to work on the railroad and harvest beets.
"When I was a kid, the Hispanics here all just about knew each other," said Virgil
Armendariz, a Mexican American businessman who grew up in Omaha. "Now there are hundreds
of families. ... Until recently, we were pretty much invisible."
The influx has helped revive long-forgotten Mexican customs, he said, such as the special
celebration of the quinceanera, or 15th birthday. "People who were born here are starting
to learn more about their culture," Armendariz said.
Next door to the Jacintos, Matt and Sharon Swanson are one of the few native-born families
left in the neighborhood. They agree that the immigrant influx has "revitalized" the
nearby main drag but say that gang activities, including drive-by shootings and
occasional murders, have become a big problem.
"I see a lack of respect for other people's property," said Mickey Dalton, 50, a friend
of the Swansons who lives nearby. The neighborhood is destined to turn even more Hispanic,
with little prospect for assimilation, he said.
"They're sticking to their own," Dalton said. "When the Czechs moved here, the big push
was to learn English. You don't see that so much now. A lot of them don't want to learn
At the Guadalupe church recreation hall, several of the young Mexican immigrants who
gather weekly say they want to learn the language but find it difficult because they
came here in their teens or early twenties and immediately entered a Spanish-speaking
milieu. Some say their biggest problems come from Mexican Americans, known as Chicanos,
who mock their attempts to speak English.
"I want to join the U.S. Army or Air Force, but because of the language, I can't," said
Jose Fernandez, a lean 22-year-old from Guadalajara who briefly attended high school
here before dropping out.
"When I'm around Chicanos, I feel ashamed to speak English," said Margaro Ponce, 23,
who came to Omaha two years ago to join relatives. "Instead of helping you, they make
fun of you," he said in Spanish.
Guillermina Becerra, 22, arrived nearly seven years ago and spent three years at South
High, where she took courses in English as a second language. But she made no American
friends and never became fluent. "When I went to other classes, I never spoke with
anyone," she said. "When I spoke English, I think some people were laughing."
Becerra has four brothers – one of them a U.S. citizen – and two sisters here but is
not a legal resident herself. She first entered the country with her sister-in-law's
green card. She plans to stay in the United States because of greater "opportunities"
here and hopes eventually to legalize her status and become a citizen.
But even if she does, she says, "I think I will still feel like a Mexican."
IV. Lila Downs
by Kerri Hikida
Whole Life Times, October 2003
The 2,000-mile Mexican border looms like the Great Wall to aspiring émigrés. While the
U.S. government creates immigration policies to make this wall ever more impenetrable,
people continue to risk their lives to come to America, traversing increasingly
treacherous terrain in search of a better life.
Though singer Lila Downs never had to enter the land of the free under such extreme
circumstance, the human toll of desperate illegal immigration is not lost on her. Downs
has spent much of her musical career looking to build bridges: between countries, between
musical genres, between Mexicans and Indians, and between competing sides of her own
bi-cultural identity.
The child of a Mixtec Indian mother and American father who endured a long-distance
marriage, Downs spent her childhood shuffling between homes in Minnesota and the Southern
Mexican state of Oaxaca. Her mixed bloodlines so perplexed her in her teen years that
at 16, she died her hair blonde for shame of her Indian blood.
Today, Downs is a woman who has found her power. She's earned a place in the world music
pantheon and she radiates strength of character, integrity and ethnic pride. On the 2001
Border recording, and her other two albums, the 2000 Tree of Life and 1999's La Sandunga
(all from Narada) Downs introduced a repertoire of indigenous songs in Mixtec, Zapotec,
Maya and Nahuatl Indian dialects. Traditional Mexican standards were in the mix as well,
drawing from genres such as rancheras (country songs) and boleros (romantic ballads).
Infusing the originals with jazz and blues elements and new vocal styling made them more
contemporary, and more Lila.
In her original material, Downs imparts social commentary on issues that touch her heart
— the plight of Latina workers and migrants, the questionable treatment of indigenous
Mexicans in their own country. Border, her most socially inspired work to date, was
dedicated to migrants who perished crossing the border.
"Never before, really, has there been such respect for, and attention to the musical
legacy of indigenous Mexico," said Betto Arcos, former musical director for KPFK who
now helps manage Downs' career. "It's the first time a singer of such recognition is
bringing attention to the plight of indigenous peoples in Mexico, the many different
indigenous cultures of Mexico, their languages, their vibrancy, their vitality. In
particular, she highlights the cultures where she comes from in Oaxaca, but she has
managed to also a fan base across not just Mexico, but the U.S. and Europe for people
who care about indigenous cultures and languages."
Downs agreed. "I think I am writing for people who have concerns about justice and freedom
and equality — and also spirituality and beauty and love. The variety of people listening
to our music is just tremendous — Latin, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Mexican American, Nordic
people, French, Spanish, African Americans, Chinese Americans... it really is the
Finding Her Rhythm
Downs' father, a cinematographer/painter of Scottish background, came to Mexico to make
a documentary about the blue-winged teal's annual migration from Canada to the Yucatan
Peninsula. He soon met Downs' mother, a Mixtec-Indian woman and singer in Mexico City.
As a child, Downs' mother introduced her to opera and Mexican music, while her father
was more likely to crank out John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Bob Dylan.
At the age of 16, Lila found herself fatherless. After his death, she began spending
all her time with the Oaxacan side of her family, rediscovering the rich history and
culture that were an important part of her early life but had been pushed away by
Downs studied opera and planned on becoming a professional opera soloist. But a wild
wind blew through, altering her course and sending her down another path — following
the Grateful Dead. It was a liberating experience for the young singer.
"The Grateful Dead was a tool through which I could be free, relax and let loose, let
my roots go black," she recalled. "It was about exploring and learning through life;
it was a rebirth for me."
Eventually becoming disenchanted with the Deadhead scene, she returned to singing and
hooked up with the man who became her husband — expatriate saxophone player Paul Cohen.
Together, they began to play small clubs in Oaxaca City, a Mexican cultural mecca. It
was there that she first crossed paths with Arcos, who was to play a huge role in making
her known in the U.S.
"I met Lila back in 1996 when she was doing three or four nights a week at a small club
in Oaxaca City," recalled Arcos. "She didn't have a record yet; she was just starting
out." Two years later they met again via telephone. Downs asked Arcos to help her find
a concert venue in Los Angeles.
With Downs still an unknown entity in America, Arcos was shut down left and right in
the L.A. club circuit. Finally, the now defunct Luna Park decided to take a chance.
The day before the show, Luna Park called asking to book an additional date. The Lila
Downs show had sold out, thanks to feature articles in the L.A. Times and La Opinion.
In 1999, Arcos recommended Downs to Judy Mitoma, director of the World Festival of Sacred
Music. Mitoma tapped Downs to play the Hollywood Bowl, where she earned rave reviews.
"That," said Arcos, "put her on the world map."
Now people sought Downs out. She sang in the film Frida and contributed five songs to
the soundtrack. This past March, she performed at the Academy Awards with Brazilian
superstar Caetano Veloso, bringing her increased notoriety in Mexico and the U.S. Sales
for Border rose dramatically, and Narada re-released Downs' first album La Sandunga on
Sept. 30 to satisfy her eager new fans. A new album is due in spring 2004, and Downs
gets more performance requests than she can fulfill.
Spirit of the Grandmother
Downs' appearance has been likened to Frida Kahlo's, and she is definitely a fan of the
Mexican painter. But as far as real influences go, Downs' own grandmother comes in first.
"My grandmother was a farmer who would tell me about the green serpent, Nine Winds (also
known as Queztlcoatl in its Aztec manifestation), who would come from the sky and bring
water. She was always so happy we just had a roof over our heads, and if we had a car,
that was enough. The ambition we have [for more] was kind of a sin in her mind."
Downs' grandmother also comes through sometimes in Downs' performances, which she says
have become like ritual/spiritual occasions. Downs is famous for putting her heart and
soul into her live shows — she received a standing ovation for her performance at the
World Festival of Sacred Music in 1999.
"I never considered myself a very religious person, but I can see my grandmother in myself
coming through. I've only found that through music. It's the moment when these people
are reaching out to really feel something through this tremendous thing that music is,
that is so much larger than any of us. I look at it like I'm only a conduit through which
this voice has to come out."
Where the Songs Begin
The first song Downs ever penned was a corrido inspired by a Mexican man who died trying
to cross the border from Mexico into the United States. Accompanied by guitar, corridos
are storytelling ballads about outlaws, heroes and anti-heroes played throughout Mexico.
Downs indulged her passion for corrido on her upcoming album as well. One haunting tune
recounts the loss of Digna Ochoa, a lawyer who was mysteriously found dead in her office
after fighting for Indian rights in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero.
"People investigating her death claim it was suicide, yet the bullet went first into
her leg and then her head, [making it seem] highly unlikely it was suicide," Downs said.
"So I wrote about this, and also about women who are being killed on the borders. It's
a really dark subject, yet I always find a way to bring light to it and somehow bring
the issues to people who are interested in them. Music has the power of bringing attention
to these things."
Another upcoming song, "Little Snake," is based on an Afro-mestizo song Downs heard in
the coastal area of Oaxaca. African slaves intermarried with Indian peoples there and
infused their musical influences into the mix, she said. In her interpretive style that
also respects tradition, Downs expanded the original song, adding her personal touch.
"The song says 'Little snake, little snake, please don't bite me...' I wrote several
lyrics and added to it: 'At the edge of the ocean I'm dancing, and Death is watching
me, but I'm rattling like a rattlesnake' — lyrics that are kind of funny and playful."
The Language of Art
The information age has made it difficult for remote Mexican villages to retain their
unique character. But while jeans and Adidas may be the international uniform, Downs
often wears clothing made from traditional textiles when performing on stage. She studied
weaving with a neighboring Oaxacan tribe, the Triqui, and their indigenous Mexican
weaving techniques influence and inform her art. Weaving is one way tribes maintain their
unique identity, Downs explained.
"I was very fortunate to study weaving with this group of women and learn about their
symbols, [which] date from pre-Columbian times. There are symbols like the flower of
corn, for example, or the legend of the rabbit or the moon. There are more modern patterns
as well, [that show] the roads coming in for the first time, or revolutionary men and
women with their guns. It's a kind of resistance [against] the national culture within
their community, through the textiles they wear.
"It really caught me about language and the power of art, and how much you can say or
resist [through art]. What I'm trying to do musically is the same. There are many living
languages in Mexico today. Many of the people who come here and work in the restaurants
and in the fields are speaking languages that go back thousands of years; they are
surviving, and they are Indian."
The metaphors used in the various tribal languages are quite beautiful and indicate a
respect for nature, Downs continued. Still, many poor communities who have come to the
U.S. to work may have lost that knowledge. For others, the old ways can get lost because
the striving for upward mobility through material goods has become more pervasive. A
"very curious thing, but it's happening all over the world," she lamented.
Despite her tendency toward social/political commentary in her songs, Downs declined
to articulate a stance on immigration, saying only, "I think there are companies that
could do a little bit better in paying more fairly." Clearly she is more comfortable
expressing herself through her songs.
Downs fervently hopes that her music makes a difference in the world.
"I live to make a ripple," she said. "I think it's part of our [purpose] as human beings
to leave a little sign, a little stone, a little grain of sand that proves we were here.
I hope our music makes people think."
V. NASA Names Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists National President
Jose Hernandez as Astronaut Candidate
NASA named Jose Hernandez, national president of The Society of Mexican American
Engineers and Scientists (MAES), as a member of the astronaut candidate class of 2004
at a ceremony held today at the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
in Chantilly, Virginia.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) May 8, 2004--NASA named Jose Hernandez, national president of
The Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES), as a member of the
astronaut candidate class of 2004 at a ceremony held today at the National Air and Space
Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
Hernandez is one of six mission specialists selected. The class also consists of two
pilots and three educators.
According to NASA, Hernandez and the remaining astronauts will pay a crucial role in
helping the agency reach their space exploration objectives: implement a sustained and
affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond; extend human
presence across the solar system with a human return to the Moon in preparation for human
exploration of Mars and other destinations; develop the innovative technologies,
knowledge and infrastructure to explore and support decisions about the destinations
for human exploration; and promote international and commercial participation in
explorations to further U.S. scientific, security and economic interests.
One of four children in a migrant farming family from Mexico, Hernandez, who didn't learn
English until he was 12 years old, spent much of his childhood on what he calls “the
California circuit,” traveling with his family from Mexico to southern California each
March then working northward to the Stockton area by November picking strawberries and
cucumbers at farms along the route. Then they would return to Mexico for Christmas and
start the cycle all over again in the spring.
After high school Hernandez attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, where
he studied electrical engineering. He was selected for a co-op position at the
prestigious Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, a U.S.
Department of Energy laboratory operated by the University of California. During his
college years Hernandez began his MAES career as a student member with his university
After he graduated from Pacific in 1985 with a degree in electrical engineering,
Hernandez was awarded a full scholarship to the graduate program at the University of
California in Santa Barbara, where he continued his engineering studies. He finished
the graduate program early and in 1987 accepted a full-time job with Lawrence Livermore
testing the physical properties of various construction and fabrication materials.
During this period, Hernandez became one of the first former MAES student members to
be elected to the society’s national board of directors. He served for several years,
then took a sabbatical to concentrate on his career goals.
While at Lawrence Livermore, Hernandez worked on signal and image processing
applications in radar imaging, computed tomography, and acoustic imaging. Later in his
career, Hernandez worked on developing quantitative x-ray film imaging analysis
techniques for the x-ray laser program. Hernandez applied these techniques in the medical
physics arena and co-developed the first full-field digital mammography imaging system.
This system has proven useful for detecting breast cancer at an earlier stage than present
film/screen mammography techniques. Hernandez has won recognition awards for his work
on this project. He has also worked in the international arena where he represented
Lawrence Livermore and the U.S. Department of Energy on Russian nuclear
non-proliferation issues.
He rejoined the MAES board in the late 1990s and continued his efforts to elevate the
organization to new levels. The board elected him as vice president in 2000. In 2002,
he was elected as national president of the society. The society awarded him its Medalla
de Oro, the highest honor MAES can bestow upon an individual, for his accomplishments.
Today, Hernandez works in the Materials and Processes Branch of the Engineering
Directorate, managing nearly 60 civil service and contractor employees who provide
technical materials analysis and scientific support for the Space Shuttle and
International Space Station missions. Hernandez’ team plays a key role in returning
the Shuttle to flight, developing repair-kit materials for the Shuttle orbiter’s
thermal protection system, including wing and tile components.
“I am gratified to see a young student leader come up through the ranks to the level
of achievement Jose has attained,” said Hernandez’ mentor and former MAES national
president Richard Martinez. “While I know that he has worked hard, I also know that
this organization we are so passionate about had a small part in helping him accomplish
About MAES:
MAES was founded in 1974 to increase the number of Mexican Americans and other Hispanics
in the technical and scientific fields. MAES helps to improve the perception of Mexican
Americans by projecting the positive image of its members and their accomplishments.
Members are able to develop their leadership, communication, management, and technical
skills. The annual International Symposium and Career Fair, next scheduled to be held
in Austin, Texas, is one opportunity for them to do so. MAES currently maintains its
headquarters in the Houston, Texas metropolitan area.
Unit 7
Native Americans
" This summer, I was one of approximately 350 Indian people--including Yanomanis,
Mapuches, Kunas, Quechuas, Caribs, Navajos, Hopis, Lummis, Lumbees, Osages, Inuits,
Crees, and Seminoles--from North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean who met
in Ecuador for the first ever intercontinental encuentro of American Indians. The theme
was "500 Years of Indigenous Resistance."
1. Tell some legends about Native Americans to your classmates.
2. Someone said Indian language would disappear in the near future, do you agree with
it? Why or why not?
3. If you had been an earlier European explorer, how would you have treated with the
ancient Indians?
Native Americans
Native Americans of North America, indigenous peoples of North America. Native Americans
had lived throughout the continent for thousands of years before Europeans began
exploring the “New World” in the 15th century.
Most scientists agree that the human history of North America began when the ancient
ancestors of modern Native Americans made their way across a land bridge that once spanned
the Bering Sea and connected northeastern Asia to North America. Scientists believe these
people first migrated to the Americas more than 10,000 years ago, before the end of the
last ice age (see Migration to the Americas). However, some Native Americans believe
their ancestors originated in the Americas, citing gaps in the archaeological record
and oral accounts of their origins that have been passed down through generations.
Native Americans excelled at using natural resources and adapting to the climates and
terrains in which they lived. Over thousands of years distinct culture areas developed
across North America. In the Northeast, for example, Native Americans used wood from
the forests to build houses, canoes, and tools. Dense populations in the Pacific
Northwest exploited the abundance of sea mammals and fish along the Pacific Coast. In
the deserts of the Southwest, Native Americans grew corn and built multilevel,
apartment-style dwellings from adobe, a sun-dried brick. In the Arctic, inhabitants
adapted remarkably well to the harsh environment, becoming accomplished fishers and
Among the several hundred Native American groups that settled across North America, there
existed, and still exists, many different ways of life and world views. Each group had
distinctive social and political systems, clothing styles, shelters, foods, art forms,
musical styles, languages, educational practices, and spiritual and philosophical
beliefs. Nevertheless, Native American cultures share certain traits that are common
to many indigenous peoples around the world, including strong ties to the land on which
they live.
. When European explorers and settlers began to arrive in the Americas in the 15th century,
Native Americans found themselves faced with a new set of challenges. Some Native
Americans learned to coexist with Europeans, setting up trade networks and adopting
European technologies. Many more faced generations of upheaval and disruption as
Europeans, and later Americans and Canadians, took Native American lands and tried to
destroy their ways of life. During the 20th century, however, Native American populations
and cultures experienced a resurgence. Today, Native Americans are working to reassert
more control over their governments, economies, and cultures.
The indigenous peoples of North America are known by many terms. Most tribal peoples
prefer to be identified by their tribal affiliation, such as Hopi, Onondaga, Mohawk,
or Cherokee. The most common collective terms are Native American or American Indian.
For many years, Indian was the most prevalent term. When Christopher Columbus and other
European explorers arrived in the Americas, they thought they were in Asia, which the
Spanish referred to as “the Indies.” They called the native peoples indios, as in the
people of the Indies, later translated to Indian. However, some scholars believe the
Europeans were not calling native peoples indios, but rather In Dios, meaning “Of God.”
The term Native American became popular in the United States in the 1960s, although some
people believe it is too broad because it can refer to anyone born in the Americas,
including Hawaiians and descendants of immigrants. In Canada, aboriginal people is a
commonly used collective term. It refers to Indians, Métis (people of mixed indigenous
and European ancestry), and Inuit. In the 1970s many Indians in Canada began calling
their bands First Nations. When referring to the original inhabitants of the United
States, this article uses Native Americans, American Indians, Indians, and native
peoples interchangeably. When referring to the original inhabitants of Canada, the
article generally uses aboriginal peoples, indigenous peoples, and native peoples.
Navajo (people)
Navajo (people), Native Americans of the Athapaskan language family and of the Southwest
culture area. The Navajo are one of the largest tribes in the United States. Their
homelands are in what is now northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southeastern
Utah, and southwestern Colorado. In the Navajo language their name is Diné or Dineh,
meaning “The People.”
The Navajo are closely related to the Apache; the ancestors of both peoples emigrated
from western Canada and settled in the Southwest sometime between the 13th and 16th
centuries. The Navajo lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers and carried out raids on the
village-dwelling agricultural Pueblo Indians. They first came into conflict with the
Spanish colonists in the 17th century and later with the Mexicans. From the Spanish they
obtained horses, sheep, and goats, which became a vital part of their economy. They
learned weaving and pottery making from the Pueblo Indians and silversmithing from the
In 1846 the Navajo nation made its first treaty with the U.S. government, but
disagreements with American troops led to hostilities by 1849. The tribe engaged in
sporadic warfare with the Americans until 1863. In that year U.S. forces under Kit Carson
waged an extended campaign against the Navajo, who were led by Manuelito and other war
chiefs. American troops destroyed Navajo homes and crops and confiscated their livestock,
eventually capturing or forcing the surrender of some 12,000 Navajo people. Captives
were sent on foot to a reservation at Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico. This forcible
deportation is known in Navajo history as the “Long Walk.”
On the reservation, the tribe suffered severe hardships from disease and crop failures
and faced hostility from Apache prisoners, also captured by U.S. troops. A new treaty
was signed in 1868, and the surviving Navajo were allowed to go back to a reservation
set aside in their former territory, where they were provided with sheep and cattle.
In return, the tribe agreed to live in peace with the American settlers. In 1884 the
reservation was extended to accommodate their increasing herds.
During the late 19th century the tribe prospered, the population doubled, and additional
reservation lands were added. Since these were generally poor farming lands, few attempts
were made by outsiders to encroach on the reservation. Greatly increased livestock
holdings presented serious problems of soil erosion and overgrazing. Eventually a
livestock-reduction plan was forced on the tribe by the U.S. government. During World
War II (1939-1945) many Navajo left the reservation to serve in the armed forces or work
in cities in war-related jobs. The Navajo Code Talkers became famous on the Pacific front,
sending communications based on their native language that the Japanese were unable to
The Navajo tribe was divided into more than 50 clans, and descent was traced through
the female line. Tribal members were required to marry outside their clan. The Navajo,
who arrived in the region as a nomadic and predatory people, came to build permanent
homes called hogans, cone-shaped houses constructed of logs and poles. The hogans were
covered with earth and bark and later built with six or eight sides from stone and adobe.
These dwellings had a smoke hole at the top and were entered through a short, covered
passage that faced east to greet the rising sun. An extended family occupied each hogan.
Originally the Navajo diet was that of nomadic hunter-gatherers who pursued deer and
smaller game, gathered wild plant foods, and carried out raids on farming peoples. As
the Navajo evolved under the influence of first the Pueblo Indians and then the Spanish,
they came also to be shepherds and farmers. Mutton and goat became staple foods, as did
corn, beans, squash, and some fruits from orchards.
Traditional Navajo religion included a large body of mythology relating to nature, with
gods who were believed to intervene in human affairs. The Navajo frequently invoked these
gods, making offerings to them; in ceremonial dances the gods were represented by painted
and masked men. Navajo belief-systems also included ghosts—supposed spirits of dead
ancestors, sometimes malevolent—and witches, people who practiced magic for personal
gain or to harm others.
Another Navajo ritual, typically a healing ritual, was that of sand painting, the
trickling of sand colored with minerals onto neutral-colored sand. Under the guidance
of a shaman, a sand painter would create a mosaic on the floor of a lodge at dawn. The
painter would use the five Navajo sacred colors—white, black, blue, red, and yellow—to
depict legendary beings and natural phenomena. At the end of the ceremony the work, a
kind of temporary altar, would be destroyed. By tradition, no sand painting would be
kept after sunset.
In the 2000 U.S. census about 269,000 people identified themselves as Navajo only; an
additional 29,000 people reported being part Navajo, making the tribe the second largest
in the United States. The Navajo population continues to grow. Their reservation lands,
which lie mostly in Arizona but also in New Mexico and Utah, total more than 6.5 million
hectares (16 million acres), making the Navajo reservation the largest in the United
States. Although modern housing is available on the reservation, many Navajo still build
and live in traditional hogans.
The modern Navajo economy is partly based on the sustenance provided by livestock and
employment in various jobs, a number of them related to tourism. The Navajo also make
pottery and baskets and are well known for their silver jewelry and wool blankets. By
the mid-20th century, oil production and the discovery of rich mineral deposits,
including uranium, on reservation lands had greatly enhanced their economy. Today the
Navajo have one of the highest tribal incomes in the United States, earning income from
oil and gas leases as well as from mineral and forest resources. However, exploitation
of natural resources has also caused some hardship by displacing people from their homes
and adding to the pollution of tribal lands.
III.What Does this Indian Symbol Mean?
Visitors to the Southwest are often intrigued by the variety and aesthetic appeal of
the design elements used in Native American arts and crafts. The designs on Indian pottery,
weavings, baskets and silver and stone jewelry are so intricate and carefully constructed,
it is inconceivable they are not configurations holding some deeper meaning, shaped from
a forgotten age, relics of an arcane language, or symbols of some old and secret religion.
In all cultures, symbols borrow from experience, vision, and religion and become
individualized through the creative process of the artist/symbol-maker. The designs used
in the Southwest are from varied sources and they have been adapted and used by divergent
tribes. Some have sifted in slowly as different groups arrived bringing their own
inventory of designs; others have arrived with new technologies; still others have
origins and, therefore, meanings, that will never be deciphered. The designs may be
decorative, symbolic or combinations of both. Meanings may change from tribe to tribe.
In one location a symbol may have meaning and in an adjacent tribe be used entirely as
a decorative element. In short, every variation is possible.
If a symbol is produced by one culture and interpreted by
another, its meaning is far more often obscured than
clarified. So it is with the symbols and designs of the
Indian people of the Southwest. Over the years, both Native
American designs (merely decorative forms) and symbols (a
sign representing an idea, a quality or an association) have
been subject to "interpretation" by non-Indian dealers and
traders. Often, these interpretations are explained in terms of Anglo-European concepts
that were nonexistent to the Native American. The result frequently bears little or no
relationship to the true meaning of the symbols.
Designs and symbols used in the Southwest actually have come from many places. Some design
elements emerge out of the nature of the craft. The warp and weft of baskets or blankets
produce a preponderance of geometrics, stars, swastikas and whirlwind designs. One of
the most controversial of Native American designs is the swastika.
While the swastika immediately brings to mind Nazi Germany, it is not only a native
Southwestern design, it can be called a native design almost anywhere in the world. It
is the result of basket weaving where the ends of a simple cross design are turned either
to the right or left, depending on the direction of the weaving, to form a swastika.
Its meanings are as diverse as its worldwide origins.
Other designs also have been introduced with the technology of a craft. For example,
a host of designs appear in metal dies which were derived from much older stamps used
to decorate leather.
These designs have been called by such fanciful
names as rattlesnake jaws, Thunderbird tracks or a
medicine man's eye. Others bear more prosaic names
such as fence, tipi, mountain range, hogan, sun's
rays, headdress or running water. However, in most
instances they are purely decorative and their
presence may be noted far back in history as elements
of cultures other than that of the Native American.
In the craft of silversmithing, the Thunderbird is used
lavishly on stamped jewelry. The Thunderbird came to the
Southwest via industrial dies furnished to Indian artists.
While it is a symbol of importance among the Plains Indians,
this immense bird is neither characterized by the Southwestern Indians, nor do their
myths offer explanations. Rather, the bird symbols of importance in the Southwest are
the giant Knife-wing of the Zuni or the vulture, Kwatoko, of the
Hopi. Nonetheless, the unknown individuals who supplied the dies
for the silver felt that the Thunderbird was a "good Indian design"
and so it appears on Southwestern jewelry and even on the beams
of the Great Hall in the Albuquerque International Airport.
The form of the silver naja, or pendant, at the end of the squash blossom necklace is
traceable to Moorish Spain and even farther back in time to a device used to ward off
the evil eye.
Earlier still, it was found as boar's tusks hanging point-to-point decorating a Roman
legionnaire's staff. In the same way, the squash blossom bead emerges from the
pomegranate blossoms of Spain.
Despite the multiple origins and mistaken interpretations of designs and symbols used
in the Southwest, it is possible to recognize the meanings of many representations used
in Native American works. The simplest of all representations is that which characterizes
some element of the environment (bird, man, flower, horse, etc.) and is
clearly distinguishable. Almost always it is used as a decorative device and nothing
more, although its form may vary from tribe to tribe.
These symbols are frequently seen on the pottery, weavings and jewelry made by Native
Several other symbols that arise from Native
American cultures have become unrecognizable in their new "interpretations" including
the butterfly.
The snake and lightning or lightning arrow are considered by the native Southwesterner
to be a single element as they are the same visual form. The snake does not symbolize
Lightning is used by Anglo-Europeans indoctrinated in Greek
mythology to denote swiftness, but among the Pueblo Indians snakes and lightning are
equated with and symbolize rain, hence, fertility. These bird signs are often listed
by traders as meaning "carefree or light-hearted," but the symbol is the macaw, a Zuni
symbol for summer.
This is but a glimpse of the rich inventory of Native American designs and symbols which
are an integral part of antique and contemporary arts and crafts of this area and, in
the form of petroglyphs throughout the Southwest, on the ancient rocks of this ancient
Beauty aside, wearing or presenting jewelry had many social, economic, political and
religious implications for the Native Americans of the 1600s in southern New England.
Jewelry was used to show connection with a particular group. Beads validated treaties
and were used to remember oral tradition, as well as for exchange and currency. There
were many ritual aspects of beads and pendants used in ceremonies of dance, curing and
Personal Aesthetics:
Native Americans in New England, especially young
women, enhanced their dress with beads and pendants.
Wampum beads were treasured possessions and elaborate
types and large amounts of jewelry were worn. Native
American women, however, were considered less vain than
European women. Besides jewelry, beads decorated
clothing or were inlaid into objects of wood for
aesthetic beauty. Wampum inlaid wooden items included
tomahawk handles, pendants, and native bread mixing
Group Identity:
Among many northeastern tribes, individuals acquired a spiritual totem at adolescence,
often a mammal, snake, bird, claw, tooth or other animal part which was henceforth carried
with that individual. Personal totems often coincided with those of a person’s family,
clan or society. Jewelry was a means for Native Americans to show they belonged to that
group. A male cat’s head wrapped in trade cloth was one such totem. Totems were used
in divination and to ensure opportunity. Native Americans wore beads and pendants to
show ingredients in their social lives, economic and political concerns, and in beliefs
of cosmology and religion.
Exchange and Currency:
In New England, wampum beads were part of an economy of
reciprocity and gift exchange. Reciprocal gift giving
cemented ties between Native Americans. Wampum beads and
pendants adorned high status men and young women of a tribe.
The similarity in design, and abundance of shell pendants,
at both coastal and inland areas attests to Native American
networks of regional trade.
With the volume of trade after European contact, eastern Native Americans traded wampum
inland to Wisconsin and the Dakotas, and as far south as Virginia. Using shell, glass
and metal beads, early colonists and Native Americans could barter for the products of
the other. European traders and politicians, using beads and trinkets, often exploited
gift exchange to gain Native American favor or lands. Wampum quickly evolved into a formal
currency. A fathom of white beads was worth 10 shillings and double that for purple beads.
The wampum embroidered clothing of King Philip was valued at twenty pounds. Metal coins
were scarce and wampum became currency for both colonists and Native Americans. Wampum
was even mass-produced by the Dutch, and remained in use until the American Revolution.
Native Americans in New England integrated beads and pendants into many of their
ceremonies. Beads and pendants of natural materials were often used in ritual expression
because of Native American esteem placed upon minerals and metals of the earth, and the
association of shells with water. Dance ceremonies celebrated the change in seasons,
harvest, births, marriages, or commemorated less fortunate events, and were often
accompanied by chanting. Native Americans took great pains in the preparation of their
appearance and accessories. Dances were often accompanied by throwing out wampum to
onlookers. Beads were often distributed and redistributed during Native American dance
Ceremonies of healing and curing often required the use of specific types of jewelry
or ornamentation. Shells of many animals, including turtles, were utilized in healing
ceremonies. Some New England Native American necklaces provided protection from
particular disorders. Face-painting using red, and hair ornaments of that color are also
associated with curing ceremonies. Jewelry worn and other personal objects used in
southern New England dance ritual were often relinquished or destroyed in sacrifice.
Rites of Passage:
Jewelry was worn or exchanged by Native Americans to indicate that individual had passed
through an important physical or social change. These transformations are called rites
of passage. Such a change was after a Native American woman had her first menses, when
she wore a garment which covers head and body for several months. After this time the
women may remove the veil and dress themselves with necklaces, belts, and wampum
headbands. Beads were also used in marriage rituals. Bridal presents, including wampum,
Dutch glass and other beads were given to a woman for bridal present, which if she accepts,
conceded to marry the man. Some bridal presents consisted of five to ten fathoms of wampum.
Beads were also incorporated into Native American funeral and mortuary customs in
southern New England. The deceased often wore necklaces, bracelets, rings, headband,
IV. The Paleo-Indians
- PALEO-INDIANS: SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT Arrival date uncertain to 6500 B. C.
The earliest arrivals and their physical and cultural descendants, collectively called
"Paleo-Indians" (meaning "ancient" Indians), appear to have occupied the Americas,
including the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, for 10,000 to perhaps
40,000 years – a period of time longer than that for all the succeeding cultures combined.
They left a minimal and fragmentary record of their lives. The search for evidence of
Paleo-Indians compares to a hunt for ghosts in a dense fog.
Probably throughout their history, the Paleo-Indians moved as nomadic bands across the
landscape in response to the rhythm of the seasons and the availability of resources.
Carrying their belongings on their backs, they traveled by foot in extended families
of perhaps two dozen individuals, including grandparents, descendants, in-laws and a
few children. Over time, bands scattered widely, throughout the Americas. They took
shelter where they could find it, sometimes in rocky depressions like Pendejo Cave. They
could have built rudimentary brush and skin shelters. Undoubtedly, they often slept in
the open. They clothed their bodies with animal skins and plant fibers. Some evidence
suggests that, like contemporary Asian and European cultures, the Paleo-Indians may have
sprinkled ground hematite – ochre-colored iron ore – over their dead before burial
as part of some unknown funereal ritual.
For thousands of years, they survived by foraging, possibly without even spear points
for hunting. They may have trapped or bludgeoned smaller game. Bands may have gathered
to drive big game herds over cliffs, killing many of the animals in a single event.
Opportunists, they preyed on newborn, crippled, wounded, sick and aging animals. They
appropriated fresh predatory animal kills. They harvested, processed and cooked edible
plant seeds, roots and fruits. They probably ate insects, including the larvae.
The Paleo-Indians made simple stone tools, using "flint knapping," or stone chipping,
techniques similar to those of ancient people in northeastern Siberia to shape raw flint
and chert into crude chopping, cutting, gouging, hammering and scraping tools. They
fashioned other crude tools, including pointed implements, from the bones of animals.
They used flat milling stones to process plant foods, grinding seeds, for example, into
flour. They made other tools and camp and personal gear from sources such as wood, plant
fibers, mammoth and mastodon tusks, large animal horns and intestines, but most such
artifacts have perished and disappeared over time.
At some point, maybe 12,000 or 15,000 years ago, the Paleo-Indians invented or borrowed
(possibly from eastern Siberian cultures) the revolutionary idea of using spears with
stone points in the hunt. Armed with tipped spears, the Paleo-Indians changed over time,
from primarily foragers into primarily big game hunters, preying on the Ice Age mastodons,
mammoths, long-horned bison, horses, camels and giant sloths. Simultaneously, they
raised the craft of flint knapping to a new level, producing some of the most beautifully
worked stone projectile points and tools in all of American prehistory. They often used
flint from stone quarries hundreds of miles distant, presumably having acquired the raw
flint or chert through trade. Spear points would become the Paleo-Indian big game hunting
cultures’ signature artifact.
Likely, hunters often laid in wait near a lake or a bog for quarry to come to water.
Seldom able to inflict a fatal first strike with spears, they would have used their
weapons to wound a big animal like a mastodon or a mammoth, and they would have tracked
and harried the failing animal, continuing to inflict wounds as opportunities arose until
they finally brought their quarry down. A hunter probably threw his spear as a projectile
or used it as a lance to drive it into an animal’s flesh. Conceivably, he used a device
called a throwing stick, or atlatl, to hurl his spear with greater propulsive force.
(We know with certainty that later prehistoric hunters used the atlatl.)
Dangerous business and hard work, killing a mastodon or a mammoth with a spear, but it
would have yielded a high profit: abundant meat, skin, ivory, bone, sinew, gut. Like
the historic Plains Indians who preyed on the modern buffalo, the Paleo-Indians wasted
little of a big game animal’s carcass.
The spear points labeled as "Clovis" and "Folsom" rank among the most well known of
Paleo-Indian artifacts. The Clovis points, approximately 2 _- to 5-inch long,
lanceolate-shaped, with a concave base and partially grooved, or "fluted," sides, were
first discovered, in association with Ice Age animals, at the famous Paleo-Indian
Blackwater Draw site in eastern New Mexico, a few miles south of the city of Clovis.
Possibly the oldest of the known Paleo-Indian spear tips, the 12,000- to 15,000-year-old
Clovis points have since been found not only throughout our western deserts but across
the northern hemisphere. Folsom points, similar to the Clovis points but generally
smaller and more exquisitely made, were first discovered, in association with Ice Age
bison bones, in northeast New Mexico, near the small community of Folsom. About 10,000
years old, Folsom points have been found most frequently on the Great Plains, but they
occur in our western deserts as well. My wife, working with an archaeological team out
of Fort Bliss, found a Folsom point on the eastern flank of the Franklin Mountains in
far west Texas some years ago.
Based on the spear points, the other artifacts, extinct big game associations, site
distributions and other evidence, archaeologists have postulated that the Paleo-Indian
bands wandered, not aimlessly over the landscape, but in annual circuits. Bands would
time their moves to capitalize on the seasonal availability of game and edible plants
and the need for winter shelter. Individuals owned little, no more than they could carry
in a move. Bands interacted with neighboring bands, hunting, trading, intermarrying,
gossiping. They maintained a broad, if slow, communications network as evidenced by the
continent-wide distribution of similar spear points. They became master naturalists as
a matter of survival, intimately acquainted with the seasons and the animal and plant
life of their environment. They buried their friends and relatives with love and care.
They changed slowly over thousands of years, like the Ice Age glaciers.
We may never be sure of when or how the Paleo-Indians came to the Americas or what routes
they followed across the continents, for example, into southwestern America and northern
Mexico. We can do little more than guess about such things as their beliefs, their
spirituality, their celebrations, their rituals, their medicines, their mournings,
their music, their dance, their band structures, their language, their family
relationships or their child rearing. Artifacts seldom speak clearly to those dimensions
of life. The Paleo-Indians, who finally faded from the American scene some 8000 to 9000
years ago, are likely to remain as elusive as shadows in the night in American
V. What Does Their Future Hold?
In an interview with Awake!, Cheyenne peace chief Lawrence Hart said that one of the
problems affecting Indians "is that we're faced with the forces of acculturation and
assimilation. For example, we are losing our language. At one time this was a deliberate
government policy. Great efforts were made to 'civilize' us through education. We were
sent to boarding schools and prohibited from speaking our native tongues." Sandra
Kinlacheeny recalls: "If I spoke Navajo at my boarding school, the teacher washed my
mouth out with soap!"
Chief Hart continues: "One encouraging factor lately is that there has been an awakening
by different tribes. They realize that their languages will become extinct unless an
effort is made to preserve them."
Only ten people remain who speak Karuk, a language of one of the California tribes. In
January 1996, Red Thunder Cloud (Carlos Westez), the last Indian who spoke the Catawba
language, died at the age of 76. He had had no one to speak to in that language for many
At the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in Arizona,
nearly everybody speaks Navajo or Hopi and English. Even non-Indian Witnesses are
learning the Navajo language. The Witnesses need to know Navajo in order to do their
Bible educational work, as many Navajo are proficient only in their own tongue. The Hopi
and Navajo languages are still very much alive, and the young people are being encouraged
to use them at school.
Native American Education
There are 29 Indian colleges in the United States, with 16,000 students. The first opened
in Arizona in 1968. "This is one of the most wonderful revolutions in Indian Country,
the right to educate on our own terms," said Dr. David Gipp, of the American Indian Higher
Education Committee. At the Sinte Gleska University, the Lakota language is a required
According to Ron McNeil (Hunkpapa Lakota), president of the American Indian College Fund,
unemployment figures for Native Americans range from 50 percent to 85 percent, and
Indians have the lowest life expectancy and the highest rates of diabetes, tuberculosis,
and alcoholism of any group in the United States. Better education is just one of the
measures that may help.
Sacred Lands
To many Native Americans, their ancestral lands are sacred. As White Thunder said to
a senator: "Our land here is the dearest thing on earth to us." When making treaties
and agreements, Indians often assumed that these were for the white man's use of their
land but not for outright possession and ownership of it. The Sioux Indian tribes lost
valuable land in the Black Hills of Dakota in the 1870's, when miners flooded in, looking
for gold. In 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the U.S. government to pay about $105
million in compensation to eight Sioux tribes. To date the tribes have refused to accept
the payment-they want their sacred land, the Black Hills of South Dakota, to be returned.
Many Sioux Indians are not pleased to see the faces of white presidents carved on Mount
Rushmore, in the Black Hills. On a nearby mountain, sculptors are creating an even bigger
carving. It is of Crazy Horse, the Oglala Sioux war leader. The face will be completed
by June 1998.
Today's Challenges
To survive in the modern world, Native Americans have had to adapt in various ways. Many
now have a good education and are college trained, with abilities that they can put to
good use in the tribal context. One example is soft-spoken Burton McKerchie, a Chippewa
from Michigan. He has filmed documentaries for the Public Broadcasting Service and now
works at a high school on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, coordinating college video
Harvard-educated tribal leader of the Oneida nation.
Arlene Young Hatfield, writing in the Navajo Times,
commented that the young Navajo do not have the
experiences or make the sacrifices that their parents and
grandparents did as they were growing up. She wrote:
"Because of [modern] conveniences they have not ever
gathered or chopped wood, hauled water, or tended sheep
like their ancestors. They do not contribute to our Typical Navajo hogan, made of
family's livelihood as children did long ago." She timber covered with earth
concludes: "It is impossible to escape the many social
problems that will inevitably influence our children. We cannot isolate our families,
or the reservation from the rest of the world, nor can we return to the life that our
forefathers had."
Therein lies the challenge for Native Americans-how to hold on to their unique tribal
traditions and values while adapting to the rapidly changing world outside.
Fighting Drugs and Alcohol
To this day, alcoholism ravages Native American society. Dr. Lorraine Lorch, who has
served the Hopi and Navajo population as a pediatrician and general practitioner for
12 years, said in an interview with Awake!: "Alcoholism is a severe problem for men and
women alike. Strong bodies fall victim to cirrhosis, accidental death, suicide, and
homicide. It is sad to see alcoholism take priority over children, spouse, and even God.
Laughter is changed to tears, gentleness to violence." She added: "Even some of the
ceremonies, once held sacred by the Navajo and the Hopi, are now at times profaned by
drunkenness and lewdness. Alcohol robs these beautiful people of their health, their
intelligence, their creativity, and their true personality."
Philmer Bluehouse, a peacemaker in the Justice Department of the Navajo nation, at Window
Rock, Arizona, euphemistically described the abuse of drugs and alcohol as
"self-medication." This abuse serves to drown the sorrows and to help one to escape the
harsh reality of a life without work and often without purpose.
However, many Native Americans have successfully fought the "demon" drink that was
introduced by the white man and have struggled to gain victory over drug addiction. Two
examples are Clyde and Henrietta Abrahamson, from the Spokane Indian Reservation in
Washington State. Clyde is of stocky build, with dark hair and eyes. He explained to
"We had grown up on the reservation most of our lives, and then we moved to the city
of Spokane to attend college. We did not care for our life-style, which involved alcohol
and drugs. This kind of life was all we knew. We grew up hating these two influences
because of the problems we had seen them cause in the family.
"Then we came into contact with Jehovah's Witnesses. We had never heard of them before
we went to the city. Our progress was slow. Perhaps it was because we did not really
trust people whom we did not know, especially white people. We had about three years
of hit-and-miss Bible studies. The hardest habit for me to quit was marijuana smoking.
I had smoked since I was 14 years old, and I was 25 before I tried to quit. I was high
most of my young adult life. In 1986, I read the article in the January 22 issue of Awake!
entitled "Everyone Else Smokes Pot-Why Shouldn't I?" It made me think how stupid smoking
pot is-especially after I read Proverbs 1:22, which says: 'How long will you
inexperienced ones keep loving inexperience, and how long must you ridiculers desire
for yourselves outright ridicule, and how long will you stupid ones keep hating
"I broke the habit, and in the spring of 1986, Henrietta and I were married. We were
baptized in November 1986. In 1993, I became an elder in the congregation. Both of our
daughters were baptized as Witnesses in 1994."
Are Casinos and Gambling an Answer?
In 1984 there was no Indian-run gambling in the United States. According to The Washington
Post, this year 200 tribes have 220 gambling operations in 24 states. Outstanding
exceptions are the Navajo and the Hopi, who have resisted the temptation so far. But
are casinos and bingo halls the pathway to prosperity and more employment for the
reservations? Philmer Bluehouse told Awake!: "Gambling is a two-edged sword. The
question is, Will it benefit more people than it harms?" One report states that Indian
casinos have created 140,000 jobs nationwide but points out that only 15 percent of these
are held by Indians.
Cheyenne chief Hart gave Awake! his opinion on how casinos and gambling affect the
reservations. He said: "My feelings are ambivalent. The only good thing is that it brings
jobs and income to the tribes. On the other hand, I've observed that a lot of the customers
are our own people. Some I know have got hooked on bingo, and they leave home early to
go there, even before the children come home from school. Then these become latchkey
children until their parents return from playing bingo.
"The major problem is that the families think that they are going to win and increase
their income. Generally they don't; they lose. I've seen them spend money that had been
set aside for groceries or for clothing for the children."
What Does the Future Hold?
Tom Bahti explains that there are two popular approaches when discussing the future of
the Southwestern tribes. "The first flatly predicts the imminent disappearance of native
cultures into the mainstream of American life. The second is more vague . . . It speaks
gently of the acculturative process, suggesting a thoughtful blending of 'the best of
the old with the best of the new,' a sort of golden cultural sunset in which the Indian
may remain quaint in his crafts, colorful in his religion and wise in his philosophy-but
still reasonable enough in his relations with us (the superior [white man's] culture)
to see things our way."
Bahti then asks a question. "Change is inevitable, but who will change and for what
purpose? . . . We [the white men] have a disturbing habit of regarding all other peoples
as merely undeveloped Americans. We assume they must be dissatisfied with their way of
life and anxious to live and think as we do."
He continues: "One thing is certain-the story of the American Indian is not yet finished,
but how it will end or if it will end remains to be seen. There is still time, perhaps,
to begin to think of our remaining Indian communities as valuable cultural resources
rather than simply as perplexing social problems."
Life in a New World of Harmony and Justice
From the Bible's viewpoint, Jehovah's Witnesses know what the future can be for Native
Americans and for people of all nations, tribes, and languages. Jehovah God has promised
to create "new heavens and a new earth."-Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1,
3, 4.
This promise does not mean a new planet. As Native Americans know only too well, this
earth is a jewel when respected and treated properly. Rather, Bible prophecy indicates
a new heavenly rulership to replace mankind's exploitative governments. The earth will
be transformed into a paradise with restored forests, plains, rivers, and wildlife. All
people will share unselfishly in the stewardship of the land. Exploitation and greed
will prevail no more. There will be an abundance of good food and upbuilding activities.
And with the resurrection of the dead, all the injustices of the past will be annulled.
Yes, even the Anasazi (Navajo for "ancient ones"), the ancestors of many of the Pueblo
Indians, who reside in Arizona and New Mexico, will return to have the opportunity of
life everlasting here on a restored earth. Also, those leaders famous in Indian
history-Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Tecumseh, Manuelito, Chiefs Joseph and
Seattle-and many others may return in that promised resurrection. (John 5:28, 29; Acts
24:15) What a wonderful prospect God's promises offer for them and for all who serve
him now!
Unit 8 Asian Americans
"The fastest growing ethnic and nationality groups in the United States" are
Asian community groups...
1. Do you know any experience about your friends who have immigrated to the
U.S.A ?
2. Do you know some outstanding Asian Americans? Who are they?
As recent books and newspaper and magazines articles have pointed out, elements
of Asian culture seem are becoming more and more mainstream every day. As
Olivia Barker’s article notes, McDonalds’ Happy Meals now come with Hello Kitty
toys, Levi’s uses karaoke to sell jeans, Budweiser modifies its ’’Whasssuuup?!’’
campaign into ’’Wasssaaabi!,’’ a Mountain Dew commercial does a spoof of
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and of course, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
itself wins four Oscars and becomes the highest-grossing foreign film ever in the
If you look closer, you also see that Chinese takeout restaurants in almost every city
in the U.S., even in the smallest remote towns. Hip bars, cafes, and restaurants in
major metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and
Seattle are offering the latest Asian-influenced creations -- Tazo Chai tea, wasabi
mashed potatoes, boba drinks, and new ’’fusion’’ dishes that combine recipes
from different Asian countries into one, served
with an upscale American style.
emergence and growing popularity of Asian and
Asian American personalities who are making it
big. For example, actors and actresses such as
Rick Yune, Nicole Bilderback, Kelly Hu, and Lucy
Liu are in high demand right now. Baseball
players from Asia, like the Seattle Mariners ’
former American League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Ichiro Suzuki,
and most recently, Yao Ming in the NBA, also are international media sensations,
following in the recent footsteps of Kazuhiro Sasaki, Chan Ho Park, and Hideo Nomo.
In addition, many athletes (and non-athletes) sport kanji tattoos that are quickly
becoming another fashion trend.
Further, feng shui is increasingly being used in planning new buildings everywhere
and even for weddings. Zen Buddhism is still considered chic and cool. Acupuncture
is now covered by most health insurance plans. The high-performance compact car
subculture popularized by young Asian Americans in southern California, otherwise
known as the ’’import scene,’’ has led to the release of the big-budget and
heavily-promoted movie The Fast and the Furious.
Multimedia creations from or inspired by Asia are the latest rage among kids -Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Nintendo, Sega, Playstation, and Final
Fantasy video games, to name just a few. Newsweek even published an article
describing how ’’Asian Guys are on a Roll,’’ suggesting that we are the newest ’’
trophy boyfriends.’’ In short, things that are Asian seem to be quite ’’hot’’
right now. What’s going on here?
On the one hand, many Asian Americans welcome this influx and mainstream
integration of Asian American cultural elements as long-overdue and inevitable.
They point out that it was only a matter of time before the rest of American society
noticed that Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial/ethnic minority group
and that in many of the major metropolitan areas in the U.S., Asian Americans are
10% or more of the population.
They note that Asian Americans have left their mark on the rest of American culture
for a while. It’s only now that the different elements are being noticed, publicized,
and associated with each other. At the least they argue, this promotes more
interaction and familiarity with Asian American culture and a greater understanding
of Asian American history.
On the other hand, many other Asian Americans are more skeptical and even cynical
of this ’’Asianization’’ of American culture. They point out that even with the
growing popularity of Asian cultural elements, in many ways Asian Americans are
still the targets of prejudice and discrimination. They also note that the popularity of
some of these cultural elements can even reinforce stereotypes. For example, with
the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and other martial arts movies
starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li for example, many non-Asians may assume that all
Asians know martial arts.
Further, Asian American critics also argue that
while there are still plenty of shortcomings when it
comes to the representation of Asian things or
people. For example, a coalition of civil rights
groups recently pointed out that the four major
television networks overwhelming feature White
actors and actresses on their shows and rarely cast
racial/ethnic minorities in prominent roles. There
are still calls to boycott networks that continuously
fail to hire more minority actors and actresses.
Also, many roles that feature Asian Americans conform to old offensive stereotypes
that force actors and actresses to play prostitutes, gang members, or for them to
fake an ’’Asian’’ accent or learn martial arts. In other words, they’re supposed
to conform to America’s superficial stereotypes of how Asians are ’’supposed’’
to look, sound, and act. This ’’exoticization’’ and ’’orientalism’’ does nothing
to promote a balanced and fair picture of what Asian American culture is really
As with everything else in life, there needs to be a balance between promoting Asian
culture just for the sake of increased exposure and popularity and on the other,
making sure that it’s completely authentic and acceptable to us. These things don’
t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, many times they exist quite nicely together
-- you just have to look a little deeper.
Copyright © 2001- 2004 by C.N. Le. All rights reserved. Suggested reference: Le,
C.N. 2004. ’’Asian Cultural Icons -- Hot or Not?’’ Asian-Nation: The Landscape
of Asian America. <> (August 13,
II. Asian Sports Stars & Athletes
In recent years, we’ve seen the emergence of several Asian American athletes in
many professional sports. These athletes have had to overcome not only their
opponents on their respective playing fields but also the perception that Asians
Americans aren’t real athletes or that they really aren’t American athletes. As part
of ESPN’s commemoration of May as APA Heritage Month, the following is an article
by Prof. Richard Lapchick of the University of Central Florida that ponders these
questions about what it means to be an Asian American athlete.
Discussions about race and sport in America long have been mostly a
black-and-white issue. That is, about the convergence of African-Americans and
Caucasians on the field of play. Toward the end of the 20th Century, the discussion
broadened to include Latinos. But as we begin Asian Pacific American Heritage
Month, the nation’s fastest growing population group continues to lag far behind as
participants in sport.
According to Census 2000, there are 10.2 million Asian Americans in the United
States, a number that is anticipated to grow significantly in the years ahead. Yet ask
average sports fans to name an Asian American athlete and most would struggle to
rattle off but a handful of familiar names. Truth is, there aren’t many Asian
Americans playing sports today, whether it is on the youth level or in the
professional arena. Neither are Asians involved in running sports, save for
Nintendo’s ownership of the Seattle Mariners.
Unlike many other ethnic and racial groups that
have turned to sports as a way to break into
mainstream America and break out of the
cycles of poverty, Asian Americans do not look
upon sports as a road to reach social, economic
or educational goals. As recent census data
household income and a higher graduation rate,
both on the high school and college level, than
whites. ’’Asian Americans put huge value on
education,’’ said Yun-Oh Whang, a professor
of sports marketing at the University of Central Florida and a native Korean. ’’
Becoming a doctor or lawyer is the ultimate goal of many Asian American kids,
which is heavily imposed by their parents.’’
Asians are comprised of people from 27 different countries, each with its own
distinct culture, language, religion and economic system. Some have come to the
United States to flee war and oppression, including many from Vietnam, Laos and
Cambodia. Some, like many Asian Pacific Islanders, have come to escape poverty.
Many from these countries remain in poverty in the United States. But in general,
Asian immigrants come to America already highly educated and of middle- or
upper-class means. This is true of many Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indians and
Koreans, four of the six largest Asian American population groups. Consequently,
the desire to play sports to enter mainstream American life is not part of the fabric
of most Asian communities.
The desire to play and enjoy sports is there. Still, Asian Americans face as many
stereotypes on the field of play as they do off it. Whether coaches, players or fans,
the common misconception is that Asian Americans are physically inferior to whites,
African-Americans and Latinos. Smart, yes. Athletic, no. ’’It is common that
coaches and teachers at schools presume that an Asian American kid belongs in the
science lab, not on the football field,’’ Whang said. ’’This is why it is so important
that Asian American athletes have to rise to the top and show the general public that
Asian Americans can also achiece excellence in sports.’’
Sammy Lee was among the first to embrace and excel in both academics and
athletics. Though today he lacks the name recognition of Jackie Robinson or Roberto
Clemente, pioneers for African American and Latino athletes, respectively, Lee is
their Asian equivalent -- and then some. A year after earning his medical degree, he
became the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal, finishing first on the
10-meter diving platform at the 1948 London Games and again at the 1952 Helsinki
Games. Already a veteran of World War II, Lee served another tour of duty in Korea
in 1953, where he learned he had won the James E. Sullivan Award as America’s top
amateur athlete.
Only 5-feet, 2-inches tall, Lee overcame discrimination
to attain his goals. A Korean American whose appetite
for Olympic competition was first whet when he
attended the 1932 Los Angeles Games, he practiced
diving at the Los Angeles Swim Stadium and the
Brookside pool, where only whites could use the pool
every day but Wednesday. After Lee and other people
of color used it, the pool was drained and there was
fresh water for whites by Thursday morning.
’’My father told me to never, ever use you color as an
excuse,’’ Lee told ’’There were several
times I used to think I was being screwed, but I bit my
lip and kept my mouth shut. I used it as motivation. I wanted to show them that I
could be better than them, that I could be the best. So I became the one who tried
the most difficult dives.’’ In the years since his Olympic achievements, Lee said
he believes much has changed with regard to the perception of Asian Americans in
athletics. ’’Sixty years ago, they said you had to be Caucasian, slender and tall to
be a diver,’’ he said. ’’Now, 60 years later, they say you have to be Chinese.’’
Fledgling Asian American athletes now have a growing host of professional athletes,
whether Asian American or simply Asians playing in America, with whom they can
more closely identify. Those who followed Lee to open doors in other sports -- like
Michael Chang in tennis, Amy Chow in gymnastics, Kristy Yamaguchi in skating, Jim
Paek in hockey, Ichiro Suzuki in baseball, Dat Nguyen in football, and Tiger Woods
in golf -- make it easier for future generations to step into the athletic arena. Now
not everyone has to become a doctor or lawyer.
Only half of one percent of all Asian/Pacific Islander students were also athletes,
according to the 2001 NCAA Graduation Rates Report. In dramatic contrast, nearly
6 percent of all African American students were also athletes in college. Among
white students, 2.6 percent were also athletes. There is no hard data for youth
sports participation, but in cities where there are larger Asian American populations,
such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago, anecdotal evidence
suggests that Asian American children are now much more interested in sports since
they see adults who look like them on SportsCenter.
’’I think there is a significant number (of Asian American athletes) now, but there
will be many more in the future,’’ said Lee, who juggled his busy career as an ear
surgeon to help others pursue their own Olympic dreams. Among them was Greg
Louganis, whose legacy as an Olympic diver earned him a place alongside the most
recognizable Asian American athletes even today.
’’Who would have thought in my day that you could
make so much money as an athlete? Michelle Kwan
made $5.3 million, and she ’ s an Olympian, an
amateur,’’ Lee said. ’’When I made the Olympic
team, I had to quit my job as a locker room boy. And
I made only 70 cents an hour. There is so much
money out there now, you’ll see more’’ Asian
Americans playing sports in the years to come.
But the implications can be more far reaching than
seemingly insignificant results on the athletic field.
That Asian Americans are picking up golf clubs after
watching Tiger Woods and Se Ri Pak dominate as professionals, or are putting on
skates after watching Apolo Anton Ohno and Kwan compete as Olympians,
eventually their participation will lead to more integration of Asian Americans in
other aspects of American society. It is there where the lessons learned on the field
of play can have their greatest benefit.
As we all begin to cheer for the team, there will be the realization that it is just that
-- a team made up of people from America’s diverse society. Now Asian Americans
are part of that team. And sports can be the vehicle used to eliminate at least part
of the barrier that has historically alienated Asian Americans from the larger
American society.
Copyright © 2003 by Richard E. Lapchick and ESPN. Reprinted with permission of
the author. Suggested reference: Lapchick, Richard and ESPN. 2003. ’’Just Do It:
Asian American Athletes. ’ ’ Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America.
<> (August 13, 2004).
Richard E. Lapchick is the Chair of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program
at the University of Central Florida and is the author of 10 books, including
Smashing Barriers: Race and Sport in the New Millennium. He is also Director
Emeritus of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.
III. Women in Chinatown
"Life in America, my grandmother found, was indeed rugged and
By Connie Young Yu
Whereas immigration to the United States was liberating for
many European women, for Chinese women the experience
was often confining, grueling and volatile. Connie Young Yu
writes of the experiences of Chinese American women in "The
World of Our Grandmothers" from Making Waves: An Anthology of Writings By and
About Asian American Women.
Once in San Francisco Grandmother lived a life of confinement, as did her
mother-in-law before her. When she went out, even in Chinatown, she was ridiculed
for her bound feet. People called out mockingly to her, "Jhat!" meaning bound. She
tried to unbind her feet by soaking them every night and putting a heavy weight on
each foot. But she was already a grown woman, and her feet were permanently
stunted, the arches bent and the toes crippled. It was hard for her to stand for long
periods of time, and she frequently had to sit on the floor to do her chores. My
mother comments: "Tradition makes life so hard. My father traveled all over the
world. There were stamps all over his passport-London, Paris-and stickers all over
his suitcases, but his wife could not go into the street by herself."
Their first child was a girl, and on the morning of her month-old "red eggs and
ginger party" the earth shook 8.3 on the Richter scale. Everyone in San Francisco,
even Chinese women, poured out into the streets. My grandmother, babe in arms,
managed to get a ride to Golden Gate Park on a horse-drawn wagon. Two other
Chinese women who survived the earthquake recall the shock of suddenly being out
in the street milling with thousands of people. The elderly goldsmith in a dimly lit
Chinatown store had a twinkle in his eye when I asked him about the scene after the
quake. "We all stared at the women because we so seldom saw them in the
That devastating natural disaster forced some modernity on the San Francisco
Chinese community. Women had to adjust to the emergency and makeshift living
conditions and had to work right alongside the men. Life in America, my
grandmother found, was indeed rugged and unpredictable.
As the city began to rebuild itself, she proceeded to raise a large family, bearing four
more children. The only school in San Francisco admitting Chinese was the Oriental
school in Chinatown. But her husband felt, as did most men of his class, that the
only way his children could get a good education was for the family to return to
China. So they lived in China and my grandfather traveled back and forth to the
United States for his trade business. Then suddenly, at the age of forty-three, he
died of an illness on board a ship returning to China. After a long and painful
mourning, Grandmother decided to return to American with her brood of now seven
Although the children were quickly admitted to the country as US citizens, Yu's
grandmother was held at Angel Island. She had filariasis, a non-contagious, curable
ailment that health inspectors often used as an excuse to deport Asian immigrants.
Yu writes:
The year my grandmother was detained on Angel Island [1924], a law had just
taken effect that forbade all aliens ineligible for citizenship from landing in America.
This constituted a virtual ban on the immigration of all Chinese, including Chinese
wives of US citizens....
After fifteen months [of letter-writing by the attorney she hired] the case was finally
won. Grandmother was easily cured of filariasis and allowed-with nine months
probation-to join her children in San Francisco. The legal fees amounted to $782.50,
a fortune in those days.
In 1927 Dr. Frederick Lam in Hawaii, moved by the plight of Chinese families
deported from the islands because of the [filariasis], worked to convince federal
health officials that the disease was non-communicable. He used the case of Mrs.
Lee Yoke Suey, my grandmother, as a precedent for allowing an immigrant to land
with such an ailment and thus succeeded in breaking down a major barrier to Asian
My most vivid memory of Grandmother Lee is when she was in her seventies and
studying for citizenship. She had asked me to test her on the three branches of
government and how to pronounce them correctly. I was a sophomore in high
school and had entered the "What American Democracy Means to Me" speech
contest of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance. I looked directly at my
grandmother in the audience. She didn't smile, and afterwards, didn't comment on
my patriotic words. She had never told me about being on Angel Island or about her
friends losing their citizenship. It wasn't in the textbooks either. I may have thought
she wanted to be a citizen because her sons and sons-in-law had fought for this
country, and we lived in a land of freedom and opportunity, but my guess now is
that she wanted to avoid any possible confrontation-even at her age-with
immigration authorities. The bad laws had been repealed, but she wasn't taking any
From "The World of Our Grandmothers" by Connie Young Yu in Making Waves: An
Anthology of Writings By and About Asian American Women. Edited by Asian
Women United of California. Beacon Press, 1989, 38-39, and 39-41.
IV. The Second Generation of APAS
What are some of the biggest differences between second generation Asian
Americanization, and respect for the ’’old’’ way or traditions inevitably come
up in this discussion. The following is a reprint of an article written by Deborah Kong
for the Associated Press, originally titled ’ ’ New TV Show Targets Young
Second-Generation Asian Americans,’’ that touches on these issues and how they
in turn affect the development of the larger Asian American culture.
Sporting blue-streaked hair and a ripped pink mesh shirt, Jeannie Mai sat in the
conference room of a TV station that broadcasts mostly Asian-American programing
and confessed. She couldn’t relate to their ’’old school’’ Vietnamese news
program, even if her grandmother adored it. All eyes turned to Michael Sherman,
the station’s general manager, who stayed cool. ’’I’ve heard it many times,’’
he told the 24-year-old Mai.
Sherman’s facing a common dilemma in ethnic media: How to hold onto audiences
that include American-born children of immigrants - young people who speak
English and are at once thoroughly Asian and American. One answer may be ’’
Stir,’’ a new TV show that will be hosted by Mai and three other hip, energetic
young Asian-Americans.
’’I think there’s a little bit of anxiety
on the part of ethnic media right now,’’
said Jeff Yang, the show ’ s editorial
director. ’’People are trying to grope
for a way to remain relevant as their
changes. ’ ’
magazine-style show, is scheduled for
broadcast early next year, nationally by
the International Channel as well as on
KTSF, a San Francisco-area station. Shot in a bright, zippy style, the aim is to
provide entertaining, Asian-American spins on topics like sports, the gender divide
and the meaning of cool.
For the show’s co-producers -- the International Channel and KTSF, which devotes
most of its programming to Asian-language shows -- it marks the first foray into
Asian-Americans. And ’’Stir’’ is just one example of how broadcasters are trying
to entice young, second- and third-generation audiences. Spanish-language
network Telemundo recently added closed-caption English subtitles to two of its
popular soap operas.
Telemundo cable network Mun2 features music videos, game shows, extreme
sports and other programs in Spanglish, a blend of Spanish and English - and in
English alone. And Si TV, an English-language network for young Hispanic and
multicultural audiences, plans to start up early next year. Together, the efforts
represent a rush by broadcasters and advertisers to appeal to rapidly growing
groups of minority youth. For example, there are about 12.5 million Asians in the
United States, and more than a third are under 25, according to census data.
’’Generally speaking, Asian-Americans are higher-educated than the norm’’ and
have higher household incomes, said Jim Honiotes, the International Channel’s vice
president of marketing and communications. ’’They’re valuable eyeballs to be
catering to and no one else is doing it.’’ ’’Stir’’ is being built around four hosts
and two correspondents who span a range of ethnic backgrounds. Mai, a chic,
outspoken makeup artist, is Chinese and Vietnamese.
Chinese-American Brian Tong works at an Apple Computer store, shooting hoops
and singing karaoke in his spare time. ’’Obviously I’m a tech head, but I’m a
cool nerd,’’ the 24-year-old says. Sabrina Shimada is 18, half Japanese and half
German, and jokingly calls herself ’’the resident It Girl’’ who loves shopping and
dance clubs. Thirty-one-year-old Tony Wang is a Taiwan-born corporate attorney
who graduated from Harvard Law School and catches waves on the weekends.
During a recent editorial meeting at KTSF's offices just south of San Francisco, Yang
and the hosts bounced around story ideas, touching on the ephemeral nature of cool,
Asian rappers, Korean golfers, engineers and Internet babes, Asian tattoos and
Chinese restaurant workers. The show is striving to strike the right balance between
provocative and political, mainstream and Asian-American.
’’It’s not about identity politics,’’ Yang said. ’’It’s not going to be about
the embattled minority. This is about the empowered majority. ’ ’ Beyond
interviewing Asian women who model at import car shows (an idea for the gender
divide episode) or investigating ’’the ramen lifestyle’’ of budget-challenged
college students, the hosts also hope to act as a kind of mirror for their audience.
Through the International Channel, the show will reach about 12 million
’’I want to be a walking mike for everybody else, every other Asian-American that
lives here,’’ Mai said. Tong agrees: ’’We’re playing a huge role in how other
people might feel about their community, themselves and how they fit into this
whole world.’’ They’re also happy to be part of a show that will put more Asian
faces on TV. ’’There’s nothing else out there
for Asian-Americans,’’Shimada said. ’’Even
just normal sitcom shows, there's the Mexican
family, the Black family, the White family. The
Asian person is the friend that shows up twice
in the show.’’
All say they were a bit surprised when they first heard about KTSF's involvement. ’’
That’s the stuff that my grandmother would knock me upside the head to get me
to hush so she could listen to, and I’d be like, 'She’s watching that thing again,'’’
Mai said. ’’It never catered to me. I never understood it. ’’When I heard they
were making an English-speaking show, I was like, 'Hold up. OK, this is crazy. What
are they doing?'’’
Sherman said Asian-language programming will always be the station’s main focus.
But ’’Stir’’ is ’’part of our effort to stay ahead of the demographic tidal wave,’’
he said. ’’The one piece of the puzzle we always felt we were missing was the
English-language show. ’ ’ Noting NBC ’ s acquisition of Telemundo in 2001,
Sherman said it’s all part of the same trend, ’’ethnic media becoming kind of
mainstream in the U.S. just because of the demographic changes.’’
V. The First Asian American
Asians have been in the U.S. for a long time. The history of Asians in the U.S. is the
history of dreams, hard work, prejudice, discrimination, persistence, and triumph.
As presented in the excellent PBS documentary series Ancestors in the Americas,
the first Asians to come to the western hemisphere were Chinese Filipinos who
settled in Mexico. Eventually, Filipino sailors were the first to settle in the U.S.
around 1750 in what would later be Louisiana. Later around 1840, to make up for
the shortage of slaves from Africa, the British and Spanish brought over slaves or ’’
coolies’’ from China, India, and the Philippines to islands in the Caribbean, Peru,
Ecuador, and other countries in South America.
However, the first large-scale immigration of Asians into the U.S. didn’t happen
until 1848. Around that time and as you may remember from your history classes,
gold was discovered in America. Lured by tales and dreams of making it rich on ’’
Gold Mountain’’ (which became the Chinese nickname for California), The Gold
Rush was one of the pull factors that led many Chinese to come to the U.S. to find
their fortune and return home rich and wealthy.
Most of these early Chinese workers were from the Guangdong (also called Canton)
province in China. However, there were also push factors that drove many to want
to leave China. The most important factor was economic hardship due to the
growing British dominance over China, after Britain defeated China in the Opium
War of 1839-1842.
In addition to prospecting for gold in California, many Chinese also came as contract
laborers to Hawai’i to work in sugarcane plantations. While in California, Chinese
miners experienced their first taste of discrimination in the form of the Foreign Miner
Tax. This was supposed to be collected from every foreign miner but in reality, it
was only collected from the Chinese, despite the multitude of miners from European
countries there as well.
When some Chinese miners objected and refused to pay the unfair tax, they were
physically attacked and even murdered. Eventually, the Chinese tried to go to court
to demand justice and equal treatment but at the time, California’s laws prevented
Chinese immigrants from testifying against Whites in court. As a result, many
murders went unsolved as many murderers went free.
As portrayed in the excellent PBS documentary Becoming American - The Chinese
Experience, the Chinese also worked as small time merchants, gardeners,
domestics, laundry workers, farmers, and starting in 1865, as railroad workers on
the famous Transcontinental Railroad project. The project pitted the Union Pacific
(working westward from Nebraska) and the Central Pacific (working eastward from
Sacramento) against each other for each mile of railroad track laid.
At its peak, 9,000 to 12,000 Chinese worked for the Central Pacific in some of the
dirtiest and most dangerous jobs (different sources have different estimates on
exact numbers). Many sources claim that up to 1,000 Chinese died during the
project as a result of avalanches and explosive accidents as they carved their way
through the Sierra Mountains (other sources claim much lower numbers of
Even though the Chinese workers performed virtually all of the hardest, dirtiest, and
most dangerous jobs, they were only paid 60% of what European immigrant
workers got paid. The Chinese workers actually went on strike for a few days and
demanded that they get paid the same amount as the other ethnic groups. Officials
of the Central Pacific were able to end the strike and force the Chinese workers back
to work by cutting off their food supply and starving them into submission.
The project was completed on May 10, 1869 and a famous ceremony was staged
where the two railroad lines met in Promontory Point, Utah. You might have seen
the famous photograph were everybody posed in front of two train engines facing
each other. Although a handful of Chinese workers were allowed to participate in the
final ceremony and a small group were personally congratulated by Stanford Leland
and his partners who financed the project, perhaps not too shocking, the Chinese
workers were forbidden from appearing in the famous photograph of the ceremony,
even though without their work and their lives, the project may never have been
completed. Further, as Helen Zia points out in her excellent book Asian American
Dreams: The Emergence of an American People:
The speeches congratulated European immigrant workers for their labor but never
mentioned the Chinese. Instead, Chinese men were summarily fired and forced to
walk the long distance back to San Francisco -- forbidden to ride on the railroad they
After they returned to California, the Chinese
increasingly became the targets of racial attacks
and discriminatory legislation because their labor
was no longer needed and Whites began seeing
them as an economic threat. This anti-Chinese
movement, which was accompanied by numerous
famously at Rock Springs, Wyoming), culminated
with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This act
barred virtually all immigration from China and
prevented all Chinese already in the U.S. from
becoming U.S. citizens, even their American-born
children. For the first time in U.S. history, a specific
ethnic group was singled out and forbidden to enter the U.S.
Because they were forbidden from owning land, intermarrying with Whites, owning
homes, working in many occupations, getting an education, and living in certain
parts of the city or entire cities, the Chinese basically had no other choice but to
retreat into their own isolated communities as a matter of survival. These first
Chinatowns at least allowed them to make a living among themselves. This is where
the stereotypical image of Chinese restaurants and laundry shops, Japanese
gardeners and produce stands, and Korean grocery stores began.
The point is that these did not begin out of any natural or instinctual desire on the
part of Asian workers, but as a response to prejudice, exclusion, and institutional
discrimination -- a situation that still continues in many respects today. Nonetheless,
even in the face of this hostile anti-Chinese climate, Chinese Americans fought for
their not only their rights but also for their dignity and self-respect. Although they
were forbidden to become citizens and therefore to vote, they consistently
challenged their unequal treatment and unjust laws directed at them by filing
thousands of lawsuits at the local, state, and federal levels.
Even though much of their efforts would be unsuccessful, the actions demonstrated
that above all else, they wanted to become Americans and be treated just like any
other American. Rather than accepting the demeaning stereotype of them as
perpetual foreigners, Chinese Americans showed that they wanted to assimilate into
American society and contribute to its growth, prosperity, and culture.
Unit 9 Nationality and Population of Great
The story of early Britain has traditionally been told in terms of waves of invaders
displacing or annihilating their predecessors. Archaeology suggests that this picture
is fundamentally wrong. For over 10,000 years people have been moving into - and
out of - Britain, sometimes in substantial numbers, yet there has always been a basic
continuity of population.
1.Who were British peoples’ ancestors? Why did they move to Britain?
2. Would you like to visit Britain one day? Why?
3. Search some British legends through Internet, discuss them in your groups.
I. The Original Britons
by John Michell
England, about 10,000 B.C., was occupied by groups of nomadic people, each group
ranging over a particular region and living on the natural resources of its territory.
These people lived well and made so little impression upon the earth that what
chiefly remains from their time is the debris of their feasts. Feasting played a large
part in their lives. Following the necessary fast of early spring (correseonding
perhaps to our Lenten fasting), they began the yearly ritual journey around their
country. As nomadic people have always done, they took the accustomed routes
and stopped at familiar places. Some places were for gathering herbs or nuts,
others for hunting a particular game. At certain places other traveling groups were
regularly encountered, leading to ceremonies and exchanges of gifts which later
became festivals and markets.
Thus, from the very beginning of their history, the sacred places of a country
accumulate a wide variety of lore and custom. The paths they took, the places
where they stopped, and the locations of episodes on their journey form the sacred
geography of the nomads. Other places are scenes of mythical adventures, where a
divine ancestor did some heroic act which ever afterward has been commemorated
there. It was no doubt by a similar process that certain British landmarks first
became associated with the prototypes of
Arthur, Merlin, and other native heroes.
This picture of Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age life in Britain emphasizes its most
essential nature, the intensely spiritual relationship between people and landscape.
It shows how successfully the ancient people communicated with the local spirits of
the country and how well they were able to live as a result. Dr. Richard Muir
("Reading the Celtic Landscapes," 1985) gives detail to the picture:
As long as these hunting and fishing folk did not upset the natural balances, each
valley. strand and late basin could sustain a clan of hunter-gatherers which
migrated around an eternal circuit, harvesting each resource which the changing
seasons provided. There were salmon in the rivers, eggs to be gathered on the sea
cliffs, fish, seals and stranded whales along the coast and limpets on the rocks,
while the rich woodlands harboured wild cattle, deer and horses. fungi, fruit. roots
and shoots. To live well under the Mesolithic economy, one needed to have an
intense awareness and understanding of nature, know the habits and behaviour of
the intended prey and when each edible plant would release its fruits and where it
could be found.
All that survives of Mesolithic craftwork are the beautifully formed flint implements
known as microliths, which include saws and delicate arrowheads. These fine
objects were exchanged as gifts between tribes and have often been found far from
their original sources. The pattern of life at that time was closely in accord with the
pattern of human nature and with the requirements of human spirit. Every aspect of
life was celebrated. This was the innocent Golden Age yearned for by poets, the
Garden of Eden or lost paradise. People felt secure in their own country, a sacred
landscape inhabited by familiar spirits each of which was visited in the course of the
annual pilgrimage. Though it has left scarcely any physical mark upon the landscape,
that way of life laid the foundations of native culture, which rest in the sacred places
of the country. Certain spots, where the old British nomads gathered at the shrine of
some nature spirit, are now marked by cathedrals and churches. Many have
retained sacred and legendary associations from the old times. Thus the basic
pattern of the English landscape, still discernible beneath its modern accretions,
was laid down in times before settlement as a network of sacred centers with
pilgrimage paths between them.
In 2001, a national survey called the Census was carried out of the whole population
in Britain. This has the most recent and accurate figures possible on the number of
people from different ethnic groups.
92.15% of the population of Britain (more than nine out of every ten people) gave
their ethnic group as White British. This was higher in the North East, Wales and the
South West, where over 95% described themselves as White British. Taking
England separately, the percentage of people from minority ethnic groups has
grown from 6% to 9% since 1991.
Someone's ethnic group is not the same as where they were born. 87.4% of people
in England (and 97% of people living in Wales) were born in Britain.
% of UK
other details and notes
Indians make up 25.7% of Leicesters
Hamlets has the highest proportion
of Bangladeshis in
Wales, with 33.4%
Over half of Pakistanis live in the
West Midlands, Yorkshire and the
North West.
Other Asian
Thais, Sri Lankans, Malaysians etc
Black Caribbeans form 10% of the
population of the London boroughs
of Lewisham, Lambeth, Brent and
Other Black
About 10% of Southwark, Newham,
Lambeth and Hackney are Black
Hackney, Lambeth and Lewisham.
Chinese people form just over 2% of
Westminster, Barnet and in the City
of London.
The largest proportions of people of
mixed origin are in London, with the
exception of Nottingham, where 2%
of people are Mixed White and Black
Caribbean. This group has grown
since the 1991 census
In England and Wales only
The area with the highest proportion
White Irish
is the London borough of Brent (6.9
per cent of the population).
The area with the highest proportion
of this very mixed group (everyone
White Other
Kensington and Chelsea (25.3%).
Minority groups are not represented evenly across all age groups. People tend to
become immigrants when they are young adults, so until quite recently there were
not very many older black and Asian people. Since young adults are usually the ones
who have children, a higher proportion of children are black and Asian than, say,
people in their 40s.
Unlike any previous Census this one also asked people what their religion was. The
figures for England are shown in the table below, but the notes show that London
has a great religious variety that is really not typical of the rest of the country.
Hindu 1.1%
Notes about London
58% (76% in Havering)
8.5% in London overall, 36% in Tower Hamlets,
24% in Newham
4.1% (19.6% in Harrow)
Sikh 0.7%
8% of Hounslow and Ealing
Jewish 0.5%
2.1% (14.8% in Barnet)
Buddhist 0.3%
The district with the highest proportion of Sikhs is Slough. One person in seven of
the population of Leicester is Hindu. One person in nine of the population of
Hertsmere in Hertfordshire, is Jewish. Over one per cent of the population of
Cambridge is Buddhist.
Again, religion will not tell you much about someone's nationality. Most Jews in
Britain are British-born, and the same is true for most Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims of
school age.
A different survey (not the Census) tells us something about the religions of
different ethnic groups
Indian Pakistani Bangla-deshi Chinese White
Christian 69%
III. Population Characteristics
The majority of the people of the United Kingdom are descended from the many
peoples who invaded the islands in the two millennia before 1066 (the date of the
Norman invasion), including Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, and Scandinavians.
However, people of many other ethnic backgrounds have settled in the United
Kingdom over the centuries, including Jews; Chinese; central, eastern, and
southern Europeans; and, particularly since the 1950s, people from the Caribbean
and South Asia.
The United Kingdom is one of the most urbanized of the world's larger nations:
about 89 per cent of the population lives in cities and towns. The distribution of
population, notably in Great Britain, still largely mirrors the industrial history of the
island. About 40 per cent of Great Britain's population is concentrated in the seven
English conurbations that focus on the cities of London, Birmingham, Leeds,
Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, and Newcastle upon Tyne. All but London rose to
prominence as manufacturing, mining, or trade centres in the first century of
The concentration of two thirds of the Welsh population in the southern valleys, and
three quarters of Scotland's population in the central lowlands around Glasgow and
Edinburgh, has a similar origin. Most of these population centres are having to
adjust to the decline of the industries on which their economies were first built.
During the 20th century, southern, and particularly south-eastern, England has
reasserted its historical role as the focus of economic wealth and population growth
in the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom has a population of 59,647,790 (2001), giving an average
population density of about 244 people per sq km (633 people per sq mi), one of the
highest in Europe and the world. England has around 83 per cent of the United
Kingdom's total population and is its most densely populated part, with about 380
people per sq km (983 per sq mi). Scotland has just under 9 per cent of the
population and is the least densely populated part, with an average of 65 people per
sq km (168 per sq mi). Wales and Northern Ireland have almost 5 per cent and 3 per
cent each of the British population; their respective average population densities
are 141 and 119 people per sq km (366 and 309 per sq mi).
Population censuses have been held in the United Kingdom every decade since 1801;
the 1991 census was the first to include a question on ethnic origin. It showed that
more than 94 per cent of the population belonged to the “white” group. Of the 5.5
per cent who described themselves as belonging to another ethnic group, 1.6 per
cent were black, primarily Afro-Caribbean, 1.5 per cent Indian, just under 1 per cent
Pakistani, and 0.3 per cent each Bangladeshi and Chinese. Members of the minority
ethnic groups live predominantly in the main urban and industrial areas of England,
especially the South-East and the Midlands. The vast majority of the population,
including about half of the various ethnic minority groups, was born in the United
Kingdom. The 2001 census was held in April, with results not expected until 2002.
The capital, seat of government, and largest city of the United Kingdom is London
(population, 1996 estimate, 7,074,265). London is also the capital of England. The
capital of Scotland is Edinburgh (1996 estimate, 448,850), of Wales, Cardiff (1996
estimate, 315,040), and of Northern Ireland, Belfast (1996 estimate, 297,300).
Apart from Glasgow (1996 estimate, 616,430) in Scotland, all the other large cities
of the United Kingdom are in England. They include: Birmingham (1996 estimate,
1,020,589) at the heart of the Midlands industrial conurbation; Leeds (1996
estimate, 726,939), Sheffield (1996 estimate, 530,375), Manchester (1996
estimate, 430,818), and Bradford (1996 estimate, 483,422), all of which developed
as the focus of manufacturing and mining in the north of England; and the ports of
Liverpool (1996 estimate, 467,995) and Bristol (1996 estimate, 399,633).
Religious freedom in the United Kingdom is guaranteed by various laws passed
between the 17th and early 20th centuries. Religion has played a minimal role in
politics in Great Britain since the 18th century. However, in Northern Ireland religion
came to symbolize the political and cultural differences between the descendants of
the original Irish inhabitants and the descendants of the Scottish and English
settlers—which in the 1970s erupted into sectarian violence and terrorism (see
History section below, and Northern Island: History). The latter group, in a majority,
are overwhelmingly Protestant and in favour of remaining part of the United
Kingdom; the former are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic and the majority are in
favour of a united Ireland.
Most of the world's religions are represented in the United Kingdom, but it is still
predominantly a Christian nation, at least nominally. There are two established
Churches, the Church of England and the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian). About
47 per cent of people say they belong to the Anglican communion, represented
primarily by the Church of England, but also including the Church in Wales, the
Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Church of Ireland.
The decision by the 1992 General Synod of the Church of England to admit women
to ordination to the priesthood threatened for a while to split the Church. A
compromise was reached for congregations and priests opposed to the change, but
on the ordination of the first female priests in March 1994, 136 Anglican clerics
converted to Roman Catholicism; many more clerics and lay members have
converted since. The ordination of women was rejected by the Church in Wales in
1994, but approved by the Church of Scotland.
About 9 per cent of the British people are Roman Catholic, 4 per cent belong to one
of the Presbyterian Churches, and 1 per cent are Methodists. About 3 per cent of the
population is Muslim, and there are also large Hindu, Jewish, and Sikh communities;
Britain's Jewish population, numbering about 300,000, is the second-largest in
Europe. There are smaller communities of Jains, Zoroastrians, and Bahais. Islam
and evangelical Christianity are the fastest-growing faiths in the United Kingdom.
However, an increasing percentage of the population professes no religious faith,
and may be represented by bodies like the British Humanist Association and
National Secular Society.
IV. Culture and Art
Britain's rich cultural heritage and traditions are the main reasons why it has more
than 20 million overseas visitors each year. The attractions include the many
theatres, museums, art galleries, and historical buildings to be found in all parts of
the United Kingdom, as well as the numerous annual arts festivals and the
pageantry associated with the British royal family. The expansion of tourism,
combined with the collapse of many traditional economic activities, has helped
encourage the growth since the 1980s of the so-called “heritage” industry—seen in
the explosion of “living” museums illustrating Britain's rural and industrial past.
London has the greatest concentration of theatres, orchestras, and galleries, and is
also the main home of the print and broadcast media, and of the fashion, record,
film, and publishing industries—as such, it often seems to dominate modern British
culture. However, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the regions of England all
have vigorous cultural traditions that have contributed to and still enrich all aspects
of British life. The traditions and abilities of the various ethnic minorities are also
reflected in modern British culture, notably in music and literature, and are
celebrated in events like the annual Notting Hill Carnival in west London.
The traditional music, song, and dance of Scotland, much of it derived from the
country's Gaelic heritage, thrives in the ceilidh, the (bag)pipe band, and the
Highland games. In the contemporary arts, Scotland has noted museums, galleries,
and orchestras, and national ballet and opera companies. It also hosts the world's
premier arts festival, the annual Edinburgh International Festival; Britain's
second-largest arts festival, the Mayfest, is held in Glasgow. The choral and bardic
traditions of Wales are seen most notably in the country's male-voice choirs and in
the eisteddfod. These annual festivals celebrating Welsh music, poetry, and
customs are held throughout Wales, culminating in the Royal National Eisteddfod,
which has developed into an international festival of the arts. Cardiff is home to the
Welsh National Opera, one of Britain's leading symphony orchestras, and several
museums. In Northern Ireland the ancient Celtic traditions of the whole island
coexist with those of the descendants of the English and Scottish settlers. Opera
Northern Ireland, the Ulster Symphony Orchestra, and the national Ulster Museum
are based in Belfast.
In England, ancient folk traditions are maintained in all parts of the country. Many
are unique to particular areas; some, like the morris dance, are more widespread.
All English cities and many towns have art galleries and museums. Many contain
notable collections. The leading London museums and galleries include the British
Museum, the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Courtauld
Institute, the Tate Gallery, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum.
Those outside the capital include the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford; the Fitzwilliam
Museum in Cambridge; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; the Tate Galleries in
Liverpool and St Ives; the Museum of Photography, Film, and Television in Bradford;
and the National Railway Museum in York. The Jorvik Viking Centre, also in York,
and Eureka! in Halifax, the first museum designed specifically for children, are two
of the best-known examples of modern theme museums. In 2001 an environmental
tourist attraction, the Eden Project, was opened near St Austell in Cornwall. The
many notable English theatres, orchestras, arts festivals, and ballet and opera
companies are discussed in The Performing Arts section below.
British society is overwhelmingly urban, but it has retained distinct links with its
rural past—reflected in the popularity of gardening, and in the working-class
tradition of growing one's own vegetables on allotments. Sport is important in
Britain, and the British originated or developed the modern forms and rules of a
number of sports—notably football, rugby, cricket, tennis, polo, horse racing, field
hockey, and croquet. Angling is the most popular British sport or pastime, attracting
more active participants than football.
For more information on the culture and traditions of the United Kingdom see: the
Culture sections of the articles on England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales;
the individual entries for the counties of England and Northern Ireland, and the
unitary authorities of Scotland and Wales; and Irish Dancing; London; Mummers'
Play; National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh; National Portrait Gallery; Punch and
Judy; Wallace Collection; Scottish Dancing. Additionally, see individual entries for
Britain's football teams and first-class cricket counties.
For the development and present state of literature in the United Kingdom see:
Anglo-Welsh Literature; Cornish Literature; Drama and Dramatic Arts; English
Literature; Gaelic Literature; Irish Literature; Scottish Literature; Welsh Literature.
The countries that make up the United Kingdom have long artistic traditions.
Ornamentation, often influenced by early Scandinavian woodcarvings, was a
prominent aspect of the earliest visual art in Britain. After Christianization, painting
was almost exclusively limited to illuminated manuscripts; Northern Ireland shared
in the great flowering of Celtic Christian art in Ireland at this time. There was also a
vigorous tradition of metalwork and sculpture, the latter expressed in stone crosses,
notably in Northumbria and south-western Scotland. From the 12th to the 16th
centuries the Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals of England were the outstanding
products of British art. In the 17th and 18th centuries architects such as Inigo Jones
and Sir Christopher Wren introduced Renaissance and Baroque architecture to
British art, like British architecture, was strongly influenced by developments in
continental Europe. Before the 18th century the most noted artists who produced
paintings in England were foreigners, such as the German painter Hans Holbein the
Younger in the 16th century and the Flemish painter Sir Anthony van Dyck in the
17th century. In the 18th century a distinctive British style began to emerge,
notably with the work of portrait painters such as William Hogarth, Sir Joshua
Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, and George Romney in England, and Sir Henry
Raeburn in Scotland. Gainsborough, together with the East Anglian painter John
Crome and the Welsh painter Richard Wilson, also played an important part in the
development of one of the most characteristic aspects of British painting, the
During the 18th century there was also the emergence of distinctive English styles
in furniture and ceramics, epitomized by the work of Thomas Chippendale, Thomas
Sheraton, and Josiah Wedgwood. During the same period, the naturalistic style of
landscape gardener Capability Brown, which came to be called the “English style”,
was copied throughout Europe.
The early part of the 19th century was noted for the work of the two great British
landscape painters, John Constable and J. M. W. Turner. In 1848, in response to the
dull painting that had come to dominate British art in the mid-1800s, the
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was formed, taking its inspiration from medieval and
early Renaissance art. Its leaders included painters William Holman Hunt, Dante
Gabriel Rossetti, and Sir John Everett Millais. Similar medieval influences were seen
in the applied arts, notably in the work of William Morris, whose textile and
wallpaper designs are still popular. The Arts and Crafts Movement which Morris
founded in 1861 was the principal inspiration of the Art Nouveau movement of the
turn of the century. Scotland produced some of the leading exponents of Art
Nouveau through the Glasgow School. Its leaders included architects and designers
Arthur H. Mackmurdo and Charles Rennie Mackintosh; the Glasgow School of Art,
designed by Mackintosh, is one of the most important examples of the style.
The 20th century is notable for a move away from naturalism towards abstraction,
for the increasing internationalization of British art, and for the resurgence of
sculpture. Sir Jacob Epstein, Dame Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and, more
recently, Dame Elisabeth Frink are among the British sculptors who achieved
international reputations. British painters who came to prominence before World
War II include Paul Nash, Sir Stanley Spencer, and Graham Sutherland. In the
period since 1945, Ben Nicholson, Victor Pasmore, Francis Bacon, David Hockney,
Lucian Freud, and Damien Hirst have all achieved acclaim.
V. Big Decline In White Population Of London
By Roger Blitz
UK Affairs Editor
The Financial Times - UK
London's white population fell by 7 per cent during the 1990s, a greater decline than
expected, according to new studies of the 2001 Census that illustrate the increasing
diversity of the capital. Advertisement
While ethnic groups experienced strong growth trends, contributing to an overall
London population increase of 4 per cent, or 282,143, the white population fell by
In 1991, whites comprised 79.8 per cent of all Londoners. The new findings suggest
that proportion has fallen to 71.2 per cent.
Most striking has been the rise of the black African population, putting it on course
to overtake Indians this decade as the biggest ethnic group in the capital after
whites. Its growth was the largest, least predicted among London's ethnic groups,
overtaking the number of black Caribbeans by more than doubling from 163,635 to
a projected 378,933.
The data from the Greater London Authority shows the non-white population of
London at more than 2m for the first time, having stood at slightly over 1.3m in
1991. Added to that are 220,000 Irish and nearly 595,000 "other white" groups,
such as Cypriots, Americans and Europeans born on the Continent.
Redmond O'Neill, senior adviser to Ken Livingstone, London mayor, said the policy
implications for London public services, such as policing and education, were
considerable. "As the whole principle of public services is that you are policed by
your peers, this will require an effort to ensure that public services are
representative, and therefore acceptable and legitimate to the populations they
serve," he said.
A Mori poll found that 83 per cent of Londoners believed the Metropolitan Police,
which has only 6 per cent of officers from ethnic minorities, should reflect London's
ethnic diversity.
New census information on religion underscores the diversity of the capital's
residents but also reveals a high proportion of non-believers. More than a million
Londoners, just under 16 per cent, said they had no religion and more than 621,000
did not reply to the census question on religion.
London's largest non-white population is Indian, projected at 436,993, but its rise of
22 per cent over the decade, or just over 80,000, is the lowest of all non-white
ethnic groups other than black Caribbean, which increased by 14 per cent.
The birthplace with the largest increase is Nigeria, followed by Bangladesh, South
Africa and Sri Lanka. Kenya and Somalia also have growing London populations. But
increases have come from far and wide - the South American population nearly
trebled over the 1990s to just under 45,000, while the number of EU-born
Londoners from outside the UK and Ireland swelled by 64,000 or 43 per cent.
Smaller-sized ethnic groups had significant increases, based on predicted
population growth.
The number of Bangladeshis in London grew by nearly three-quarters, Pakistanis by
more than a half, and a younger ethnic group classified as "black other" almost
Christians make up 58 per cent of London's population, compared with 72 per cent
across England and Wales, followed by Muslims, with 8.5 per cent, or over 607,000.
There are 292,000 Hindus in London, or 4 per cent of the capital, followed by nearly
150,000 Jews, or 2.1 per cent, and 104,000 Sikhs.
London's white British population is concentrated in the outer parts of south and
east London, in contrast with much of inner London. The main strongholds of white
British London are in the boroughs of Havering, Bexley and Bromley.
© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2003.
Unit 10
Nationality and Population of Canada
Canada is a land of immigrants. The majority of its people descend from various
European countries. Only 6% of the population are Native Indians or Eskimos. The
country is split along ethnic grounds between French and Anglo-Saxon immigrants.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Canadian(s).
Population (2002 census): 31.4 million.
Ethnic groups: Anglophone 28%, Francophone 23%, other European 15%,
Asian/Arab/African 6%, indigenous Amerindian 2%, mixed background 26%.
Religions: Roman Catholic 44.4%, Protestant 29%, other Christian 4.2%, Muslim
2%, other 4%.
Languages: English, French.
Education: Literacy--99% of population aged 15 and over has at least a ninth-grade
Health: Infant mortality rate--5.2/1,000. Life expectancy?7.1 yrs. male, 82.2 yrs.
1. What are the reasons why French people have moved to Canada?
2. What’s your view about the stream of Chinese immigrating to Canada?
I. Ethnic Groups in Canada
The ethnic composition of the Canadian people is diverse. The two largest groups,
those of British and French origin, comprised respectively about 35 and 25 percent
of the population at the 1996 census. The majority of French Canadians live in
Québec, where they make up about 80 percent of the population. Significant
numbers also live in Ontario and New Brunswick. The remaining French Canadians
are thinly scattered through the rest of Canada, but there are a few concentrations,
such as the Saint Boniface district of Winnipeg, which is home to some 45,000
French speakers.
While French Canadians form a cultural group, based on their language, history, and
religion, British Canadians do not. The four nationalities of the British Isles—English,
Scots, Welsh, and Irish—all had different histories, belonged to various religions,
and developed different attitudes. While an economic elite of white Anglo-Saxon
Protestants, mostly of English and Scots background, has dominated the business
and industry of every province, even Québec, they are a minority of British
About 20 percent of Canadians trace their ancestry to other European countries; the
most prominent of these are Germany, Italy, Ukraine, and the Netherlands. Another
8 to 10 percent are of Asian origin, particularly from Hong Kong, India, China, and
Taiwan. The remainder of the population is of various ethnic origins, such as
American, Latin American, and African.
Many of these groups have settled in uneven geographic patterns. For example,
Canadian immigration policy focused on Europeans during the early 20th century, a
time of vigorous western settlement; as a result, the proportion of European
Canadians in the Prairie provinces is especially high. More recently, Asian
centers—Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver—and thus Chinese Canadians and
Indo-Canadians are most visible there.
Four-fifths of French Canadians live in Québec province. Many, if not most, of them
regard Québec as the center of their society and culture, and their effort to preserve
it has led to a movement of French Canadian nationalism that has taken several
forms. Surrounded by an English-speaking society and living in an economy
dominated by an English-speaking elite, the Québécois (French-speaking residents
of Québec) made a concerted effort beginning in 1960 to increase their control of
Québec affairs. A nationalist provincial government revamped the educational
system, provided aid to small businesses, and took control of some industries, all
with the objective of increasing Québécois’ control of the economy. Many
nationalists have gone further: Some support a separatist movement that seeks
independence for the province; others advocate a more moderate alternative,
keeping Québec in Canada but giving it more powers than the other provinces. The
English-speaking minority in Québec is opposed to its separation from Canada. The
other provinces also oppose it and are not much more sympathetic to the more
moderate alternative.
Indigenous peoples, designated in the census as “Aboriginal,” made up about 3
percent of Canada’s inhabitants in 1996. They live across Canada in every province
and territory, with about 45 percent concentrated in the Prairie provinces, according
to the 1996 census. Less than half of Canada’s indigenous peoples live on reserves
set aside for Indian bands. In the Arctic and sub-Arctic, where the climate has
discouraged permanent European settlement, they are the majority. They divide
themselves into nations, each with a traditional territory, language, and culture.
The groupings and homelands have changed over time. For example, the Bearlake
only became a nation in the 20th century; the Neutral and several neighboring
nations were broken up in the 17th century; and the
Sioux did not arrive in Canada
until the 19th century.
Blacks, or African Canadians, have never been a major segment of the population,
but their history is interesting. Although King Louis XIV of France in 1689 authorized
the importation of slaves from the West Indies, few were brought to Canada or
Acadia. Some refugees from the American Revolution (1775-1783) brought slaves
north with them, and a greater number of blacks came as free persons, many of
them having won their freedom by fighting for the British side in that conflict. Nova
Scotia abolished slavery in 1787, as did Upper Canada (Ontario) six years later;
their actions set precedents for the British Empire. When British troops burned
Washington, the U.S. capital, in the War of 1812 (1812-1815), they brought back to
Halifax many slaves who had sought refuge with them. Escape to Canada meant
freedom, and thus it was a major destination of the so-called
Railroad, a network of secret routes by which U.S. abolitionists (people who
actively opposed slavery) spirited slaves out of the American South. They
transported many slaves into Canada, particularly to Chatham and Sarnia in
Blacks in Canada have generally been equal under the law, although Nova Scotia
and Ontario formerly had legally segregated public schools, and the schools for
blacks were often poorly funded. Traditionally, blacks have been employed in jobs
that pay low wages. They remain among the poorest and worst educated of
Canada’s citizens. Since an upsurge of civil rights activism in the 1960s, blacks have
pressed for improvement of their condition, and their leadership has been enhanced
by the addition of educated black immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa.
Recently, urban black communities have protested police tactics in Toronto,
Montréal, and Halifax, asserting that the police discriminate against them.
II. Assimilation in Canada
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
"No other subject in the larger politics of modern times, deserve more earnest
attention than the problem of assimilating the foreign element in our population."
Slow as has been the rate of foreign immigration to our country in the past, the
percentage of foreign element in our population is already sufficient to make the
question of assimilation one of deep and growing importance. How much more must
this be the case when, in greater diversity of nationality and tenfold larger, flows the
stream of foreigners coming into and possessing our land ? A population lacking in
national sentiment and unassimilated into a social and national fabric constitutes a
grave menace to the prosperity and stability of the state, rather than a blessing.
Population is essential, indeed, but with the coming of the stranger there must be
brought into operation the. machinery, or rather influences, by which the process of
assimilation should keep pace with the advancing tide.
No country has ever been confronted with the problem of assimilation in so
extensive a form as has the United States, and no other country has succeeded so
well in the work of the unifying of races, though much remains to be desired. The
late Henry Ward Beecher on one occasion likened that country to a huge elephant
gathering by its strong trunk the fruit, leaves and even branches of the surrounding
trees, all of which were ravenously devoured, masticated, digested and rapidly
incorporated into the life of the monster, contributing to its vitality and growth. This
is a fitting illustratration, and yet, well as the United States has accomplished the
task of digesting and assimilating the hordes of foreigners that have come to her,
some, at least, of the many social weaknesses of that country are traceable to a lack
of thorough assimilation. To avoid these evils we must do better work than they
have done, and now is the time to make potent the agencies of unification.
At the present time the influences operating towards the assimilation of foreign
people, though, perhaps, stronger than ever before, are still very weak and
imperfect. The United States has received and assimilated foreigners at the rate of
about fifteen thousand a year to the million of her population. At this rate we should
be able to incorporate into our national system, and infuse with our spirit about one
hundred and twenty-five thousand foreigners annually. It is doubtful, however, if
we effectually influence those that now annually seek our shores.
The making of citizens is something very much more important than the matter of
extending the, franchise to a stranger who has lived sufficiently long in our country.
The process of naturalization is technically legal and formal, while in reality it is
educative and sentimental. It is comparatively easy to give a foreigner all the
privileges of citizen-ship when the legal requirements have been fulfilled, but it is
quite another thing to infuse in him adequate ideas of what citizenship implies. His
purpose is often selfish and generally personal, while the essence of true citizenship
means the very opposite. It should mean, first of all, love and devotion based on an
intelligent appreciation of the country whose subject he becomes. This kind of
citizen cannot be made by the simple process of legal machinery, but is the product
of strong assimilative processes.
Another chapter will be devoted to the education for citizenship, which is, in reality,
a continuation of the present subject. It will, therefore, be more fully dealt with
when that point has been reached. For the present let this serve to prepare the mind
to the thought of the great necessity of these important factors in our national life
and institutions. If we might anticipate for a moment, we would point out the fact
that one of the best ways to solve the question of assimilation is to seek a larger
share of the two hundred and forty thousand British subjects who annually migrate
from their " tight little island."
At the present time we get an insignificant handful of these, and yet there is no
country in the British Empire so near their doors and where the conditions of life are
more similar to what they are familiar with. They are already loyal British subjects
and would need no assimilation. The importance of this has been fully
comprehended by some, at least, of those in England as well as in this country, as
the following utterances may indicate : "But one condition, and one only, is made by
our colonial brethren, and that is, ` Send us suitable immigrants.' I will go further
and appeal to my fellow countrymen at home to prove the strength of the
attachment of the Motherland to her children by sending to them only of her best.
By this means we may still further strengthen, or at all events pass on unimpaired,
that pride of race, that unity of sentiment and purpose, that feeling of common
loyalty and obligation, which, knit together, alone can maintain the integrity of our
"Canada's atmosphere must have the quality which transforms every receptive man
who comes into it, whatever his race or nationality, into a true born Canadian. . . .
There must be in Canada a unifying force able to receive racial material of every sort
and to refashion it, not into uniformity, but into acceptance of the same principles of
life and the same devotion and the same faith. Such must be the power of
assimilation in this country that it soon becomes a matter of indifference from what
country a man comes ; whether he speak the English, the German, the Italian, the
Danish, or the French language. So strong must this influence be that in a brief time,
if open to the influences which must play on every receptive human spirit, he will not
only soon speak in the language of the country, but will speak out of a true Canadian
III. Inuit (1)
Inuit, a people inhabiting small enclaves in the coastal areas of Greenland, Arctic
North America (including Canada and Alaska), and extreme northeastern Siberia.
The name Inuit means the real people. In 1977 the Inuit Circumpolar Conference,
held in Barrow, Alaska, officially adopted Inuit as the replacement for the term
“Eskimo.” There are several related linguistic groups of Arctic peoples, including the
Kalaallit in Greenland, the Inuvialuit in Canada, and the Inupiat, Yupiget, Yuplit, and
Alutiit in Alaska. Many of these groups prefer to be called by their specific “tribal”
names rather than as Inuits. In Alaska the term “Eskimo” is still commonly used.
The Inuit vary within about 5 cm (about 2 in) of an average height of 163 cm (5 ft
4 in), and they display metabolic, circulatory, and other adaptations to the Arctic
climate. Inhabiting an area spanning almost 5,150 km (almost 3,200 mi), Inuit have
a wider geographical range than any other aboriginal people and are the most
sparsely distributed people on earth. They fall generally into the following
geographical divisions, moving from east to west: (1) Greenland Inuit, living on the
eastern and western coasts of southern Greenland, who have adopted many
European ways and are known as Greenlanders or Kalaallitt (Kalâtdlit); (2)
Labrador Inuit, occupying the coast from a point opposite Newfoundland Island to
Hudson Bay, with a few settlements on southern Baffin Island; (3) Central Inuit,
including those of far northern Greenland and, in Canada, Baffin Island and western
Hudson Bay; (4) Banks Island Inuit, on Banks Island, Victoria Island, and other
large islands off the central Arctic coast; (5) Western Arctic Inuit or Inuvialuit, along
the western Arctic coast of Canada; (6) Alaskan Inuit; (7) Alaskan Yuit; and (8)
Siberian Yuit.
From archaeological, linguistic, and physiological evidence, most scholars conclude
that the Inuit migrated across the Bering Strait to Arctic North America. A later
arrival to the New World than most indigenous peoples, the Inuit share many
cultural traits with Siberian Arctic peoples and with their own closest relatives, the
Aleuts. The oldest archaeological sites identifiable as Inuit, in southwest Alaska and
the Aleutian Islands, date from about 2000 bc and are somewhat distinct from later
Inuit sites. By about 1800 bc the highly developed Old Whaling or Bering Sea culture
and related cultures had emerged in Siberia and in the Bering Strait region. In
eastern Canada the Old Dorset culture flourished from about 1000 to 800 bc until
about ad 1000 to 1300. The Dorset people were overrun by the Thule Inuit, who by
ad 1000 to 1200 had reached Greenland. There, Inuit culture was influenced by
medieval Norse colonists and, after 1700, by Danish settlers.
The languages of the Inuit peoples constitute a subfamily of the Inuit-Aleut
(Eskimaleut) language family. A major linguistic division occurs in Alaska, according
to whether the speakers call themselves Inuit (singular, Inuk) or Yuit (singular, Yuk).
The eastern branch of the subfamily—generally called Inupiaq in Alaska but also
Inuktitut in Canada and Kalaallisut (Kalâdtlisut) in Greenland—stretches from
eastern Alaska across Canada and through northern into southern Greenland. It
forms a dialect chain—that is, it consists of many dialects, each understandable to
speakers of neighboring dialects, although not to speakers of geographically distant
dialects. The western branch, called Yupik, includes three distinct languages:
Central Alaskan Yupik and Pacific Gulf Yupik in Alaska and Siberian Yupik in Alaska
and Canada, each with several dialects (see Native American Languages). The
Inupiaq dialects have more than 40,000 speakers in Greenland and more than
20,000 in Alaska and Canada. Yupik languages are spoken by about 17,000 people,
including some 1,000 in the former Soviet Union. These various languages are used
for the first year of school in some parts of Siberia, for religious instruction and
education in schools under Inuit control in Alaska, and in schools and
communications media in Canada and Greenland.
The Inupiaq and Yupik languages have an immense number of suffixes that are
added to a smaller number of root words; these suffixes function similarly to verb
endings, case endings, prepositional phrases, and even whole clauses in the English
language. A root word can thus give rise to many derivative words, often many
syllables long and highly specialized in meaning, and sometimes complex enough to
serve as an entire sentence.
Because these languages are among the most complex and difficult in the world,
few explorers or traders learned them; instead, they relied on a jargon composed of
Danish, Spanish, Hawaiian, and Inupiaq and Yupik words. The Inupiaq and Yupik
languages themselves have a rich oral literature, and a number of Greenland
authors have written in Greenland Inupiaq. The first book in Inupiaq was published
in 1742.
VI. Inuit (2)
The manners and customs of the Inuit, like their language, are remarkably uniform
despite the widespread diffusion of the people. The family—including the nuclear
family, nearby relatives, and relations by marriage—is the most significant social
unit. In traditional culture, marriages, although sometimes arranged, are generally
open to individual choice. Monogamy is the usual pattern, but both polygyny and
polyandry also occur. Marriage, a virtual necessity for physical survival, is based on
strict division of labor. Husband and wife retain their own tools, household goods,
and other personal possessions; men build houses, hunt, and fish, and women cook,
dress animal skins, and make clothing. Food sources such as game and fish are
considered community property. The underlying social law is the obligation to help
one’s kin. Community ridicule is the most common means of social control; in
extreme cases, after lengthy deliberation, an offender may be socially ostracized or
put to death. With the absence of any communal legal structure, harming someone
from another group jeopardizes one’s own kinship group (which is held responsible
for the offense) and raises the possibility of a blood feud. Provocative displays of
emotion are strongly disapproved. Some groups control conflict by means of
wrestling matches or song duels, in which the angry parties extemporize insulting
songs; the loser might be driven from the community.
Alliances between non-relatives are formed and maintained through gift giving and
the showing of respect. The highest such form of gift giving occurs when a head of
household offers the opportunity of a temporary sexual liaison with the most valued
adult woman of his household. The woman maintains the power to refuse the liaison,
in which case respect will be symbolized through the presentation of a different gift.
The traditional Inuit diet consists mainly of fish, seals, whales, and related sea
mammals, the flesh of which is eaten cooked, dried, or frozen. The seal is their
staple winter food and most valuable resource. It provides them with dog food,
clothing, and materials for making boats, tents, and harpoon lines, as well as fuel for
both light and heat. In the interior of Alaska and Canada, caribou are hunted in the
summer. To a lesser extent the polar bear, fox, hare, and Arctic birds, chiefly sea
birds, also furnish important supplies. Large game such as whale, walrus, and
caribou require bigger hunting expeditions than are possible for one kinship group.
Many families follow a seasonal hunting and fishing cycle that takes them from one
end to the other of their customary territory; trade with other groups often occurs
along the way. Today many Inuit work for wages and buy commercially prepared
Inuit homes are of two kinds: walrus or sealskin tents for summer and huts or
houses for winter. Winter houses are usually made of stone, with a driftwood or
whalebone frame, chinked and covered with moss or sod. The entrance is a long,
narrow passage just high enough to admit a person crawling on hands and knees.
During long journeys some Canadian Inuit build igloos, winter houses of snow
blocks piled in a dome shape (the term igloo comes from the Inuit iglu, meaning
"house"). Such snow houses, rare in Greenland and unknown in Alaska, were once
permanent winter houses of the Inuit of central and eastern Canada. In the 20th
century many Inuit moved into towns to live in government-built, Western housing.
The principal traditional means of conveyance are the kayak, the umiak, and the
dogsled. The light, seaworthy kayak is a canoelike hunting boat made of a wood
frame completely covered with sealskin except for a round center opening, where
the single occupant sits. In Greenland and Alaska the skin around the hole can be
laced tightly around the occupant, making the kayak virtually watertight. The umiak,
a larger, open boat about 9 m (about 30 ft) long and 2.4 m (8 ft) wide, and made of
a wooden frame covered with walrus skins, is used for whaling expeditions and,
sometimes, to transport families and goods. The sled, drawn by a team of native
dogs admirably adapted for the purpose, is common among all Inuit except those in
southern Greenland. When iron was obtained through trade, iron runners largely
supplanted ivory and whalebone runners. In the last half-century motorboats and
snowmobiles have become important modes of travel.
Traditional Inuit dress for both men and women consists of watertight boots,
double-layer trousers, and the parka, a tight-fitting double-layer pullover jacket
with a hood, all made of skins and furs. An enlarged hood forms a convenient cradle
for nursing infants.
Traditional Inuit beliefs are a form of animism, according to which all objects and
living beings have a spirit. All phenomena occur through the agency of some spirit.
Intrinsically neither good nor bad, spirits can affect people’s lives and, although not
influenced by prayers, can be controlled by magical charms and talismans. The
person best equipped to control spirits is the shaman, but anyone with the
appropriate charms or amulets can exercise such control. Shamans are usually
consulted to heal illnesses and resolve serious problems. Communal and individual
taboos are observed to avoid offending animal spirits, and animals killed for food
must be handled with prescribed rituals.
Inuit rituals and myths reflect preoccupation with survival in a hostile environment.
Vague beliefs of an afterlife or reincarnation exist, but these receive little emphasis.
Most communal rites center on preparation for the hunt, and myths tend to deal
with the relations that exist between humans, animals, and the environment. In
arctic Canada, Greenland, Labrador, and southern Alaska, large numbers of Inuit
have converted to Christianity.
From prehistoric times Inuit tools have been noted for their careful construction and
the artistry of their carved ornamentation. Ivory from walruses and whales, the
most accessible material for carving, is fashioned into figurines representing
animals and people, and into decorated knobs, handles, and other tool parts.
Driftwood and whalebone are carved into ceremonial masks, some small enough to
be worn on women’s fingers during a ritual dance. After contact with European,
Canadian, and United States traders began in the 18th century, the Inuit also made,
as trade items, scrimshaw-carved tusks and ivory and whalebone objects such as
canes and cribbage boards. After about 1950, the Canadian government, concerned
with pressures that increasingly pushed the Inuit into a cash economy, encouraged
the carving and sale of highly sophisticated soapstone sculptures. Sculpture and
printmaking, marketed through cooperatives, have become mainstays of the
Canadian Inuit economy and the best-known aspect of Inuit culture.
Inuit performing arts center on ceremonial songs and dances. Some magical songs
are personal property and can be sold or traded. The principal musical instrument is
the shallow, tambourinelike shaman’s drum.
V. Chinese Immigration
Gold Mountain I
Emigration from China was once a capital crime - because surely only enemies of
the imperial court would choose to abandon the greatest civilization on Earth. In
1712, the emperor decreed that anyone who settled overseas should go back to be
beheaded. Leaving China was also regarded as un-Confucian. Sons were meant to
stay in the home village, to keep the ancestral graves clean and the clan's lineage
In 1788, British explorer John Meares landed at Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island
with 70 Chinese carpenters he brought from the Portuguese colony of Macao. They
built him a boat and then, it is thought, married into native communities on the
island, their cultural traces soon lost. They were the first Chinese to set foot in
Canada, and the last for 70 years.
The story of the Chinese who decamped for Canada really begins in the mid-19th
century. Agricultural productivity in China could not keep pace with rapid population
growth, and wealth was concentrated in the hands of a small land-owning class. The
Qing dynasty, weakened by defeat in the 1839-42 Opium War with Britain, was
pressured into concluding emigration treaties with Western powers.
The United States, for one, was scouting for a new pool of cheap labour following the
abolition of slavery, and found it in China's pauperized landless peasantry. The
migrants came mostly from the densely populated coastal provinces of Guangdong
and Fujian. They traded poverty and social unrest at home for a life of hard labour
and racism abroad.
The first major wave of Chinese immigrants to North America was swept up in the
gold rush. They began arriving in San Francisco - Gold Mountain in Chinese - in 1849.
A decade later, California's gold veins were drying up as fast as anti-Oriental feeling
was growing. When word filtered down of a gold strike in the Fraser River Valley in
1858, Chinese prospectors were among those who pursued the rumour north. They
didn't know they would be allowed to work the mines only when white miners had
moved on.
In 1860, others began to arrive in British Columbia directly from China. The
following year, the first Chinese-Canadian baby was born.
Bitter labour
Few of the men squeezed out of tumultuous, overcrowded southeast China in the
19th century had any intention of sinking roots abroad. Called coolies - from kuli,
"bitter strength" - some left China willingly, while others were kidnapped by
press-gangs. But many did end up staying in the New World. As well as seekers after
gold, they were builders of the daunting B.C. section of the Canadian Pacific Railway;
700 of them died in the process. The 17,000 Chinese who helped build the railway
were paid half as much as white workers. This wage differential was the norm for
Chinese in Canada well into the 1930s.
Chinese migrants also worked as cooks and launderers. Their reputation in both
spheres harks back to the early mining and railway camps, where they filled the
gaps in those lopsided communities - they could have the "women's work" and
welcome to it. They toiled in fish canneries. Or they worked for wealthy white
families. They often show up in early photographs - it was a status symbol to have
a Chinese houseboy hovering at the edge of a family portrait.
The Chinese were tolerated when they were a useful source of cheap labour. In
1861, a Victoria newspaper was welcoming: "We have plenty of room for many
thousands of Chinamen. ?There can be no shadow of a doubt but their industry
enables them to add very largely to our own revenues."
But in 1885, after the last spike was struck at the end of the CPR track, many
thousands of labourers were laid off. And at a Royal Commission on Chinese
Immigration, Chinese were often described as taking work away from white workers.
Later that year, Canada imposed a head tax on Chinese seeking to enter the country.
After the railway work ended, many Chinese drifted eastwards within Canada, and
some returned to China.
Chinese labourers were at the centre of a little-known chapter of Canadian First
World War history. For a year, beginning in April 1917, close to 80,000 men were
shipped from China to British Columbia, then transported across the country by rail
and dispatched from east-coast ports to the trenches of France. One of the
governments ruling China at the time had joined the war on the side of the Western
allies and offered some of the labourers it had in spades to the war effort. After the
armistice, the Chinese labour battalions were repatriated along the same route. In
both directions, they were transported in sealed cars lest they try to "jump train"
and avoid the $500 head tax levied at the time against Chinese immigrants.
Humiliation Day
After the First World War, wartime industries closed, and demobilized soldiers were
looking for work. On July 1, 1923, amid a post-war recession, Chinese became the
only people Canada has ever excluded explicitly on the basis of race. For the next 24
years, virtually no Chinese were allowed to immigrate to Canada, and Chinese
Canadians observed July 1 as "Humiliation Day", closing shops and boycotting
Dominion Day celebrations.
self-employment. Family-run businesses, such as restaurants and laundries, sprang
up both in small towns and in the Chinatowns that had emerged in the bigger cities
across Canada. These small businesses became havens for Chinese people, both to
operate and to work in. Discriminatory laws encouraged Chinese-only enterprises in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario, for instance, Chinese employers
were prohibited from hiring white females.
Vivienne Poy, the first Chinese-Canadian appointed to the Senate, devoted her
February 1999 inaugural speech to the history of the Chinese in Canada. "During the
Depression, the Chinese in Alberta received relief payments of $1.12 a week, less
than half the amount paid to the rest of the population in need," she said. "Despite
that, many prairie farming families owed their lives to the credits given to them by
the Chinese store owners in their purchase of daily necessities during those difficult
Depression-era Chinatowns were lonely places. Those were the bad old
bachelor-community days, when the immigration restrictions prevented Chinese
men from bringing in their wives and families. In 1931, there were 1,240 men to
every 100 women in Chinese Canadian communities. Census data show that most of
the men were married. But their wives were in China and prevented from joining
For years, the president of the Vancouver Chinese Benevolent Association made an
annual trek to Ottawa to petition for the law to be amended. "What we ask is not an
open door to all Chinese who wish to come," Foon Sien told the authorities. "Our
appeal is that the Chinese Canadian may have his family with him - a complete
family, not one part in Canada and the other part in Hong Kong or China." With no
new immigrants allowed in and some returning to China, the Chinese population of
Canada declined from 46,500 in 1931 to 32,500 in 1951.
Post-war revival
China had been an ally in the Second World War, and 500 Chinese Canadian men
served in the Canadian army. The Chinese Exclusion Act - which contravened the
United Nations charter of human rights that Canada signed after the war - was now
out of step with the times. It was repealed in 1947, four years after the United
States lifted a similar ban.
In the next few years, most of the other legislation that discriminated against
Chinese Canadians was dismantled. They had, for instance, been disenfranchised
during the First World War. Before he died at age 94, Won Alexander Cumyow - that
first Canadian-born Chinese baby, born in Port Douglas, B.C., in 1861 - got his
chance to cast a ballot. Chinese Canadians regained the right to vote in federal
elections in 1947.
In the 1950s, most immigrants from China were wives and children of men already
settled in Canada, and Chinese communities started to become less overwhelmingly
male. But against the backdrop of Cold War-era anti-Chinese feeling, immigration
policy still favoured Europeans over Asians. It was not until 1967, when the points
system was introduced for selecting immigrants, that Canada began admitting
Chinese using the same criteria as for any other applicants.
Changes to the immigration law in 1978 and 1985 promoted the arrival of wealthy
entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Taiwan. They had to show a net worth of at least
$500,000 and investment in a Canadian business venture of at least $250,000. The
changes were introduced just as Hong Kong money was growing twitchy about the
approach of the colony's July 1997 handover to China. In 1990, fully half of all
business-category immigrants admitted to Canada came from Hong Kong or Taiwan.
In recent decades, however, most new Chinese Canadians have actually been
middle-class rather than super-rich. Indeed, in the past 50 years, more than half
the Chinese who have immigrated to Canada have been in white-collar occupations.
They have tended to settle in suburbs of major cities, particularly Toronto and
Vancouver. The last national census, in 1996, put the Chinese Canadian population
at more than 920,000, with 46 per cent in Ontario and 34 per cent in British
Columbia. Highly educated and upwardly mobile, the recent arrivals have
transformed Canadian society and the Chinese communities within it.
Bridge builders
The growth of the Chinese Canadian population, and the emergence of a middle
class, has led to increased political participation.
Douglas Jung of Vancouver became the first Chinese Canadian Member of
Parliament in 1957.
Bob Wong became the first Chinese Canadian cabinet minister when he served in
the Ontario Liberal government in the late 1980s.
David Lam was appointed lieutenant governor of British Columbia in 1988.
Vivienne Poy became the first Chinese Canadian Senator in 1998.
Adrienne Clarkson was appointed Governor-General of Canada in 1999.
Pressure groups have also emerged, notably the Chinese Canadian National Council.
The Toronto-based organization has spearheaded a campaign seeking redress from
Ottawa for the head tax and the injustices that resulted from the 1923 Exclusion Act.
The issue has yet to be resolved.
Along with the influx of Hong Kong wealth in the 1980s, racial tensions surfaced,
particularly in Vancouver. There was a widespread perception that Hong Kong
money was being arrogant, moving too fast, driving up property prices and rapidly
altering established neighbourhoods with the construction of opulent "monster
But now there were voices in high places to help build bridges. David Lam, who
served as B.C.'s lieutenant governor for six years and who himself emigrated from
Hong Kong in 1967, called the new wave of immigrants "one of the best things that
will ever happen to Canada."
"Those talents, education and experience represent billions of dollars of time and
investment. We get all that plus the entrepreneurial spirit and the capital," Lam said.
"We should learn to celebrate the differences, rather than merely tolerating the
differences. We can turn diversity into enrichment and perplexities into strength."
(Lam is quoted by Peter Li in an excellent survey of Chinese-Canadian history in the
new Encyclopedia of Canada's People.)
In her maiden speech to the Senate, Vivienne Poy recalled the tensions that
accompanied the arrival of large numbers of Chinese in a Toronto suburb. In July
1995, she said, the deputy mayor of Markham "made inflammatory remarks that
the residents of Markham were being driven out by the Chinese and their
"Attitudes are difficult to change," Poy observed. "The difference today is that when
the Chinese move in, property prices go up."
Gold Mountain II
Little is known about the individuals who have journeyed by boat from Fujian to
British Columbia in the summer of 1999, but they have something basic in common
with the earliest emigrants from China, who also undertook a hazardous sea voyage
in their quest for a better life. Now, 150 years on, gangs are roaming southeast
China, looking for people to entice with tall tales of easy prosperity overseas. They
have little trouble finding takers for this seductive dream. But first the dreamers
must pay – or promise to pay.
The recent "boatpeople" are not super-rich - neither, probably, are they dirt-poor.
Coastal provinces such as Fujian are far more prosperous than most inland areas in
China. But when they promise $50,000 to the snakeheads, as the human smugglers
are called, in exchange for transport to a mythical land of plenty, they sign away
years of their lives. If they make it to North America, they will work as virtual slaves
until their debt is paid. If they default or die, the debt is transferred to their families
in China.
In some quarters, the boatloads of prospective immigrants raised the spectre of a
wave of illegal "economic migrants" washing up on Canada's shores. People who
arrive in this dramatic fashion attract media attention, but in fact have been a rarity.
The Chinese who landed in the summer of '99 were the first such arrivals since 1987,
when 174 Sikhs from India waded ashore in Nova Scotia.
The Chinese boatpeople also represent a fraction of those trying to circumvent the
normal immigration process. Some other nationalities have a much easier time
getting to Canada. During an 18-month span in the late 1990s, for instance,
immigration officials at the Vancouver airport expelled almost 700 South Koreans
suspected of trying to enter the country illegally. South Koreans don't need a visa to
enter Canada and can take advantage of relatively cheap flights. The immigration
minister at the time, Elinor Caplan, said that, in all, officials intercepted almost
6,300 would-be illegal immigrants destined for Canada in 1998, mostly at airports
Chinese Canadians have been among the boatpeople's harshest critics, but some
also felt sympathy. Vancouver lawyer Mason Loh told the Globe and Mail that it was
not entirely fair to criticize the newcomers for "queue-jumping" - when in reality
there was no queue for them to join in China. Legal immigration is only open to
people with money, marketable skills or immediate family in Canada - not things
that people who huddle in the hull of a ship for a long, perilous journey are likely to
Meanwhile, the number of people applying to immigrate legally has fallen in recent
years. And as a result, Canada took 20,000 fewer immigrants in 1998 than it had
anticipated. The growing wealth gap between rich and poor countries makes it
surprising that more people do not either attempt to immigrate by legal means - or,
if that avenue is closed to them, try their luck on a decrepit boat.
Unit 11
Nationality and Population of Australia
Australia is the most sparsely populated of the inhabited continents. The estimated
total population in 2004 was 19,913,144, giving the country an overall population
density of 3 persons per sq km (7 per sq mi). Australia’s population grew at a
relatively modest rate of about 1.3 percent annually from 1996 to 2001.
The country is heavily urbanized. Some 92 percent of the population lives in cities,
about two-thirds in cities with 100,000 or more residents. The most rapidly growing
areas are the coastal zones near and between the mainland capitals in the east,
southeast, and southwest. In fact, four out of every five Australians live on the
densely settled coastal plains that make up only about 3 percent of the country’s
land area. The fastest-growing region is southeastern Queensland.
1.How much do you know about the didgeridoo and Australian Indigenous
2. What problems do Indigenous Australians have? Do they have a bright future?
Australia Quiz :
1. Australia is called the land ___________________.
2. The first people to live in Australia were ___________________.
3. Australia is about the size of the ___________________.
4. The middle part of the country is called the ___________________.
5. Australia has about ten times more ___________________ than people.
6. A ranch is known as a ___________________ in Australia.
7. A marsupial is an animal that carries its young in a _________________.
9. Australia was first used as a ___________________ colony by the English.
10. The aborigines used the ___________________ as a weapon.
Ethnic Groups in Australia
The United Kingdom and Ireland were traditionally the principal countries of origin
for the majority of immigrants to Australia, reflecting the colonial history of the
country. Since World War II (1939-1945), however, Australia’s population has
become more ethnically diverse as people have immigrated from a wider range of
countries. The proportion of residents born in other countries increased from 10
percent in 1947 to 24 percent in 2000. In 1947, 81 percent of new arrivals came
principally from the United Kingdom and Ireland, and to a lesser extent from New
Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and the United States. In 2000 only 39 percent of
new arrivals came from those major English-speaking countries. From 1995 to 2000,
people from New Zealand constituted 18 percent of total immigration; those from
the United Kingdom, 11 percent; China, 8 percent; the former Yugoslavia
(overwhelmingly refugees and asylum seekers), 7 percent; South Africa, 5 percent;
and India, 4 percent. These six principal countries of birth represented about 53
percent of total immigration during those years. Since the early 1970s the countries
of South, Southeast, and East Asia have become an increasingly important source of
new arrivals, both settlers and long-term visitors (who are primarily in Australia for
educational purposes). In 1999-2000 Asian-born arrivals made up 34 percent of all
immigration to Australia.
People of European descent constitute about 91 percent of Australia’s population.
Although most claim British or Irish heritage, there are also Italian, Dutch, Greek,
German, and other European groups. People of Asian descent or birth constitute
about 7 percent of the population; their countries of origin include China, Vietnam,
India, the Philippines, and Malaysia. People of Middle Eastern origin make up an
estimated 1.9 percent of the population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people constitute about 2.2 percent; their proportion of the total population rose
strongly during the 1990s. Also known as Indigenous Australians, these two groups
are the original inhabitants of the region. Torres Strait Islander people, who are a
Melanesian people, are indigenous to the islands of the Torres Strait, which lies
between the Cape York Peninsula of Queensland and the island of New Guinea.
The Aboriginal people are indigenous to Australia, meaning their ancestors were the
first humans to settle and populate the continent. Aboriginal folklore claims that
they were always in Australia. However, most anthropologists believe that they
migrated from Southeast Asia at least 50,000 years ago, probably during a period
when low sea levels permitted the simplest forms of land and water travel. A rise in
sea level subsequently made Tasmania an island and caused some cultural
separation between its peoples and those on the mainland.
These original Australians were essentially hunter-gatherers without domesticated
animals, other than the dingo. They employed a type of “firestick farming” in which
fire was used to clear areas so that fresh grazing grasses could grow, thereby
attracting kangaroos and other game animals. Aboriginal people also may have
harvested and dispersed selected seeds, perhaps creating extensive tracts of
grassland in the process. There is evidence of careful damming and redirection of
streams, and of swamp and lake outlets, possibly for fish farming.
Although the Aboriginal people were nomadic or seminomadic, their sense of place
was exceptionally strong, and they had an intimate knowledge of the land. The most
recent 3,000 years of Aboriginal history were characterized by accelerating changes
based on the use of stone tools, the exploitation of new resources, the growth of the
population, and the establishment of long-distance trading.
By the time of the first notable European settlement in 1788, Aboriginal people had
developed cultural traits and ecological knowledge that showed an impressive
adaptation to Australia’s challenging environments. They also had developed many
complex variations between regional and even local communities. Estimates for the
total Aboriginal population in 1788 vary. Current estimates based on archaeological
research range between 500,000 and 1 million. About 250 distinct languages
existed at the beginning of the 19th century. Bilingualism and multilingualism were
groups—sometimes called tribes—were linguistically defined and territorially based.
During the first century of white settlement, there were dramatic declines in the
Aboriginal population throughout Australia. The declines resulted from the
introduction of diseases for which the Aboriginal people had little or no acquired
immunity; social and cultural disruptions; brutal mistreatment; and reprisals for
acts of organized resistance. By 1901 the Aboriginal population had declined to
roughly 93,000. It then increased more than fourfold during the second half of the
20th century, partly in response to the wide acceptance of more relaxed
interpretations of Aboriginal descent.
Until the 1960s the Aboriginal population was mainly rural. Over the next two
decades Aboriginal people began moving in greater numbers to urban areas. In
many small, rural towns, Aboriginal families were viewed negatively as fringe
dwellers. In the larger cities, small, but highly volatile, ghetto-like concentrations of
Aboriginal people led to demands for greater political rights.
In fact, the social and political status of Aboriginal Australians was so low that they
were omitted from the official national censuses until 1971, following the
overwhelming passage of a 1967 referendum that granted the government power to
legislate for them and to include them in the census count. At the 2001 census,
366,429 Australian residents were counted as Aboriginal people, 26,046 as Torres
Strait Islander people, and 17,528 as belonging to both groups. The largest
concentrations of Indigenous Australians were in New South Wales (with 29.2
percent of the national total), Queensland (27.5 percent), Western Australia (14.3
percent), and the Northern Territory (12.4 percent).
More than 70 percent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in
urban areas. Traditional ways of life are still maintained in small enclaves in the
more remote locations, especially in the northern and central areas of the continent.
Every region of the country is represented by its own Aboriginal land council, and
most regions run cultural centers and festivals. A shared desire to reassert their
claim to land rights has united the widely separated communities, and indigenous
culture is now widely expressed in art, literature, and popular culture.
In terms of social and economic disadvantage—unemployment, family income
expectancy—the Aboriginal population still fares badly in comparison with the
Australian population as a whole. Its recent renaissance has brought victories in
many spheres, however, and the confirmation of Aboriginal ownership and control
of extensive areas of northern and central Australia has introduced a new dimension
into the economic, political, and social life of the nation.
European Settlement and Its Effects
Dutch,Spanish,French, and British ships first sailed into Australian waters in the
16th and 17th centuries. These expeditions were sent to chart the unknown
Australian coast and assess the potential for trade. The British continued to survey
Australian territories into the 18th century. From 1768 to 1771 British explorer
Captain James Cook surveyed many regions of Australia, and claimed for Britain
the entire eastern portion of the continent. The legal doctrine on which Britain
claimed this area was terra nullius (land belonging to no one), which denied that
Aboriginal people had any rights to or ownership of the land. In the eyes of the
British, this doctrine was justified because Aboriginal people did not build
permanent houses, practice agriculture, or have a clearly defined hierarchical
leadership structure with which the British could negotiate. The first British
settlement, which served as a penal colony and consisted primarily of convicts and
soldiers, was founded in 1788 at
Sydney in the newly claimed territory.
Estimates of the number of Aboriginal people on the Australian mainland in 1788
vary. In 1930 British anthropologist A. R. Radcliffe-Brown suggested that the
population was about 300,000 when Europeans arrived, but more recent estimates
place the figure closer to 500,000.
British settlers arrived on the island of Tasmania, then called Van Diemen’s Land, in
1803. At that time, Tasmania had a population of around 5,000 Aboriginal people.
By 1820 the settlers had eliminated almost all of the Aboriginal inhabitants of that
Unlike earlier visitors, the British settlers immediately disrupted Aboriginal life,
taking over good sources of water, productive land, and fisheries. The countryside
was taken up by towns, farms, and mining operations. Aboriginal people responded
in a variety of ways to the presence of Europeans. Some welcomed the newcomers,
in some cases because they thought whites were the spirits of the dead. Others
reacted with hostility. Guns gave the British a significant advantage in skirmishes,
and many Aboriginal people living near settlements were killed.
More devastating than the conflicts with settlers was the impact of European
diseases, to which Aboriginal people had no immunity. Smallpox, venereal disease,
syphilis, tuberculosis, measles, and influenza, all introduced into Australia
by the settlers, drastically reduced Aboriginal numbers. The British also introduced
new animals to Australia, including wild
rabbits, cats, and foxes, as well as
domesticated sheep and cattle. By preying on native animals or depleting food
resources, these animals altered the environment and caused the disappearance of
some smaller marsupial species that had been important sources of food for
Aboriginal people.
The British colonists intended to remain in Australia, so they began to alter the
landscape by clearing trees and building fences. Over several decades, the British
established colonies across the continent. The governments of these colonies
granted settlers pastoral leases that formally recognized their right to occupy, farm,
and graze livestock on the land.
As the frontier of white settlement expanded, Aboriginal people increasingly offered
violent resistance to the taking of their land, and many died in fighting with British
settlers. In some areas, white farmers took matters into their own hands and
formed vigilante groups, often responding to the killing of sheep and cattle by
murdering Aboriginal women and children. Colonial settlers also organized groups
of Aboriginal people into cadres of Native Police. Led by white officers, Aboriginal
soldiers would be taken to areas where they had no relatives and instructed to exact
revenge on behalf of the settlers for thefts and killings.
Those Aboriginal people who survived the British onslaught generally remained near
their homeland. Others began to live within or on the fringes of colonial settlements.
Australia has an enormous diversity of styles of Aboriginal art.
Each of the
dynamic traditions, though varying in form from region to region, is united by
common religious themes expressing the relationship between people, their land,
and the ancestral beings. Aboriginal art is one way that people mediate with the
ever-present Dreaming ancestors; it is one of the great religious arts of the world.
Aboriginal people have probably lived across Australia for up to 100,000 years.
Small groups of people, very often just the immediate family, wives and children,
moved over their lands with the seasons and available food supply, supporting
themselves by fishing, hunting and food gathering. They evolved a technology and
way of life which remained in perfect harmony with their environment.
Aboriginal artists utilised natural earth pigments in all their work - red iron ochre,
yellow ochre, charcoal and kaolin or white pipe clay.
Bark paintings are a very old
Aboriginal art form. Once practised on the inside surface of bark shelters, they are
now found throughout Arnhem land. The same designs which appear on bark are
also painted on many didgeridoos.
The richest and most varied collections of Aboriginal art are painted in cave galleries
and carved on rock outcrops at numerous sites throughout Australia. The galleries
of are such antiquity, so beautiful, and of such magnificent variety that it has been
suggested by many archaeologists that Australia may house the largest and most
important collection of Palaeolithic art in the world.
Yankuntjatjara people mainly carve wood and make superbly crafted weapons,
particularly spears, woomeras, shields and boomerangs. Two local woods are used
- mulga, a type of wattle, and the roots of the river red gum. Desert artists reveal
an uncannily accurate observation of nature in their carved snakes, lizards, perentie,
wild cats and small marsupials.
More on Didgeridoos (by John Bowden)
. In recent years there has been a tremendous upsurge of interest in the
didgeridoo. Especially since 1988, the bi-centennial year of the first permanent
settlement of Europeans in Australia, there has been an ever increasing awareness
of things Australian, not only by people from overseas, but from Australians
And this is well overdue.
The sound of the didgeridoo is somehow quintessential to the very soul of Australia's
natural landscape.
No other sound can evoke memories and images of the
Australian outback better than the haunting tones of the didgeridoo. And what
Australian does not like to think that he or she has no affinity with the bush?
The didgeridoo is to Australia what the bagpipes are to Scotland, what the steel
guitar and ukulele are to Hawaii, what the sitar is to India, the Flamenco guitar is to
Spain, and the mandolin to Italy. Unlike the instruments of these other countries,
however, the didgeridoo had its origin and development entirely within the country
with which it is now associated.
The Book "Didgeridoo" provides a complete guide to the playing of this ancient
Also included is background information so that the reader and
prospective didgeridooist can appreciate the importance of the didgeridoo
to Aborigines for whom it was, and still is, part of social and ceremonial life, and
who have bequeathed the joy of hearing and playing this fascinating wind
instrument to other Aborigines, and other fellow Australians; and to the rest of the
A great deal of pleasure can be had in playing the didgeridoo. Indeed it can be
great fun just trying. Once you are only a little proficient at it, you can have fun
with others, say at a party, if you bring out your didge, and several pieces of 40mm
P.V.C. pipe. (to which you have moulded beeswax mouth-pieces) for them to have
a try.
When you have mastered circular breathing, you have a great opportunity to
practice very effective relaxation techniques.
This is because of the deep and
controlled breathing involved, and your concentration on the sounds you are
IV Indigenous People Today
Life in 21st century Australia is radically different to the life enjoyed by Indigenous
people before European settlement in 1788.
While some Indigenous people still live in the traditional way, usually in remote
areas, most inhabit urban areas around the country’s coastline.
Indigenous people, like people who have migrated here from every part of the world,
now have to work to maintain their cultural identity while at the same time find a
place to fit within the complex multicultural society Australia has become.
Australia, the world’s largest continent nation, now boasts a standard of living equal
to the most sophisticated in the world and is home to world leaders in almost every
aspect of life.
Indigenous people, however, generally do not share this standard of living. Many
live in poverty equal to the worst in the world, acceptable education standards are
reached by few, incarceration rates are higher than for non-Indigenous people, and
alcohol and drug and substance abuse is widespread and is damaging the health of
whole communities.
Indigenous people are also now amongst the nation’s leaders, represented in all
levels of government and leading their own organizations, such as the Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Commission, to lobby for changes to benefit their people.
Domestic violence and sexual abuse in some communities is dangerously common,
such as that revealed in the Gordon Report on the Swan Valley Noongar Camp, near
Perth, Western Australia.
Indigenous people generally suffer from more health problems and are more likely
to suffer from diabetes, liver disease and glaucoma.
Indigenous people are likely to live in sub-standard housing, have lower incomes,
shorter lives and are more likely to die while in jail than non-Indigenous people.
Their cultural and spiritual identity has been eroded by government policies and
laws and by the unavoidable pressure to assimilate into the European way of life.
This is demonstrated in laws which until late in the 20th century did not give
Indigenous people the same legal rights as non-Indigenous people (in areas such as
land ownership, voting and the ability to bring up their children) and in restrictions
(such as forbidding children from speaking their language).
Practices such as segregation, removing children, and ignoring Indigenous law and
religion have now gone.
Awareness has grown at all levels, from schools and local governments to Federal
politicians and mining companies, that Indigenous people have a special culture
which needs to be maintained.
Special health, housing, arts, policing, youth work, education, arts, tourism and
business policies and programs have been created to support Indigenous people
and their heritage and culture.
Attempts are being made to resolve past injustices, such as that experienced by
children of The Stolen Generation, and the whole Australian community has
supported events like National Sorry Day which expresses sorrow and regret to
Indigenous people.
Tourism ventures, such as art galleries and outback tours, are some other ways
Indigenous culture is being highlighted and appreciated by people from around the
Indigenous people are also now amongst the nation’s leaders, represented in all
levels of government and leading their own organizations, such as the Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Commission, to lobby for changes to benefit their people.
Indigenous people now have their own flag, in red, yellow and black, which Cathy
Freeman first controversially draped around her body during her victory run at the
Commonwealth Games.
Indigenous people are regaining their identity and their ability to show pride in their
heritage and culture.
V. People
The ethnic diversity of the Australian people at the beginning of the 21st century is
in sharp contrast to the history of the continent.
Australia's earliest inhabitants were Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who
arrived around 50,000 years ago, probably from southeast Asia.
The British colonisation of Australia, which began in 1788 with the founding of penal
settlements, dispossessed the original inhabitants of their land, leaving them a
dispersed and depressed minority group.
It was not until the 1960s that government policies acknowledged the uniqueness of
Aboriginal cultures and began to plan strategies to bring the original Australians into
the mainstream of national life.
In recent years land rights' legislation and other initiatives have been implemented,
but the Aboriginal population of about 430,000 is still relatively deprived, with
shorter life expectancy and higher rates of infant mortality and unemployment than
other groups.
For 150 years after colonisation, Australia's population grew with the arrival of
predominantly British settlers. Agriculture and trade developed along European
lines. Political reforms leading to universal suffrage and the establishment of trade
unions were implemented early on, founding a strong political tradition of equal
rights and opportunities.
That tradition, however, did not extend to immigration programs. After Britain's six
colonies were federated as the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, successive
federal governments pursued the policy of a 'white Australia', a restrictive
immigration strategy aimed at prohibiting entry to people of non-European descent.
This essentially race-based policy was gradually dismantled, and finally abandoned
in 1973.
However the post-World War II assisted mass-immigration program had a
significant impact on Australia's Anglo-Celtic tradition. The infusion of non-English
speaking people from Europe and, later, the Middle East resulted in a more diverse
During the 1950s and 1960s, two million immigrants came to Australia, with a peak
intake of 185,000 people in 1969. New settlers from Italy, Greece, Malta, the former
Yugoslavia and Turkey established themselves in cities and towns.
The 1970s saw the overall intake lowered, but the proportion of non-European and
humanitarian immigrants increased with refugees arrived from Chile, Cyprus,
Lebanon and Vietnam and, following the end of the Vietnam War, Indochina and
In today's Australia 24 per cent, or one in four people, were born overseas. Of those,
about a third were born in Asia.
Second-generation success
Adele Murdolo's Italian family were part of that program of mass immigration.
"My parents' generation always said, 'We came here to work'. And certainly the jobs
of that generation, even though they had factory jobs, they still did enjoy some
good conditions in terms of health care, good breaks and permanency."
Australian-born children of immigrant parents, like Adele Murdolo, typify the
success of the second generation, who tend to outdo their parents both in the
education levels they achieve and the incomes they earn.
Adele manages the Migrant Working Women's Health Centre in Victoria, the state
with the largest share of manufacturing. She works with women from a wide
cross-section of non-English speaking backgrounds.
"The women we work with are so varied. We'll visit a factory and find women who
are, say, from the former Yugoslavia, who have been here for 30 years or more.
Then we'll also find women from China, for example, who've got overseas
qualifications - they might be trained doctors but they're in the process of having
their qualifications recognised, which can actually take quite a long time in Australia.
Sometimes it doesn't end up happening."
All major political groupings today remain committed to a multicultural Australia
and a strong immigration program. Current policy divides applicants into two
streams, one for skilled and family migration, the other with humanitarian needs
such as refuge.
The government's priority is to target skilled migrants who will be able to contribute
to the economy, particuarly in regional areas.
Answers to Australia Quiz
1. down under
2. aborigines
3. United States
4. outback 5. sheep
6. station
7. pouch
8. coral
9. prison
Unit 12
10. boomerang
Nationality and Population of New Zealand
Most of the 3.7 million New Zealanders are of British origin. About 14% claim descent
from the indigenous Maori population, which is of Polynesian origin. Nearly 75% of the
people, including a large majority of Maori, live on the North Island. In addition, 167,000
Pacific Islanders also live in New Zealand.
1. Where did the NZ Maori originate from?
2. Who was the first European to discover New Zealand? In which year did he discover
it? Tell the story about the man and his journey.
I. New Zealand People
One of the great pleasures of visiting New Zealand is meeting and getting to know its
people. In a world which is too busy, too late, too tired, too suspecting to give you
the time of day, New Zealanders are a breath of fresh air.
Most incoming tourists are immediately surprised at the friendliness of the locals and
their willingness to help. It doesn't stop there. These are a people whose hospitality
extends to inviting you in to their homes for a cup of tea and then extending it into
an invitation to spend the night. Their generosity extends so far that when I hitched
a 5 hour ride to Christchurch, I found my fellow backpacker to be rather amazed that
this time she actually hadn't been invited to spend the night by the family that picked
us up. It seems hospitality is in the blood. You'll find a warm welcome even at backpackers
and camping grounds, frequently family-run businesses, where your 'hosts' will not only
take your money but offer information on local sightseeing.
New Zealanders live in a country that is astoundingly beautiful and astonishingly varied
and they know it. However, unlike their European and American counterparts, their
patriotism is a genuine appreciation for the graceful and rugged beauty of their land.
They have seen ancient glaciers descend into a subtropical forest, swum alongside
dolphins and witnessed volcanoes erupting. If anything, for all the surrounding beauty,
kiwi's have a knack for understatement. While the Maori dubbed the North Island
Te-Ika-a-Maui and the South Island Te-Waka-a-Maui, the two islands have simply been
called the North and South Island. Nevertheless, even though they may not be the first
to blow their own trumpet, New Zealanders are in love with the land.
They are avid trampers or hikers, climbers, kayakers and sailors. If there is something
out there to be seen they have to get out their and see, feel and experience nature's
beauty. So much so, that where nature has not provided access to man, kiwi ingenuity
has found a way to get you there. They've invented jetboats for transport on shallow
lakes and some believe a New Zealander invented the first plane. Kiwis simply get high
on nature. It's a natural high which they've enhanced with the invention of adventure
sports like bungy jumping, black water rafting, jet skiing and adventure racing.
Despite the beauty, this is one country where nature is unpredictable. The weather often
dominates the news. Floods, droughts, earthquakes and avalanches frequently cause havoc
to farmers and residents, destroying land and livelihood. The Kiwi's take it all in as
the natural order of things, responding to the chaos with a, 'She'll be right'. Kiwi
blood seems to have an inner resilience in the face of adversity and there's simply no
place for moaners and whingers within the Kiwi spirit.
There's no such thing as a typical kiwi, they come in all shapes, sizes and colours.
When the pioneers settled here intermarriage with the Maori was common practise and one
which continues to do this day. As such, it helped to foster positive relations between
two very diverse peoples and cultures. Of course, no piece written
about New Zealanders is complete without the Maori. Having been the
first to arrive in the land back in circa 1100-1200AD, they have
survived the pioneers as well as the muskets and the western diseases
they brought them.
The Maori arrived here by canoe from Polynesia and settled mainly in
the North Island where they found a milder climate and a ready supply
of food. Nowadays, the greater proportion of Maori still live in the
North Island. With a population that accounts for about 15% of the
total population, they are an integral part of the New Zealand. Not
only do many New Zealanders have some Maori blood in their ancestry but Maori is
pro-actively taught in primary school. The Maori culture calls for and receives respect.
Nevertheless, despite governmental attempts with bilingual signs/protocol and Maori
funding, history has not yet been forgotten. When the Maori signed the infamous Treaty
of Waitangi, they were appalled when its terms weren't respected. It is a feeling which
still cuts to the bone today. As the treaty states, "Her Majesty the Queen of England
confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand, and to the respective
families and individuals thereof, the full, exclusive and undisturbed possession of
their Lands and Estates, Forests, Fisheries, and other properties....," . It's a tough
one. While the Maori claim that their land has been stolen from them, the pioneers cleared
the land for farming and have lived there for 3 or 4 generations.
Whichever way you look at it there's no denying that the Maori enrich this culture. Their
tradition is rich in the art of storytelling. An art which has been handed from generation
to generation in rich mythological tales which describe the birth of the culture to the
soul's journey to the afterworld. Artistically, the Maori also continue to shine.
Traditionally, they tattooed their faces with fantastic designs carved into the skin
and dyed. The Marae, canoes and daily utensils, were also painted in earth colours and
intricate designs. Personally, I think that Maori art provides a brilliant
representation of its people. The colours like the people are warm and inviting, the
designs intricate and painstaking, much like their past and present.
Finally, New Zealand contains the greatest population of Pacific Islanders in the world.
They have settled here from Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands and other NZ protectorates.
They have settled mainly in the North and represent about 5% of the population.
II. Maori Population
The Maori people are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They are Polynesian and
comprise about 10% of the country's population. Maoritanga is the native language which
is related to Tahitian and Hawaiian. It is believed that the Maori migrated from Polynesia
in canoes about the 9th century to 13th century AD.
Dutch navigator Abel Tasman was the first European to encounter the Maori. Four members
of his crew were killed in a bloody encounter in 1642. In 1769 British explorer James
Cook established friendly relations with some Maori. By 1800, visits by European ships
were relatively frequent.
At this time, the Maori population was severely reduced with the arrival of European
settlers. War & disease took their toll till eventually the population dropped to about
In 1840 representatives of Britain and Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi. This
treaty established British rule, granted the Maori British citizenship, and recognized
Maori land rights.
Today many of the treaty's provisions are disputed and there has been
an effort from the New Zealand Government to recompense Maori Tribes
for some land that was illegally confiscated.
The present Maori population has increased to about 250,000 and the
Maori live in all parts of New Zealand, but predominately in the North
Island where the climate is warmer.
The Maori have adapted well to living in 21st century New Zealand, yet
they have retained their unique culture, and this rich culture
contributes much to New Zealand as a whole.
Maori legend says that the Maori came from "Hawaiki",
the legendary homeland about 1000 years ago. When the
Maori arrived in Aotearoa (New Zealand) they found
a land of volcanic activity and snow capped mountains.
Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand and means
Land of the long white cloud.
There are many theories about the origins of the
Maori. The Maori say that the island of Hawaiki could
have been near Hawaii. The commonly accepted theory
today, says that the Maori originated in China, and
travelled via Taiwan, the Philippines to Indonesia,
onto Melanesia and reached Fiji. From there to Samoa
and on to the Marquesas and turned South West to
Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Some believe that the Maori found Aotearoa probably by chance as they were probably blown
off course. But there is also evidence that the Maori had sophisticated ancient knowledge
of the stars and ocean currents and this knowledge is carved in their "whare" (houses).
The term "Whakapapa" is used to describe Maori genealogy. The word "Papa" doesn't mean
father but rather anything broad, flat and hard such as a flat rock. Whakapapa means
to place in layers and this is the way that different orders of genealogies are looked
at. One generation upon another. The Maori term for descendant is uri, its precise meaning
is offspring or issue.
Before the coming of the Pakeha (White Man) to
New Zealand all literature in Maori was orally
included many legends and waiata (song). The
most recognised tradition is the "Haka" which is
a war dance. The Haka was performed before the
onset of war by the Maori last century, but has
been immortalized by New Zealand's Rugby Team
the All Blacks, who perform this dance before
every game.
The traditional Maori welcome is called a
powhiri, this involves a hongi which is a
greeting that involves pressing noses as opposed to a kiss.
Another prominent feature of Maori culture are the striking tattoos
that were worn. Full faced tattoos or "moko", amongst the Maori tribes
was predominantly a male activity. Female forms of moko were
restricted to the chin area , the upper lip, and the nostrils. Today
there is an increasing number of Maori who are opting to receive their
Moko, in an effort to preserve their culture and identity.
One traditional form of Maori way of cooking called a Hangi is a feast cooked in the
earth. Stones are heated in a fire in a dug out pit and covered in cabbage leaves or
watercress to stop the food from burning. Mutton, pork, chicken, potatoes and Kumera
(a sweet potato) are then unusually lowered into the pit in a basket. The food is covered
with Mutton cloth or similar and traditionally with flax. Finally earth is placed on
top to keep in the steam. The food takes about 3 hours to cook. The Hangi is still popular
and is a viable alternative to a weekend barbecue. The unique taste of food cooked in
a Hangi can best be described as steamed food with an earthen flavour.
Kawiti the Master Engineer and the Northern War
By James Graham
No single man is more responsible for the remarkable Maori resistance than Kawiti, the
great Nga Puhi chief.. His engineering talents were such that the British assumed his
Pa were designed by Englishmen.
Kawiti was an old and respected chief amongst his tribe by the start of the wars 1845.
He earned his mana in Hongi Hika's expeditions and in later engagements of the musket
wars. It was in these battles that Kawiti learnt the power of the musket and the complete
inadequacy of traditional pa in the face of a musket armed enemy. Nga Puhi were rarely
on the defensive during the Musket Wars. This denied Kawiti any chance of testing in
battle his ideas for a new design of pa, one that could be successfully defended by
Kawiti joined Hone Heke in the first major setback to European plans for New Zealand,
the fall of Kororareka. Heke a younger Nga Puhi chief had already felled the flagpole
at Kororareka three times when Kawiti joined him on his fourth attempt to remove the
flagstaff. Unlike Heke's previous attempts the flagstaff and town were defended by 250
imperial troops. While the Maori numbered 450 the soldiers held pre-prepared positions,
had artillery support and new the Maori attack was eminent. The reason for Maori victory
was a silent coordinated three pronged attack that gave the Maori tactical surprise.
Kororareka along with its flagstaff was destroyed with property damage estimated at
50,000 pounds. Neither chief intended to sack Kororareka but no general in the world
could prevent his soldiers looting an empty town full of rum. The loss of the fifth largest
European settlement in New Zealand was a bitter blow to European immigration and the
expansion of the infant colony.
The reasons why Kawiti joined Heke in his rebellion are numerous. Kawiti was primarily
concerned about British encroachment on his rangatiratanga. Perhaps he was even
influenced by his old comrade in arms Hongi Hika's dying speech, traditionally the most
important in Maori folklore. "If ever there should land on this shore a people who do
not work, who neither buy nor sell and who always have arms in their hands then beware
that these are are a people, whose only occupation is war. When you see them make war
against them. Then, oh my children be brave! Then oh my friends be strong! Be brave that
you may not be enslaved and that your country may not become the possession of strangers."
It was his desire to keep his people free that made Kawiti sign The Declaration of
Independence and initially hostile to the Treaty of Waitangi. Though he eventually signed,
Kawiti remained true to many Maori customs and traditions.
Kawiti then turned his attention to the design, fortification and defence of pas.
Puketutu while Heke's pa was defended by Kawiti and 140 of his warriors. Even though
the British took four days to march to Puketutu the pa was not finished by the time the
soldiers arrived on 7 May 1845. Faced with the prospect of defending an unfinished pa
against a more numerous opposition the two chiefs devised cunning a plan. The British
attack duly came on 8 May 1845 and the plan was implemented by Kawiti and Heke. Just
as the British attacking force was about to assault the pa Kawiti who had been hiding
in the bush attacked the storming party in the rear. The British fought Kawiti back only
to be attacked by a party from the pa. As the party withdrew back to the pa Kawiti attacked
again. The British had the upper hand in the fighting with Kawiti, however the storming
party had lost a quarter of its number and was forced to withdraw. Puketutu is an example
of brilliant improvisation of established Maori military tactics by Kawiti and Heke.
The tactical victory lay with the chiefs but not by a large margin. More important was
what the chiefs learned, that in open battle one on one British soldiers were superior
to Maori warriors. This lesson was never forgotten by Kawiti and a later generation of
Maori who fought in subsequent wars against the British.
The British defeat at Puketutu forced the government to mount two more major expeditions
against the chiefs. Ohaeawai is examined in more detail in resource two. While Ohaeawai
was Kawiti's greatest victory his most formidable pa was Ruapekapeka. Ruapekapeka
suffered two weeks of constant bombardment before Kawiti and Heke abandoned it. The rua
protected the garrison during the bombardment Kawiti was able to claim a strategic
victory over the British.
Kawiti designed advanced fortifications to protect his rangatiratanga. After the wars
northern chiefs continued to exercise substantial sovereignty over their people up to
and well after the death of Heke and Kawiti.
IV. The Tattoo (Ta Moko)
Tapu is the strongest force in Māori life. It has numerous meanings and references. Tapu
can be interpreted as "sacred", or defined as "spiritual restriction" or "implied
prohibition", containing a strong imposition of rules and prohibitions. A person, an
object or a place, which is tapu, may not be touched by human contact. In some cases,
not even approached. A person, object or a place could be made sacred by tapu for a certain
time, and the two main types of tapu were private and public. Private tapu concerned
individuals, and public tapu concerned communities.
In earlier times, tribal members of a higher rank would not touch objects which belonged
to members of a lower rank. This was considered "pollution". Similarly, persons of a
lower rank could not touch the belongings of a highborn person. Death was the penalty.
A breach of "tapu" was to commit a hara (violation) could incur the wrath of the Gods.
Certain objects were particularly tapu, so much so that it was a dangerous act to even
touch them, apart from suitably qualified priests. In 1772 the French explorer Marion
du Fresne was killed for breaching a particular "tapu".
In earlier times food cooked for a chief was tapu, and could not be eaten by an inferior.
A chief's house was tapu, and even the chief could not eat food in the interior of his
house. A woman could not enter a chief's house unless a special religious ceremony was
performed. (the karakia)
An ariki (chief) and a tohunga (healer or priest) were lifelong tapu persons. Not only
were their houses tapu but also their possessions, including their clothing. Burying
(urupa) and places of death (wahi tapu) were always tapu, and these areas were
often surrounded by a protective fence.
Two other types of tapu were "rahui and "aukati", but "tapu" itself was the most powerful,
the most important, and the most far reaching into Māori life.
"Noa", on the other hand, lifts the "tapu" from the person or the object. "Noa" is similar
to a blessing. Tapu and noa remain part of Māori culture today, although persons today
are not subject to the same tapu as that of previous times. A new house today, for example,
may have a "noa" ceremony to remove the "tapu", in order to make the home safe before
the family moves in.
Today, tapu observances are still in evidence concerning sickness, death, and burial.
Tapu is also evident in the Marae and in the Whare. The original reasons for some "tapu"
are unclear today, but other reasons for "tapu" included the conservation of natural
environment. This was seen to benefit the community as a whole.
Tattoo - Ta Moko
According to Māori mythology, tattooing commenced with a love affair between a young
man by the name of Mataora (which means "Face of Vitality") and a young princess of the
underworld by the name of Niwareka.
One day however, Mataora beat Niwareka, and she left Mataroa, running back to her father's
realm which was named "Uetonga".
Mataora, filled with guilt and heartbreak followed after his princess Niwareka. After
many trials, and after overcoming numerous obstacles, Mataora eventually arrived at the
realm of "Uetonga", but with his face paint messed and dirty after his voyage. Niwareka's
family taunted and mocked Mataora for his bedraggled appearance. In his very humbled
state, Mataora begged Niwareka for forgiveness, which she eventually accepted.
Niwareka's father then offered to teach Mataora the art of tattooing, and at the same
time Mataora also leant the art of Taniko - the plaiting of cloak borders in many colours.
Mataora and Niwareka thus returned together to the human world, bringing with them the
arts of ta moko and taniko.
V. Abel Tasman
Abel Janszoon Tasman (1603 - 1659) was a Dutch seafarer and explorer, born in Lutjegast,
a village in the province of Groningen, best known for his voyages of 1642 and 1644,
in the service of the VOC (Dutch East India Company). His was the first European
expedition to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) and New Zealand.
He also mapped substantial portions of Australia.
His task was to investigate the country then known as New Holland, now known as Australia,
of which the Dutch had already discovered the west coast, and to determine whether it
was part of Terra Australis. It was hoped by the VOC that he would thus locate a new
unexploited continent for trade. To do so, on his first voyage (1642 to 1643) he sailed
from Jakarta (then known as Batavia) with two small ships, the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen,
first to Mauritius, and from there sailed east at a higher latitude than the Dutch had
done before. This way, he completely missed Australia, but did finally find land at the
island of Tasmania on November 24. He named it Van Diemen's Land, but later British
colonists would rename it after its discoverer. After some investigation, he sailed
further east, and discovered New Zealand, which he named Staten Landt on the theory that
it was connected to a piece of land south of the tip of South America. He sailed north
along its west coast. At the northern end of the South Island he anchored the ships in
a bay, where in his only encounter with the Maori four of his sailors were killed. He
named it Murderers' Bay and sailed north, but missed Cook Strait separating the north
and south islands, believing New Zealand to be a single land, and part of Terra Australis.
En route back to Batavia, he discovered the Tonga archipelago on January 21, 1643.
On his second voyage, in 1644, he followed the south coast of New Guinea eastward. He
missed the Torres Strait between New Guinea and Australia, and continued his voyage along
the Australian coast. He mapped the north coast of Australia.
From the point of view of the VOC, Tasman's explorations were a disappointment: He had
neither found a promising area for trade nor a useful new shipping route. For over a
century (until the era of James Cook), Tasmania and New Zealand were not again visited
by Europeans. Australia was visited, but usually only by accident.
As with many explorers, Tasman's name has been honoured in many places. These include:
the island of Tasmania, including features such as
the Tasman Peninsula
the Tasman Bridge
the Tasman Highway
the passenger/vehicle ferry Abel Tasman
the Tasman Sea
in New Zealand, the Tasman Glacier and the Abel Tasman National Park
VI. More Asians in New Zealand than Polynesians by 2021
SYDNEY, June 10 Kyodo
New Zealand will be home to more Asians than Polynesians and their population will more
than double to almost equal that of indigenous Maori people by 2021, Statistics New
Zealand said Tuesday.
The Asian population in New Zealand is projected to reach 604,000 in 2021, a 120% increase
from 2001, Government Statistician Brian Pink said.
Although the annual Asian growth rate is expected to slow from 13% in 2002 to less than
2% by 2021, the population will still grow at a faster pace than the total New Zealand
population because of the higher levels of migration, he said in a statement.
Asians will outnumber Pacific island immigrants who are expected to account for 9% of
New Zealanders by 2021, Statistics NZ has said. New Zealand's Maori population is
projected to make up 17% by then.
Estimates for Europeans will be released this month, but Pakeha, as they are referred
to in Maori, represented 80% of New Zealand in 2001 and their population is expected
to decline.
The government has turned New Zealand into the ''last Asian colony,'' controversial
anti-immigration Member of Parliament and leader of the New Zealand First Party Winston
Peters said Tuesday.
Artificial population changes in New Zealand through immigration will ''create
considerable social and cultural disruption'' and are based on a policy of ''social
madness,'' he said in a statement.

Unit 1 Nationality and Population of U