Embracing cultural heritage

Cultural roots

My grandmother and mother embraced their cultural heritage (roots) long before it was "acceptable". Grandmother grew up learning to understand the peers she spent the most time with. Because of her parents choices she was to be denied her heritage. Her Aunts, uncles, and cousins who were often visitors taught her the language which should have been hers from birth. She learned in reality because she had no choice. The language spoken in her home was English, her heritage, and her relatives were Cherokee.

Source

Learning

They also taught her enough that she was able to become the person she wanted to be. In the end she was better educated in "her own" culture than from the three years she spent in the "American school system." If American education hadn't been mandatory chances are my mother, my siblings, nor I, would have been "sent to American school." It ended up that those of my generation were exposed to all the cultures which made us up.

Treatment by others

My mother grew up treated badly by her peers, yet chose the same for her children. There were choices made which made it easier than it had been for her though. Both generations realized the importance of sharing all the cultures which made each who they were, not only that but the diversity gained with each new parent, creating a melting pot within the family. In my own life many choices were made based on what I had learned of the different cultures which make me who I am.

Being accepted

As a teen my mother ran away from home. She went into the southwest United States which is where she increased her knowledge of Mexican Spanish. The people of this group accepted her for who she was. This influence guided her life in many ways for years. Cherokee and Spanish became the languages of our home as she knew her children would be living among those who spoke those languages.

Blending cultures

Each of five cultures added something to my overall being at different times in my life. As a child American Indian (Cherokee/Mohawk) was the ruling factor. Cherokee and Mexican Spanish were the languages spoken at home. The area where we lived contained more Mexican and Indian inhabitants than “Americans.” German and Mohawk/Amish through the men who were father, stepfather, and grandfather were the others. African American came into play three times also in very unique ways.

Learning cultural differences

When my mother remarried Amish Culture was brought to the fore. My maternal grandfather had been raised as Amish even though he was more Mohawk than Amish. One of my stepfathers had been raised in an area which contained mostly Amish inhabitants although he was not of the faith. At the point he came into our lives we each understood enough English to enjoy his stories about the differences he had seen in his life.


The child he added to the mix like the rest spoke Cherokee/Spanish as she didn’t have much choice. They were the languages of our home. Since her father was in and out he didn’t object, but did make sure she had more time spent learning English before starting school than the rest of us had.

What a mess

My father was full blooded German. He was raised in America and came into my mother’s life after teaching his first year of high school. His languages were German and English. How and why he and my mother hit it off I will never understand. They had a love/hate relationship which lasted my lifetime. They came together more to fill my needs than any other reason. Those times were the times they got along best.

My time spent with him as a young child was few and far between. He didn’t know I had been born until I was eight years old. At that time my maternal grandmother was spending more time with me than anyone else. My grandmother told him how things would be and he had no choice but to accept. I didn’t carry his name, and he paid nothing for my support. Knowing those things he still accepted and wanted me to be part of his life. He actually spent more time with my grandmother as a house-guest than he spent with my mother. She was always welcome in his home.

While my grandmother was with him she was learning about him and of his culture. As always she took the best and left the rest. She did find that he was a worthwhile person and learned to understand the reason he wanted me to be part of his life.

Both grandmothers spent time together and communicated each with broken English, each had a different core language. I won’t say they got along well but they did get along. Although I heard “you little heathen” from my paternal grandmother often, I never heard her use anything similar about my grandmother. It appears they each respected the culture of the other, until it came to their grandson.

Love understands no culture

In each case in my life those involved not only embraced their own culture and heritage but the cultures of those they came in contact with also. Often a culture was not taken into consideration when choosing a spouse, although through the years there ended up being a blending. If not by the parents, then the children created by them. Each was allowed to hold true to their heritage. Those which benefited both parents were always taken into consideration.

I do believe though it was those who refused to be mainstreamed who opened the doors for the salad bowl mentality to become part of American society. The government also learned that it is our diversity which makes us a strong country. Each culture and heritage adds to the overall society.

© April 7, 2012 Lisech Global Ventures Inc. All rights reserved.

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wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 4 years ago from Central United States Author

Mhatter99 believe me you are not alone. There have been way too many who lose their heritage because they are not exposed to it. This is what would have happened to my Grandmother if her parents had truly had their way. Thank goodness Great grandmother took her relatives in or I wouldn't be who I am today. My grandmother lived in a house a few blocks from where she was raised and showed me the house many times where the whole group lived for over a year. In total there were 13 children and three adults living in a house not big enough for me alone. Now it reminds me of my house at times. There are still days when we have sixteen children and three to six adults here. Not as much now as business has become more involved.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

great piece... i was a cultural orphan


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 4 years ago from Central United States Author

ishwaryaa22 our bodies are a sum total of the cultures we came from. How could we be true to who we really are if we don't embrace each of them? In my grandmothers case her parents tried to deny from her the parts of her culture which truly made her happy. My mother like me was given choices. We chose to be who we became.


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

An engaging hub on 5 cultures blended together in your life as well as your family story! Seems growing up in a multi-cultural family is indeed a learning experience! Well-explained hub on your cultural background!

Thanks for SHARING. Interesting. Voted up & Socially Shared.


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 4 years ago from Central United States Author

Thanks for stopping by Brett. I don't believe I would understand British culture. One thing I have learned (once I became Americanized) is everyone gets up in the morning and puts their pants on one leg at a time just like I do now.

As a child pants were for school, otherwise what I wore was tied around my waist while standing. Going to school wasn't my choice as a young child. I was being obedient to my mother and grandmother.

Cultural etiquette now that is something I have learned a lot about. Each of the cultures which were part of my life were different. Each had to be learned in turn.

Most people think American Indians were uncivilized, nothing could be further from the truth. There was a proper way to do everything. The world was treated with reverence and respect. People were treated the same.

There was an interdependence upon the people of each tribe. The shaman or medicine man was treated with more respect sometimes than the Chief of the tribe. The female healers came second. These were usually the oldest members of the tribe. They were given a place of honor for having survived the longest. I would go on but this is a comment, not a hub.

Thanks for Sharing Brett.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Interesting hub. This is something that you can't really understand until you have been a part of it. The benefits, the etiquette, the misunderstandings, the unique approaches to life ... it is all a part of living in a mixed culture. While sometimes it can drive me crazy, most of the time I just enjoy the unusual twists and turns compared to 'traditional British living' lol.

Thanks for SHARING.


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 4 years ago from Central United States Author

Becky I do have time off from business just not often to write articles now. Tonight all the children we have currently living between the two houses are with us. We dyed Easter eggs tonight in readiness for "the hunt" tomorrow.

Two of the mothers are having a night out. This is important for them. We are working on a night out for the third. It is hard working for the corporation and raising children at the same time. These women deserve time away too. The only reason I can work at the moment is the children are all sleeping.

There have been days I have worked between off and on line thirty six hours straight. You would think that after a year it would be easier. The problem now is we have people worldwide helping with the business. For some now it is now early in the day the Monday after Easter, or soon will be.

I do strive to be as wide awake as possible when I have the children. At the moment there are two adults here. In the morning however there will only be one. There will also be four less children. Of the ones who will remain three of the four are the children with ADHD so take constant supervision and responsibility for them requires being wide awake. There is no time to be depressed.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

All work and no play makes for very depressed people. Write for you once in a while. It is good for your soul.


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 4 years ago from Central United States Author

Thanks Becky, sometimes a break from the daily grind of business makes me feel better. This article I consider my Easter vacation from Business. Since these articles earn for the corporation I am not sure this applies though.

It appears hub pages and Google are finding value in these articles. I must have one on a page one somewhere because I am getting visitors for at least one of the articles from search engines now.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I really enjoy the hubs that you write concerning your heritage and how you grew up. They are so interesting. Keep writing and I will keep reading. Lovely stories.

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