Ethnic Research Paper

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Culture, United States Pages: 13 (3143 words) Published: January 22, 2015
Keeping the culture alive
Morals and values are passed down and taught to one through traditions, customs, and beliefs. However as these traditions, customs, and beliefs are passed down they are altered through each generation. Native americans and other cultures lose a bit of themselves every year through the influence of western culture. Western culture not only influences traditions and customs but also devalues the importance of the cultures. Through the ignorance of today’s American society that we live in, the respect held for Native Americans and other cultures are fading day-by-day disrespecting them through selfish benefits. However, disregarding the loss of culture through the western culture, Native Americans put the effort to preserve their culture as much as possible through storytelling. Native americans have nothing but stories to tell. In order for them to know they have existed in the past. Native americans keep themselves and their culture alive through the power of storytelling, regardless of how the stories are expressed by the storytellers, they all have the implication point at the end. To prevent Native American heritage from fading, Native Americans tell stories as time changes. Being born and brought up in the United States, I realized that the western culture has more of an impact on me than my home-based culture, Indian. The day I went to a temple in India was when I realized I was not influenced by my culture at all; instead I was influenced more by western culture. When I went to the temple, I was familiar with manners that were performed in a temple, however I was not as familiar with the language that was being spoken as the priest said the prayers. My mother had taken me up to the prayer room where the priest was standing in front of the stage, where all the statues of the gods were set up. I was standing as I clasped my hands in prayer. The priest walked up to me asking me, “What is your name child?” in Hindi. As I struggled to understand him, I looked back at my mother for assistance, and she translated for me telling me what the priest was asking before I made a fool out of myself. I replied back saying, “Shivani.” Then the priest asked me another question in Hindi again, “What is this god’s name” as he point at the statue of a god with an elephant head. When he asked me this, I could not comprehend as to what he was asking, I was so baffled. Again, I looked to my mother for help, and she gives me a look as if she expected me to know what the priest was asking me. By this, I realized there was a language barrier between my culture and me. I recognized that if I cannot converse with another Indian, how am I suppose to be close to them in general if western culture is so influential. Culture defines one’s identity, because it is the only way one can connect with another by sharing the same language, stories, traditions, songs, beliefs and most importantly morals. In the PBS article, “Revitalizing Native American Cultures” it states, “Language is really a key to the soul of the culture." I was never taught Hindi properly because I have always lived in the United States; I have always spoken broken Hindi blended with English unlike my parents who were taught the knowledge to speak Hindi fluently because they were taught by parents as they grew up in India. In We Are Still Here by Leigh Podgorski, Katherine states, “When you know your language, you know who you are. But now, today many of my people are in great danger of forgetting who they are.” Because I do not know my language properly, I feel like I am out of place when I go to places where my Indian culture is highly present. I feel as if I do not know who I am. For instance in India I felt out of place because I could not relate with my native members. I did not feel at home, yet I was in my home country. In many cultures such as the Native American and Indian cultures, language holds an important responsibility in one’s life. Language...

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