Being American is the default.: Becoming Minnesotan

Dr. Maryam Beltran Shapland, Emergency Physician at Woodwinds Hospital, Woodbury
  • Name - Maryam Beltran Shapland
  • Age at interview - 34
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.25.2011
  • Maryam Beltran Shapland 6 months pregnant, Batangas, Philippines, 2004.

    We Are Here

    Family, Filipino, Identity, Language

    Essential Question

    We Are Here: What does it mean to this immigrant group to be here in America?

    Cultural Preservation: How does a person weave his or her traditional culture into a new American identity?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Many Filipino immigrants struggle with their “dual identity” - especially young people growing up in a different place than their parents did. Their parents have more memories of growing up in the Philippines, and more of a connection to that country, which they often still view as home. They often form friendships with other Filipinos and try hard to maintain their Filipino culture, religious traditions, and values. However, the younger generation often feels more "American" than "Filipino", and they grow up surrounded by friends and classmates who are not Filipino. Parents face the tough challenge of finding balance between helping their children learn about their traditional Filipino culture and also encouraging their children to become comfortable and successful in American society.

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

    • Chapter 1

    Download Maryam Shapland 10
    1:18 Minutes | 1.25Mb


    Narrator: Maryam Shapland (MS)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: You and Jim, are you going to raise your children as Filipino-Americans or as American-Filipinos?

    MS: So, my wonderful husband has a great quote. He says, “Being American is a default, it’s the default, and so we have to stress the Filipino part at home.” I’m very proud to say that he speaks…at least attempts to very much to speak Tagalog to our kids. He makes sure we eat Filipino food and he encourages them to eat and try different types of food, especially Filipino food. He does not like any other rice than the Asian rice, so that’s all we can serve at home. So that’s a good sign. Isabella, when you talk to her, she’s very proud that she’s Filipino, and she teaches her friends at school Tagalog words. She’s always talking about how she’s so happy she’s brown. [Chuckles] She says, “I’m brown like you.” She’s very proud of it. So I hope that continues.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun: A selection made automatically or without thought, ususally due to lack of another choice.


    Noun: A language spoken in the Philippines, particularly in Manila and the surrounding area.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 2152