Contexts for Becoming and Belonging
Edited By Mere Berryman, Ann Nevin, Suzanne SooHoo and Therese Ford
Chapter Eleven: The Maintenance and Transmission of Indigenous Languages and Cultures by Immigrants to the United States
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The Maintenance and Transmission of Indigenous Languages and Cultures by Immigrants to the United States
CARLOS PEREZ, PH.D.CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY
EXPERIENCES OF BELONGING
My experience with belonging and feeling included helps me explain the content of the study and allows me to speak in the first person. I was born in Compton, California in the early 1970s where my family has lived since the 1950s. My parents are immigrants from central Mexico from humble backgrounds who wanted to provide a better life for their children. I learned from my parents’ experiences, struggles, and strong work ethic that although there are injustices in the world, there are also opportunities to do well. I learned of my mixed ancestry: my father was of dark complexion and my mother fair-skinned, which is indicative of the European and native characteristics of my genealogical background. I am American of Mexican desent. My ethnic background is Spanish, Portuguese, and Native. In Compton, the population was comprised of African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Samoan Americans. My lens as researcher was shaped by my memories and what I heard and witnessed from childhood to the present. I do not know exactly when I became aware of racial segregation, ethnic discrimination, and socioeconomic inequality, but I believe I became aware of these social ills at an early age. Perhaps the first time I noticed something was wrong and that living conditions were unequal was when my parents took...
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