How would you characterize the experience of indigenous people in the U.S.?
The indigenous people in the U.S continue to face prejudice and are a neglected group. Many feel that they deserve it if the government does not accord them the recognition and privileges as native Americans. They think being indigenous entails having an intimate interconnectedness with their homeland, and some feel that the term ‘Indian American’ is stereotypical and thus offensive. They believe that the government oppresses them, but they fight to assert their culture by holding on to their culture, being proud of their roots, and even speaking their native languages. While their culture and history may not mean anything to other Americans, to the Native Americans, it means the world to them. A native’s name that may seem weird and misplaced to the rest of the Americans is wealthy, a reminder of their struggle, suffering, and survival through various atrocities like settler colonialism. They believe that their existence is resistance and thus do not fear identifying with their culture and championing their rights as a people.
How would you characterize the experience of Latinos/Chicanos in the U.S.?
The Latinos in the U.S often feel drawn between being more American and conservative, inclining more to their roots. Despite the confusion and the classification that is often shallow in assigning Latino individuals an identity, these individuals believe that they view themselves as the most fundamental aspect. Due to discrimination, Latin parents tend to coach their children to speak only English to blend it and avoid bias. However, most notably, many Spanish due believe that they have a future in the U.S and that, as a community, they are motivated to work harder to prove that they indeed belong. The prevalent discrimination exists such that if one is closer to being white, such Latino is supreme while those far from it are inferior. This group believes that they are a link between the white mainstream society and the black fraction of the community since they embody the best of both sides; they have everything in them; thus, being Latino in modern-day America is phenomenal.
How do the in-class community building exercises reflect the sense of community valued by Latinos and indigenous people?
The Latinos and the Indigenous people’s values for family and love for one another are apparent in the in-class community building. The Latinos and the Native American believe that unity and love are essential for the community’s existence. John Cena also echoes this by advocating for true patriotism that traverses race, gender, or sexual orientation. The in-class community-building exercise encourages unity and love amongst students while also culturing a sense of belonging by allowing us to reflect on our cultural roots. By encouraging people to embrace who they are, this exercise ultimately enables individuals to find true happiness, a virtue that the Natives and the Latino communities cherish.
What have you gotten out of this class? What have you learned? What will you take with you?
This class has been beneficial, as I have learned much about Latino and Native Americans. This knowledge shapes my perspective toward them, and I admire their courage to stand up and defend their culture. These cultures, which many would write off as non-existent, are, in fact, very much alive and richly intact. Additionally, I learned that what matters in one’s identity is the individual’s perception of self, that even though people may assign labels, what we become often comes down to how we view ourselves. Those who have a strong sense and refuse to be defined by these labels achieve more and are genuinely free individuals. Instead, we should not shun but celebrate our cultures and learn to tolerate other people’s cultures.
A Conversation with Latinos on Race | Mar 7, 2016.” YouTube Uploaded by New York Times, Apr 7. 2016, bit.ly/U8Ys7n.
Cut. Reservation | Native Americans | |. YouTube Uploaded by One Word, Nov 24, 2015, www.cut.com/sponsorship.
NBC NEWS. Defining Latino: Young People Talk Identity, Belonging. YouTube, uploaded by NBC Latino | NBC News, Sept 14, 2018.
Marshall, Joseph. Lakota Way. YouTube uploaded by Sjpielsewolf Wotanson, Nov 7, 2007, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP6xqVrW7_g.
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