Tuesday, February 5, 2013

July 26, 2012 - The MultiCultural Festival

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

What flags should would they display? The question came up regarding Ashtabula's Multi-Cultural Festival during preparations for their booth by members of the Wellness & Total Learning Center.

“What's your ethnicity?” is a big question, depending on how far back you look. A complete answer would take you back at least to the mitochondria studies of Bryan Sykes , author of, “The Seven Daughters of Eve,” the book which shook up assumptions about our origins when published in 2001.

DNA, ethnicity, customs, and history make us who we are.

The quick poll taken among the group identified lineage not mentioned already on the Festival site . These were Cherokee, Celtic, subgroups of Celtic, for Welsh and Scots, and the cultural groups of Puritan, Quaker, and Appalachian.

How would these cultural and ethnic roots be honored?

The four main cultural groups present in the colonies before the Revolution were Puritan, Quaker, Chesapeake (second and third sons of English nobility), and Scots, displaced by English policy beginning in the 16th Century, which began the movement of Scots to the colonies. Scots at this point viewed themselves as members of clans, not necessarily seeing themselves as a 'nation.' They were denied the right to display their clan tartans by act of parliament in 1746.

The Welsh managed to keep their land, though they were conquered by England, no mass emigrations took place from Wales.

Puritans, relocating to the colonies, did so as part of a faith-based belief they were the chosen people of God, destined to establish a society where all were equal.

The Quaker colony of Pennsylvania began with 1670 trial of William Penn. The refusal of the jury to find Penn guilty of preaching beliefs not in agreement with the state religion of England, set up a chain of causality eventually affirmed in the 1735 trial of John Peter Zangar in New York The First, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution are examples of the importance of the Zenger Trial, which hinged on the precedent and memory of Penn.

By the early 1800s, Cherokees, had adopted Western customs. The Trail of Tears used state power to steal lands the Cherokee had occupied for at least centuries. Gold had been discovered on those lands.

What should we remember and honor? The answer which emerged did not include flags, but will be displayed at their booth.

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