"For Koreans, there exists a strong belief in filial duty - treating parents with respect and obeying them, caring for them when they are old, giving them a proper burial, and even worshipping them with ceremonies after death. All of these are incorporated into the fundamental ideas of strong kinship values and family ties from Confucianism." (Beller, Pinker, Snapka, Van Dusen). As much as the Koreans transmitted their strong belief in the role of education, proving to have possessed the secret for certain development ahead of many modern society, they also took along the traditional gender roles in the family and society. Their society was fundamentally patriarchal. The father and the sons were making the rules inside the family. Women obey completely to the male members of the family and are responsible for the activities concerning the family life inside and around the house exclusively. There are strict rules that apply for the whole family, everyone man knows his place and role, every woman is aware of her duties and there is a strong emphasis placed on the obeying the rules and discipline and conducting a harmonious life. Confucianism teaches the Koreans to respect their parents to the point of treating them as indisputable spiritual leaders of the family. Due to the differences made between male and female inheritors and their roles inside a family, there is a much higher importance given to the education boys get over the investment in the educational development of girls who leave the house and will be provided for by their husband's family, anyway. Of course, there are differences between generations of Korean-Americans who were born in the U.S. And their parents and grandparents who came here with the luggage of tradition they were taught according to these conceptions, back in Korea.
If the American Koreans up until the last generations that started to change their life style according to modern standards, were fundamentally living in a patriarchal society, the Native Americans know very different types of societies, depending on the tribes they are coming from. There are matriarchal societies, such as those in the Iroquois and the Cherokee tribes.
The roles of men and women were generally well established and kept as such. Rarely, women interfered with what was normally a man's activity, joining them in hunting or being trained for fighting. but, usually, women were responsible for the house activities and everything around it and men went to hunt and fight.
In terms of religion, the Native Americans have come to practise something that is the result of mixing the Catholic elements and their own native rituals. The Native American Church is the religion most Native Americans have.
Confucianism, as explained before, is playing an important role in many aspects of a Korean. Not only does Confucianism invite to belief in higher education as a goal in improving one's life, and stresses the crucial importance of keeping rules and respect authority, but it also leaves a mark on the ways people communicate inside a family and outside it as well. Verbally or nonverbally. "Confucianism teaches that "silence is golden." Therefore, many Koreans are comfortable with moments of prolonged silence throughout their chores and daily activities." (Beller, Pinker, Snapka, Van Dusen).
The religion of the American Koreans, like that of other Asian people, contains a mix of several different religions, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shamanism and Christianity. Confucianism, as shown before has left its indistinguishable imprint on many practical aspects of a Korean-American. Marriages are still arranged sometimes, due to the belief that parents' decisions for their children are sacred, but the new generation is striving more and more to escape these practices and keep up with the modern world they are living in, trying not to damage precious traditions and their ancestor's culture.
Just as balance is kept...
The dishes, except the royal cuisine, are mostly simple and rice is accompanying every meal as base. There are mostly vegetables that are used to prepare the meals whish are three during the days and there are small amount of meat used, too. The dishes are usually containing pickles. Among the most popular is Kimchee, a hot, fermented cabbage. Beside the fermented vegetables that play the role of pickles, the dishes are seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, the Koreans are known as the being very found of the garlic in their food, among all other Asian nations. There are many common traits from the Chinese, Japanese and other Asian cuisines that can be recognised in the Korean cuisine. The most important meal of the day is considered to be the breakfast. The tradition requires a Korean family to eat in silence and in a respectful manner.
The role rice plays in the Korean cuisine is plaid by the corn in the Native American cuisine. We are dealing with two completely different cuisines, of course. The American society as a whole and at a larger scale, the today's world is owing its basic ingredients to the plants grown and used to cook by the Native Americans, as previously shown.
The Native Americans used to life in harmony with their environment, with nature and therefore, their meals are not very elaborate, but keep the simplicity nature offers in its resources. Natural resources are also greatly used to manufacture artefacts that are mostly hand made. Native Americans have opened shops that display such items like clothing, ceramics, shoes like the world renowned moccasins, musical instruments, jewellery, all sorts of decorations for interior design etc.
The Korean music, just as the Native American music has its roots in ancient religious rituals. It is influenced by the Buddhist rituals and based on shamanistic beliefs. It can be divided into two big groups: folk and courtly music. There are three categories of instruments: string, wing and percussion instruments. The folk music is very complex and the court music is very rarely performed today. Unlike the Korean traditional music, the music of the Native Americans is based mainly on the voice, although it is also performed with a variety of instruments. The great variety of tribes makes the Native American music greatly vary from one group to another. Just as the cuisine left its imprint on the American cuisine, the music has also influenced the American music, especially the folk music. Music and dancing are performed with a wide range of occasions, in religious rituals, when invoking spirits etc. Dance is also related to the spiritual rituals but also to moments of joy at celebrating marriages and birthdays.
From many points-of-view, the Korean and the Native Americans could be considered fundamentally different in expressing religious beliefs, in culture, civilization, in life in general. Yet, they have some traits in common and this is the respect till worshiping of the elders and the love for a harmonious life. Beside these two, they have a country they inhabit in common where they fought to affirm themselves or to reaffirm a culture that lasted over thousands of years. The Native Americans are the smallest ethnic group in the U.S. And the most ancient inhabitants of the land, while the Korean-Americans are among the largest minorities and the youngest. They could teach each other the lesson of survival and of fighting to the last resources for what they know they have earned to be their rights.
Beller, T., Pinker, M., Snapka, S., Van Dusen, D. Korean-American Health Care Beliefs and Practices. Retrieved 12 November 2007 at http://www3.baylor.edu/~Charles_Kemp/korean.htm
Young-sik, K. (2003). Koreans in America in the late 1800s. Retrieved November 12, 2007 at http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/1506.html
Korean-American History. Retrieved 11 November, 2007 at http://www.apa.si.edu/Curriculum%20Guide-Final/unit1.htm
In Observance of Centennial of Korean Immigration to the U.S. A Brief History. Retrieved 11 November, 2007 at http://www.naka.org/resources/history.asp
Korean cuisine. Retrieved 11 November 2007 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_cuisine#Korean_table_settings
Native American. Retrieved 12 November, 2007 at http://www.indians.org/articles/native-american.html
Music of Korea. Retrieved November 12, 2007 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Korea#Traditional_instruments
Native Americans in the United States. Retrieved 12 November, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Americans_in_the_United_States#Current_status
Korean-American. History & Current Issues. Retrieved 12 November, 2007 at http://www.msmc.la.edu/ccf/LAC.Korean.html
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