Monday, January 26, 2015


By: Lauren Trevor

As expected, due to being the official “melting pot” of the globe, many of us who are born in America have families who have more foreign origins than we can count. “Pure American Mutts,” as some would put it. Among this amalgamation of cultures are the Poles. If you ever decide to visit Poland, be expectant of a few things. First thing’s first, the term “Pollack” when directed toward someone of Polish descent is derogatory. Even if it seems harmless, don’t use it or you will most likely be shunned and/or glared at, and you definitely won’t be getting directions back to your hotel.

In the Polish culture, family and close friends of the family are top priority in all situations, as family is after all in the center of the entire social structure. Simply put, family members and close friends are part of ‘inner circles’ and many Poles draw lines between people within their ring and outsiders.

Another thing is pierogi. Because really, who doesn’t love pierogi? Unless of course you have never had them, which is a crime in itself. This dish can be said in many different ways such as Pierożki and pyrogy as well and it is pronounced pie (as in pit), ro (as in row), and gi (glee). If you haven’t seen them at a grocery store or a restaurant, or if you have not even ever heard of them, they are basically just dumplings that can be stuffed with potatoes, mushrooms, cheese herbs, etc. and they look kind of like half-moon ravioli. Pierogi, which is the plural form of the word, are a traditional Polish food that are always served in portions of three or more. I mean, you can’t just eat one pistachio, and you definitely can’t eat just one pieróg.

The next aspect of the culture might be even better than potato-filled dumplings. How about two birthdays? That’s right. The Poles are one of the cultures who celebrate not only birthdays, but name days as well. When one celebrates their Name Day, it is like a second birthday. In the Polish calendar, each day is paired with a saint and when the tradition began all Poles were named after a saint. So each year, anyone who is over the age of thirteen has a celebration on the day of the saint they were named after.

All Around the World

By: Chris Deras

All around the world, countries from China to the United States each have their own beliefs, customs, and traditions that they practice. In China, when celebrating the New Year people will hand out red envelopes containing money to young children. The red on the envelopes represent good luck, and with putting the money in the envelope they believe that you`ll have good luck with money throughout the New Year. My heritage is from Honduras a small country located in Central America. Our New Year our tradition is similar to the Burning Man festival, except our burning man is supposed to represent the old year, and when it is set ablaze it signifies a fresh start into the New Year. Another one of our traditions is throwing a big parade during Honduras’s Independence Day, which is September 15th. The parade consists of a bunch of school children dressed in blue and white uniforms sporting 5 stars (the amount of stars on our flag) and marching through the streets of Tegucigalpa singing the national anthem and playing instruments. This is accompanied by fireworks and celebrating the rest of the day. Similar to our July 4th here in America.


By Andrew Stookey

Ah, Scotland, the land of bagpipes, haggis, and kilts. This lovely country, just north of the UK, is a place where most people in America will say they have ancestors. About 20-25 million Americans are of Scottish descent, and at least 23 presidents have had some Scottish ancestry. Scotland has been handing down its traditions and customs to descendants since the 12th century, and today, many people still take pride in the rich heritage that is being Scottish.

Approximately 1.5 million Scotts have immigrated to America, and have been since the early days of colonization. Enormous portions of America’s population have Scottish ancestry. This can be seen in many ways, a common one being names. Surnames beginning with “Mc” or “Mac” usually relate to Scottish heritage. The Scotts have also brought us Buick cars, Elvis Presley, and Neil Armstrong.

When it comes to food, many people think of haggis, a gross looking pudding with some sheep pluck (heart, liver, and lungs) and various vegetables, but Scotland has brought us much more than that. Both fried chicken and hotdogs originated in Scotland. Whiskey was also brought by the Scotts, but drinking alcohol is bad, so let’s forget that one. Campbell Soups and Kelloggs were both founded by Scottish men, adding to the Scottish cuisine found in America.

One cultural tradition held by the Scotts is the Highland Games. Before Scotland was ruled under a government, there were many separate clans led by Chieftains. Once every year, the Chieftains would host their own games to see if their clan members were prepared for war.

The Highland Games consist of field and track events, dancing, piping competitions, and heavy events, such as hammer throw, tug-o-war, and the caber toss. A caber is a long pole, usually from the branch of a Larch tree. The official measurements are 19 feet 6 inches, weighing in at around 175 pounds. The goal is to throw the pole and have it flip midair, land vertically, and flip away from the thrower, landing in a 12 o’clock position flat on the ground. Distance does not matter when judging the caber toss.

Today, Highland Games are still held, and it is treated much like a country-specific Olympics in Scotland. Various cities around the country hold them, and crowds are usually very large at the games.

Sport is highly regarded in Scotland, with football, or soccer, being the number one sport of the country. Scotland’s football association is the second oldest football association in the world, being dated back to 1424. Other sports played commonly in Scotland are rugby, cricket, and golf. Scotland’s golf courses are known for being very luxurious, and players have come from all over the world to play at its famous courses, including the Old Course, Carnoustie, Gleaneagles, and Royal Troon.

Music is a very important aspect of Scottish culture, and is mostly well-known for the use of bagpipes. There are many bagpipe bands that have emerged from Scotland, featuring one or more bagpipe players, drums, fiddles, harps, or accordions. Traditional Scottish music is played during most national holidays.

Around January 25, every year, the Scots have a Burns supper to celebrate the life and poetry of Robert Burns, a famous Scottish poet. A typical Burns supper involves haggis, and one of Burns’ poems, titled Address to a Haggis. It goes a little something like this:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face Great Chieftain o’ the puddin’ race!

There is more, of course, but it would take up way too much space. Poems like this, and many, many others, are why the Scots celebrate Robert Burns.

Along with Burns, another Scottish hero is William Wallace, a war hero from 1298. After defeating an English army, he was appointed Guardian of Scotland. He served until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk. He was then hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason against the country of England. He has been written about in epics, poems, books, and is the idea behind the 1995 film Braveheart.

All in all, Scotland’s traditions and culture have been passed all throughout America in many ways. Be it food, music, or even inspiration for movies, the Scots found ways to plant their heritage in many Americans today.

Chef Singleton

Although I may not look it, I am part Cherokee on my mother’s side. The Cherokee tribe was one of the largest of the “Five Civilized Tribes” that settled in southeast part of the United States. They were also one of the most culturally and socially advanced of the Native American tribes. They thrived for many years prior to the arrival of European settlers. Due to the lack of recorded history, it is uncertain where exactly the Cherokee people originated, but they are believed to be descendents of the Iroquois tribe who settled in the Great Lakes region. Not only did the language of the Cherokee society derive from the Iroquois, but also their defining matriarchal social structure. Within the tribe, there were seven clans. Clan identity was passed one on the mother’s side and property was handed down from one’s mother. When it came time for marriage, one could marry into one of five clans: marrying into one’s mother or father’s clan was forbidden. Once married, a couple would live near the bride’s clan. The government of the Cherokee was very decentralized. The society was governed at the town level. Each town had a Town House, a Red Chief, and a White Chief. After the arrival of the Europeans, around the 1800s, the Cherokee tribe continued to thrive by embracing some of the settlers’ cultural elements. They began to adopt their style of dress, farming and building methods. The Cherokee were one of the first major non-European ethnic group to become U.S. citizens. They lived fairly peacefully among the Americans, until around 1830 when gold was discovered in Georgia. The Indian Removal Act, passed by congress under the presidency of Andrew Jackson, called for the forced relocation of numerous Indians from their homes, otherwise known as the “Trail of Tears.” They were moved to the “Indian Territory” that was part of what is now known as Oklahoma. After this, the Cherokee began to rebuild their society, creating a new constitution, a Cherokee Newspaper, and creating schools that were even considered superior to those of white settlements. Currently, the largest population of Cherokees remain in Oklahoma where there are three federally recognized Cherokee communities.

Now, this wouldn’t be Chef Singleton if I didn’t discuss food in some way or another. The Cherokee Tribe obtained food both by hunting and farming. The men hunted in the regions now known as the Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. They hunted mostly for small animals like deer, but also buffalo. The gardens, tended by the women, contained a large variety of vegetables such as corn, squash, pumpkins, and beans. So, I thought that I would give you the recipe for a relatively simple and traditional Cherokee dish: Bean Bread. I have yet to try this recipe, so I cannot vouch for its taste. Try it at your own risk.

* 1 cup of cornmeal
* 1/2 cup flour
* 2 tsp baking powder
* 1 tbsp sugar
* 2 cups milk
* 1/4 cup melted shortening
* 1 beaten egg
* 2 tbsp honey
* 4 cups drained brown beans

1. Mix all of these ingredients, except beans, thoroughly, and then fold in the beans
2. Pour into greased, heated pan
3. Bake at 450 until brown (usually 30 minutes or so)

Shawnee Heritage

By Isabella Cross

On my mother’s side of the family, my great great grandfather was a Shawnee Native American. He owned a farm in North Carolina. I still have many family members in North Carolina, but the pure Shawnee ethnicity has not carried on its legacy. Even so, it is important to learn about your heritage to understand where you came from. I did some research about the history of the Shawnee tribe and their traditions in order to have a better understanding of how my ancestors lived.

The Shawnee people originated in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, but they traveled to areas all over America. They lived in dwellings called wigwams which structures are made with wooden poles with coverings made out a variety of materials that could include grass, bark, mats, and hides or cloth. For transportation they made canoes by hollowing trees. They fed their families through farming and hunting. Their primary crops were corn, squash, and beans. Fur trade was also a very prominent aspect of their lives.

Before the colonists came to America, there were over 10,000 Shawnee Native Americans. During the early 1800s, the leader of the Shawnee tribe was named Tecumseh. He greatly opposed the settlers colonizing America. His resistance of the settlers has come to be known as the War of Tecumseh. Not long afterwards, Tecumseh allied with Britain during the War of 1812 and because of this the number of Shawnees reduced to about 3,500 people.

The Shawnee people enjoyed music and that was a huge part of their culture. They had string instruments, drums, and handmade xylophones. They wore many layers of clothing including leggings and long skirts for the women, and leggings and long pants for the men. They usually kept their hair very long, but it was common for warriors to shave their hair into mohawks.

They often spent their free time doing arts and crafts. They did pottery, weaving, beadwork, and wood carvings. They also made beautiful bags and rugs. Also, a common activity in their culture was storytelling and elders would often tell stories about the Shawnee history to the younger generations so that their history would never be forgotten.

Now, most of the remaining Shawnees can be found in Oklahoma because that is where they were deported. As of today, there are about 15,000 Shawnees who live in the United States.

Dance Music of Senegal

By Habsa Dia

“World music is about taking things from different places and bringing them together – which is great.” – Youssou N’Dour

It’s safe to say that music is always going to be a part of one’s culture. We love to create it, dance to it, immerse ourselves in it, and even find comfort in it. My family comes from Mauritania and Senegal in West Africa, and music is definitely a major influence in our culture.

In Senegal, one popular music genre is Mbalax (Mbalakh). It means “rhythm” in Wolof, one of Senegal’s main languages. Mbalax is the national dance music of Senegal and Gambia. It’s a blend of popular Western music like jazz, rock, blues, Latin, soul, etc, and harmonizing it with the dance music and traditional drumming of Senegal, or sabar. The sabar, or rhythm drum, is the most common instrument in Senegal and is usually accompanied by dancing. It is generally used for celebratory occasions such as weddings, births, holidays, and other special celebrations.

Mbalax was formed in the 1970s, and remains mostly unchanged today. Before it was formed, music such as Zouk, American Soul, Cuban music, and others prevailed and were played as the Senegalese musicians interpreted it. Then in the early 70s, different artists mixed these popular genres with traditional Senegalese music, in an attempt to define their national identity. Two of the most popular music groups that played Mbalax at the time were Étoile de Dakar (Star of Dakar) and Raam Daan (to achieve your goal). Although many years have passed since formation of these groups, the main singers still continued their career. Youssou N’Dour was a member of Étoile de Dakar and a few other music groups, then soon became one of the most well known music artists in West Africa.
Thione Seck is the one who created the band Raam Daan in 1974 and he is still leading it.

Mbalax has spread to other regions such as Mauritania, Mali, Ivory Coast, and even France. A few examples of today’s popular Mbalax artists from Senegal would be Alioune Mbaye Nder, Coumba Gawlo, Viviane N’Dour (Viviane Chidid), and Waly Seck.

All the parts that make up Mbalax make it one of the most unique forms of dance music in West Africa.

Aaammerrrriiiccccaaaaa, Aaammerrrriiiccccaaaaa:

By: Jordan Gentry

Discovered in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed with the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria in hopes of finding gold, pearls, and spices.

Slavery began when the first African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, to aid in the production of tobacco. Slavery was practiced throughout America in the 17th and 18th centuries, and African American slaves helped build the economic foundations of the new nation.

As the Declaration of Independence was created in 1776 America became more and more of a country. With only 25 million people living in the U.S. a lot was done to help establish America.

Our flag was approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The flag included the original “Old Glory Blue” stars that represented the original 13 colonies and the “Old Glory Red” and “White” stripes. The red signifies blood, hardiness, & valor, the white signifies purity and innocence, and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.

Fun Facts:
> About 35 MILLION AMERICANS SHARE DNA with AT LEAST ONE of the 102 PILGRIMS who arrived aboard the Mayflower in 1620.
(*That’s a lot of history*)
(*What a coincidence*)
> In 1893, an AMENDMENT was proposed to RENAME THE U.S. into the "UNITED STATES OF THE EARTH".
(*That just sounds dumb*)
> The U.S. GOVERNMENT POISONED ALCOHOL during Prohibition in the 20s and 30s, KILLING OVER 10,000 PEOPLE.
(*Killed more people than the alcohol probably did*)
(*I mean I like bread for my sandwiches, so what did people eat for lunch?*)
(*Can I ask why?*)
> 97% of RAPISTS in the U.S. NEVER SPEND A DAY IN JAIL for their crime.
(*Truly doesn’t surprise me*)
> In 31 STATES of the U.S., Rapists CAN LEGALLY SUE FOR CHILD CUSTODY if the rape results in PREGNANCY. (*That’s ridiculous*)
> At least 1 in 25 people sentenced to the DEATH PENALTY in the U.S. are INNOCENT. (*Everybody makes mistakes, clearly*)
> It COSTS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT US$2,768,902 PER YEAR to hold a prisoner in GUANTANAMO.
> NELSON MANDELA was not removed from the U.S. TERROR WATCHLIST until 2008. (*I wonder why?*)
> RUSSIA & AMERICA are LESS THAN 4 KM APART at the nearest point.
(*Nope, I’m not scared at all*)
> There are still CASES OF BUBONIC PLAGUE reported in the U.S. EVERY YEAR.
(*Please tell me this is all lies!*)
(*And they said recovery would be easy*)
(*I won’t be joining, everyone knows I suck at this game*)
(*Such a great point*)
> In the U.S. it COSTS US$245,000 to RAISE A CHILD, before college.
(*Not a surprise*)
(*How sad, no wonder students are poor*)
(*This needs to stop!*)
> There are MORE TVS in the U.S. THAN PEOPLE in the U.K.
(*We <3 TV*)
(*Cause the U.S. spends money “wisely”*)
> There are more FACEBOOK USERS from the U.S. than U.S. citizens that VOTED IN THE LAST ELECTION.
(*But we wanted the right to vote…*)

Scots-Irish Appalachian (No, really, it’s an ethnicity. Kind of.)

By: Mrs. Brady

Most people assume Appalachian has only contributed hillbillies, inbreeding, and meth to America. However, their influence, traditions and legacies go beyond these negative stereotypes. Scots-Irish Appalachian Americans are responsible for a vast cultural legacy from the birth of American music and beverage to several US Presidents and many American freedom fighters. But for simplicity sake let’s start with the three main influences: bluegrass, bourbon, and brawls.

What’s the difference between Scots-Irish and just Scottish or Irish? Irish immigrants traditionally came to the US during or after the Great Potato Famine in the 1840s and were predominately loyal Roman Catholics. Scottish immigrants came straight from Scotland proper while Scots-Irish immigrants are Scottish via a hundred plus year stay in Ireland.

It’s like this...the countries of Scotland and England border each other and for hundreds of years the groups have warred, bickered, and argued for freedom and territory. The English wanted the Scottish land, but the Scots wouldn’t relent and viciously fought back. Think William Wallace (aka Mel Gibson in Braveheart). The English had the great idea to move their Scottish rebel rousers to Northern Ireland, give them some land and be done with them.

Good plan, but now the Irish are upset that these Scots have taken their land. Thus ensues another couple years’ worth of fighting and terrorizing. Eventually, many of these people leave the persecution of the British crown and seek freedom in America. The largest flux of Scots-Irish, or Ulster-Scots as we are known outside the states, occurred in the 1700s. But why Appalachia?
Easy! It looks and feels like home. It’s isolated, mountainous and, at the time, pretty much free. Free from government rule and free as in – doesn’t cost a penny. My ancestors have been traced well back to the early 1800s moving through North Carolina to the hills of eastern and central Kentucky. Our best guess: we were run away indentured servants (immigrants who agree to be servants for a set amount of time in an exchange for passage to the new world).

So what’s left of these warring, clannish, mountain loving people?

Brawling. Many of the family feuds of Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia are often credited on clannish, familial culture of honor legacy of the Scots-Irish. For hundreds of years, our ancestors were bred on fighting and maintaining family land. Hence, comes the family feuds. The best known feud is the Hatfield and McCoy feud. A feud that began over a pig was romanticized with forbidden love and ends with the death of several people. It’s even believed that I am a descendant of the Baker/White feud of 1905. All those years of warring and fighting has left a people ready for good throw down.

Even social scientist Malcolm Gladwell agrees. In his book The Outliers, he dedicates a chapter entitled “Harlan, Kentucky” to a 1990s University of Michigan experiment on the Culture of Honor.

The scientists at Michigan found that when agitated or aggravated college students of Northern decent remained calm after being insulted; however, the students of southern decent were notably agitated and angry. The scientists’ hypothesis: after hundreds of years of oppression and fighting breeds some easily agitated people ready to brawl. Don’t mess with the Fraulein.

Bluegrass music also originates from the Scots-Irish influence in Appalachia. The music from Ireland, Scotland, and England developed through a couple of hundred years within the mountains of Appalachia and began what was known as “mountain music”.

Bill Monroe, a Kentucky native, and his band “The Bluegrass Boys” popularized the Bluegrass genre during their 1939 appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. While this may seem unimportant to most of you who prefer Drake to Alison Kraus, without bluegrass odds are you don’t have country music which lead to rock and roll. And of course Chuck Berry leads to Elvis which leads to Motown which eventually in a much bastardized route leads the Class of 2015 to their sweet and disturbing love of J Cole.

Minus Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Kentucky dynasty basketball, the most popular legal export of Kentucky comes from our Scots-Irish roots: bourbon. There are currently more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than there are people. Kentucky produces 95% of the world’s bourbon.

The origins of bourbon originate from the Scots-Irish people that brought the distilling process with them. In fact the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791 pushed the Scots-Irish further into Appalachia to hide from their government and prohibit the revenuers from taxing their moonshine. Down with the man.

The influences of the Scots-Irish could go on for many Tatlers. From Andrew Jackson to Ashley Judd, we have contributed much to American society. However, on a final note, the proper terminology is Scots-Irish. Not Scotch-Irish. Scotch should only be used to refer to that stuff Ron Burgundy drinks.

The Bacon Bringers

The Dutch first came to America in 1609 under the command of the English captain Henry Hudson. They arrived on the Dutch East India Company vessel De Halve Maen and mapped out what we now know as the Hudson River. In 1614 Dutch Merchants established a trading post at Fort Orange building the ground for more immigrants to come to the United States. Almost ten years later, thirty families came from Holland to establish the settlement that is known as New Netherland. This trading company established trading rights to the Dutch West India Company expanding even more immigrants pouring into the states; later they established a large settlement on Manhattan Island. That land was purchased by Peter Minuit from Native Americans in 1626 for $24 worth of trinkets, beads, and knives (24 dollars?!).

The amount of Dutch immigrants gradually grew, and they founded New Amsterdam (today`s New York). The Dutch opened America`s eyes into various different settlements and founded some of our largest states and cities today.

The Dutch are definitely not as boring as this article. The Dutch are the tallest people in the world! With their average height of 184 cm for men and 170 cm for women, they surpass all other ethnicities. And as your enjoying your daily cup of coffee, have 2.2 more and join the Dutch. They love their coffee! After Scandinavians, the Dutch are the world`s biggest coffee drinkers. The Dutch drink no less than 140 liters of coffee a year on average. Almost 3.2 cups a day! Time to catch up. Also, where would we be without the 70% of the world`s bacon that comes from the Netherlands, huh? That`s right, nowhere.

The Dutch are just so interesting that they need another paragraph. One of their famous dishes contains a herring topped with raw onions and pickles. It`s their national dish, sounds delicious
right? Maybe not. But in the Netherlands a person consumes almost five full fish a year! Also, if you loveeee to ride your bicycle, there are specially designated “fietspaden” or bike paths all over the country that pedestrians cannot legally walk on. And get this: about 30% of all Dutch births happen at home because of their large network of midwives.

So there you have it, these tall, coffee-drinking, fish-eating people came to America and brought 70% of our bacon and founded New York and the Hudson River. Such great accomplishments. Where would we be without the descent of the Dutch?


By: Brent Christiansen

It has finally come like the first warm breeze after a long, cold winter. It has been simply resting on the tip of our tongues since we first walked through the glorious doors of this place known as high school. As freshman gazing up at the vast height of the giant seniors boasting with their facial hair and car keys; the word seemed more as a myth than something actually obtainable. For this word is not simply a configuration of letters, but also an accomplishment, a goal, a prize of four years of hard work, and most importantly a day in which us humble and tired seniors gain freedom from the cramped hallways and stinky restrooms. The time is steadily approaching, my friends, and in a short period of time we will be walking across the stage and getting our diplomas, for no longer is this time a myth, but a majestic beast just staring us down, and this time of glory and recognition almost upon us is graduation.

As the winter break has come to a close, and the second semester has begun, it has now become apparent that in a matter of months that us seniors will be graduating. Many of us have already received our acceptance letters from the chosen colleges we`ve applied to, or chosen what we want to do with our lives. To many of us the rest of the school year seems like a waste, and that mindset is a little thing known as senioritis.

Senioritis has been around for as long as high school has existed, and has plagued us seniors for the same amount of time. We will all feel it, just at different times. From me to you here’s a tip: don’t give up completely or that word of graduation will not happen, and you will be one of those people who will get your diploma behind closed doors. Walking is a privilege, and our school does not take that lightly. We have been waiting for the day we can walk across and get our diploma since the first day of kindergarten. So hold fast seniors, and keep on persevering.