History On November 28, 1912, Albania proclaimed its independence from the Ottoman Empire From 1944 until 1990 it was a Communist country Religion was prohibited from 1967 to 1990 In 1991 the country’s name changed from People’s Republic of Albania to the Republic of Albania Between 1990 and 1992 Albania ended its 47 year Communist Rule and became a multi-party democracy Albanian Americans feel a strong attachment to Albania and support events that occur in the homeland
Immigration Albanians are the most recent group to migrate to the United States Prior to WWI, Albanians migrated to America because of poor economic conditions, political concerns, or to escape military conscription in the Turkish army A second wave of immigrants came in 1944 after the country came under Communist control In 1967 Albanians migrated to the U.S. when religion was outlawed
Immigration cont. In the 1990s many migrated to America as refugees of war In 1999, the United States granted legal alien status to about 20,000 Kosovar refugees Most early immigrants were illiterate Early immigrants settled in or around the Boston area
Statistics According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data, there are 193,183 Albanian Americans living in the United States. 107,108 are Albanian born citizens; 86,075 are U.S. born citizens The states with the largest population of Albanians are New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Illinois.
Economics A large population of Albanians settled in Massachusetts They found work at the American Optical Company in Southbridge or textile mills in New Bedford Albanians were successful as small business owners of fruit stores and restaurants By 1925, Albanians owned over 300 grocery and fruit stores in the Boston area Today they are employed in a variety of professions and enterprises
Culture• Official Language is Albanian – a romance language There are two dialects of language: Gheg in the North and Tosk in the South• Albanians hug and kiss upon greeting• Albanians tend to sit close and speak to others in close proximity.• Touching another persons arm, shoulder or hands is pretty common• Direct eye contact is very acceptable and they associate a steady gaze with sincerity.
Culture cont. Traditional head nods are reversed. Vertical head nod means no and horizontal head shake means yes Hospitality is very important – strangers are well received and treated like friends Loyalty is valued – even war and death will not keep an Albanian from keeping his or her word The eagle is the National symbol of Albania and it represents freedom and heroism
Religion 70% are Muslim 20% Eastern Orthodox 10% Roman Catholic Religious divisions are not significant – members of the same family may even belong to different religions Albanian people identify themselves as Albanian first and by their religious affiliation second
Family Life Traditionally Albanian households are patriarchal with men making decisions Women are the caretakers and are expected to serve their husbands Family is considered to be the most stable institution They uphold the most positive image possible especially regarding their family Role of women is slowly shifting as women are increasingly becoming employed outside the home
Youth and Elderly Practices Girls are not given the same freedom as the boys Girls are encouraged to stay home and they get a bad reputation if they are seen outside too much Traditionally several generations lived in the same household due to financial constraints Children have a duty to honor their parents and respect their wishes
Health and Wellness Albanians believe that illness is caused by unfavorable climate, poor eating, physical or psychological oppression Due to a lack of familiarity with mental illness, Albanians believe it stems from evil Albanians may not want to bathe or wash their hair due to the belief that they may get sick They are reluctant to seek services They do not consider preventative care as valuable
Barriers to Education The Albanian school system was in chaos due to widespread vandalism and extreme shortage of books and supplies Many teachers relocated from rural to urban areas Education was not viewed with the same importance and value as it is in America Albanian Americans did not want their children to go to American schools when they first arrived in America Gradually they accepted the fact that an education provided the foundation for a better way of life in America
Strategies for Teachers & Schools Attend diversity training and cultural workshops Take classes and participate in professional development to ensure cultural competency Use cross-cultural topics and materials in the classroom Displays in the classroom reflecting the different cultures of the students Value diversity and create an environment that accepts and respects the differences Involve community cultural leaders in classroom and school activities Ensure that communications to parents are printed in the native language if needed Eliminate cultural bias from all classroom tests
Community Resources Massachusetts Albanian American Society “BESA” provides support and services Lutheran Social Services of New England in Worcester offers support to new immigrants Friendly House in Worcester offers Albanian Programs Central Mass Area Health Education Center, Worcester provides Albanian interpreters Great Brook Valley Health Center, Worcester has linguistic and cultural groups Albanian American Civic League Albanian American National Organization Frosina Information Network, Boston
Community Resources cont. Immigration Outreach, Worcester New Albanian School, Worcester St. Mary’s Assumption Albanian Orthodox Church, Worcester Holy Trinity Albanian Orthodox Church, Boston Albanian Dance Troupe, Worcester Bashkimi Dance Company ValleTona St. Mary’s Dance Group, Worcester
Lesson Plan This lesson would address the Standard 1.MA.8.A – Identify characteristics commonly shared by folktales and fairy tales. The children will listen to an Albanian Folktale Based upon what they already know about folktales, and the use of trickery, the students will be able to identify it as a folktale The children will complete a graphic organizer to identify the good characters and the bad/evil characters They will identify the setting of the story The students will discuss the problem and the solution as well as the elements of trickery used in the story
Extension of the Lesson The children will listen to folktales and fairy tales from all around the world They will identify the stories as folktales (use of trickery) or fairy tales (elements of magic) The children will pick a favorite folktale or fairy tale and create a character mobile. At the end of the unit a final assessment will be given. The final assessment will be a letter written by the student to the teacher identifying something they learned about folktales or fairy tales.
Resources Countries and Their Cultures. Albanian Americans. 2012. www.everyculture.com CWTI. Albanian Culture. 2005. www.cwti.org Culture Crossing.A Community Built Guide To Cross Cultural Etiquette & Understanding. 2012. www.culturecrossing.net