Finding a balance.: Becoming Minnesotan

Deepak Nath, c.1999.
  • Name - Deepak Nath
  • Age at interview - 23
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - Second Generation American
  • Date of Interview - 03.20.1997
  • Family Fun Fair, SILC, Como High School, St. Paul, July 24, 2002.


    Asian Indian, Bi-Cultural

    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Assimilation: Does a person have to give up part of his/her culture to become more American?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    It is very important for many Indian immigrants to maintain their language, food, music, and other cultural practices from their home in India.  They often formtight-knit communities of Indian friends and participate in Indian organizations. All immigrants face the tough challenge of finding balance between maintaining their home culture and adopting certain aspects of American culture that will allow them to be more successful in the U.S.

    To learn more about Asian Indian history and culture, visit our Asian Indian Community page.

    • Chapter 1

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    Narrator: Deepak Nath (DN)

    DN:  A lot of people, I believe, they think that if they assimilate too much of the Western culture, they're the worse for it, and I think that it is possible to find a balance between East and West, assimilating the positive values from both and not assimilating the ones that you consider negative. You find a happy medium there, and you're the better for it. It's a lot easier to go through life being Indian in this country if you are able to balance those things. That would be my words of wisdom to them. 

    To the kids, I would stress exploring yourself, exploring the world a little more, not keeping yourself so sheltered just in Indian. And I've seen that more and more as time goes on, you see less and less of parents being really restrictive. There still are occasions where you're going to have the parents who like to create their little India, but more and more over the kids are becoming a lot more intelligent and assimilating. So it's nice to see that.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Verb:  To absorb into a community by adopting that community's traditions or culture.  (assimilates, assimilating, assimilated)


    Noun:  The arts, customs, and habits that characterize a particular society or nation.


    Noun:  1. Special event or function.  2. A particular happening; an instance or time when something occurred.


    Adjective:  Confining; restraining; strict.


    Adjective:  Describes a person who grew up being overprotected by parents or other guardians; often implies a lack of social skills, worldly experience, etc.


    Verb:  To emphasize as important; to highlight.  (stresses, stressing, stressed)


    Noun:  A collection of guiding, usually positive principles; what one deems to be correct and desirable in life, especially regarding personal conduct.


    Adjective:  Of, relating to, or characteristic of the West, that is, the noncommunist countries of Europe, the Americas and Australia.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 609