Native Americans and Korean Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2947 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Native Americans

Native Americans and Korean-Americans are separated by tens of thousands of years when it comes to immigration to the Americas.

The history of Native Americans and their migration to the Americas was traced between 9000 and 50000 years ago. When tackling the topic of migration of the native Americans, one can go as far as almost 50000 years ago. Searches based on DNA are revealed by Sandro Bonatto and Francisco Salzano who write an article about their analysis of "all available sequences of the first hypervariable segment of the human mitochondrial DNA control region." They support the theory of one single major migration that led to the formation and spreading across Americas of the Native Americans, coming from East Central Asia first to Beringia and further then through the Alberta corridor to the rest of the Americas. The same corridor is supposed to have separated these people into those who where settled south, in the Amerind and those who remained in Beringia, the ancestors of Na-Dene, Eskimo, and the Siberian Chukchi. (Bonato and Salzano, 1996).

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The first Koreans that were to be naturalised Americans found their way to America first when a treaty between the U.S. And Korea was signed 1886 that allowed both countries to have diplomatic exchanges and encourage the friendship between the two countries. So, the history of the Korean-Americans goes back on a much shorter scale of a little over 100 hundred years. Still, statistics are reporting a population of Korean-Americans of around 1 million citizens. According to Young-sik (2003), the first Korean who as naturalised American was Suh Jae-pil (aka Philip Jaisohn). He was the first Korean medical doctor in the U.S. The Koreans have something in common with the Native Americans. They arrived in the U.S. In three different waves. It is true that it happened over 100 years, compared to the much more generous time scale the three waves of Native Americans had to populate the American continent.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Native Americans and Korean Americans Assignment

In the case of the Korean-Americans, the first wave was very small and formed of diplomats, dissidents and students. The second wave of immigrants was formed of about 7500 people, mostly men that arrived in Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations, after having signed a contract that lasted usually over a period of three years.

Their arrival was mostly due to the constant seeking of the plantation owners of cheap labor and of different ethnic groups that were less likely to unite and declare strikes. The first Korean Immigrants, who were mostly Cristians, arrived in Hawaii after the Chinese and Japanese workers left the plantations and their arrival was the result of the efforts and ideas of Dr. Allen, "the U.S. minister to the court of King Kojong" (Young-sik, 2003). He persuaded the king it was a good move for him to allow Koreans to go to the U.S. In order to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. He also had a major role in finding the suitable Koreans for this assignment. Due to the very difficult working conditions, most of the Koreans preferred going to the mainland and working as farm tenants or opening small businesses while others returned to their homeland.

The second wave of Korean Immigrants arrived in the U.S. during the Korean War in the 1950's and it involved the Korean wives the American soldiers brought home and the Korean children adopted by American families. There were also some workers and students that were allowed to migrate to the U.S. during the war.

The third and last wave of Korean Immigration began with the passing of the Immigration Act that allowed Koreans among other Asians to come to the U.S. In numbers never reached before.

Looking at the two American ethnic groups, the Native Americans and the Korean-Americans, one can easily see how the history shows two developments that are economically and socially going in opposite directions. The Native Americans were the first to settle and spread across the American continent and till the colonization by the Europeans, in the sixteenth century, they lived here as hunter gatherers first, then started fishing, cultivating the land, building more complex settlements. At the arrival of the European first colonizers, there were around 900.000 Native Americans in North America who spoke over three hundred different languages and around ten million on the entire continent. Sadly, today, the Native Americans are the smallest ethnic minority in the U.S. In 1786 there was established the first reservation for Native Americans and each of the tribes were dealt with as an independent nation. The reservations were theoretically meant to grant these populations the right to preserve their culture and civilization but it led in fact to their inevitable destruction. Today there are many Native Americans, over a half of the entire population who live in poverty and are even reported to live below the level of poverty, compared to the modern American standards of living. (Indian Gaming and Indian Poverty, 1997). The gaming as a major way of supporting life in the twenty first century in the U.S. is not the best way to stay at the same level of living standards most people have today in the U.S.

The reservations that were established as means of preserving traditions functioned as traps for their inhabitants and kept them stuck in a time loop.

The Korean-Americans, on the other hand, even if also discriminated against, fought with the adversities imposed by their differences compared to the white majority and understood the importance of keeping the pace with times. The Korean immigrants were always driven by the hope in a better, economically improved life and especially for a superior way of achieving not only economic wealth but also a social status granted by a superior education to their children. This is especially proper to those who believe that education means everything and the only certain way to escape poverty and move higher onto the social scale. A third of the Korean-American population lives today in California and Los Angeles is the centre of the cultural and business life of the Korean-Americans. They live, work and earn a living today in much pleasant ways their parents and grandfathers did. Even if the latter were educated people, the first generation had enormous difficulties in practising the work they were trained for because of the language. That is why the first generations were mostly condemned to do mostly hard work that required no special preparation and knowledge even if they were trained specialists in many working fields. The situation has changed slowly but in a progressive way for their offspring. "Nationally now Korean-Americans own 20% of all dry-cleaning businesses. In Southern California they own 45% of liquor stores, 46% of small grocery markets, and 45% of one-hour photo shops. A study done of green groceries on a segment of Broadway in Manhattan, New York found that Koreans owned 75% of the groceries, and 78% of the owners had college degrees"(Korean-American, (

Native Americans were playing an important role in history as far as the agriculture is concerned. Not only did they take wild plants and transformed them into domestic crops, bur they also improved them and developed new ones. The whole word owes the presence of corn, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, cocoa bens, pineapple, pumpkins and many other vegetables on our daily menu to the agricultural activities the Native Americans developed.

The Native Americans unlike, the Korean-Americans are split into tribes that have today the right to form governments. There are 561 federally recognized tribal governments" ( irony of history makes American Indians American citizens first in 1924, by the Indian Citizenship Act. The continuous efforts of the different government policies to engulf and melt into the mainstream of the Native American culture were doomed right from the start and were never successful. Whole tribes were decimated and the imposed new different way of life, regardless of their psychology, history, mentalities, culture and social life only troubled their minds and brought many of those who were forced to forget about their ancestors and civilization and adopt the American way of life as if their ancestor's never existed came to live unbalanced lives that led to mental illness or disorders and threw them into the land of different kinds of addiction.

The Korean trust in the vital role of education was not abandoned in the sugar fields in Hawaii, at the beginning of the twentieth century and it also travelled with them by the middle of the same Century during the war or afterwards, when the largest wave of Korean immigrants entered the U.S. The result is that they excel, as the numbers show, in various scientific fields or in the business area. Their determination to succeed and trust in the future generations gave them the power to put relentless efforts into the continuous improving of their standards and social status, despite discrimination not only from the part of the white population, but from other minority groups as well.

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How to Cite "Native Americans and Korean" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Native Americans and Korean.  (2007, November 12).  Retrieved September 17, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Native Americans and Korean."  12 November 2007.  Web.  17 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Native Americans and Korean."  November 12, 2007.  Accessed September 17, 2021.