By becoming U.S. citizens you can do a lot that you cannot do otherwise.: Becoming Minnesotan

Wangyal T. Ritzekura, c.2005.
  • Name - Wangyal Ritzekura
  • Age at interview - 52
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 08.19.2005
  • Wangyal Ritzekura taking the U.S. citizenship oath.
    Wangyal Ritzekura with his family, holding his U.S. naturalization certificate.


    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

    For the past 50 years, Tibetans have been living outside the borders of their homeland.   Many people have fled to neighboring countries of Nepal and India, or have immigrated to the U.S. or other countries.  The Tibetan government helps Tibetans get immigrant visas to come to the U.S., and encourages them to become U.S. citizens.  Tibetans feel that they have an obligation to be active participants in American society, and to use every opportunity to educate Americans about the situation in Tibet and to exercise their political rights to advocate for more freedom and independence for Tibetan people.

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

    • Chapter 1

    Download Wangyal Ritzekura 6
    1:14 Minutes | 1.18Mb


    Narrator: Wangyal Ritzekura (WR)

    WR:  Our becoming Tibetan American is out of convenience, out of necessity. Our position is not changed and our attitude is not changed. When we were in India we refused to take the citizenship of India. In fact the citizenship issue never came up.

    But when we came to the United States we came under the program approved by the Tibetan government. Once we landed on this soil we knew and Tibetan government also knew that it is imperative for us to become U.S. citizens because by becoming U.S. citizens you can do a lot that you cannot do otherwise. And number one is right to vote. So voting is there. Now in my mind I do have a feeling of being an American and which becomes a force which helps me because now I look at Americans as equals. At the same time my loyalty to my country is strong as before and if you ask me whether I would go back to Tibet or not my answer is yes.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  1. A person that is a legally recognized as a member of a state or country, with associated rights and obligations.  2. A person that is a legally recognized resident of a city or town.  3. A resident of any particular place to which the subject feels to belong.


    Noun:  The status of being legally recognized by a country as one of its citizens.


    Noun:  Anything that makes for an easier life.


    Adjective:  Essential; necessary.


    Noun:  Debate; controversy; problem.


    Noun:  Faithful in allegiance to a person or entity (like a country).


    Noun:  The quality or state of being necessary or unavoidable; that which is necessary; something indispensable.


    Noun:  A legal or moral entitlement.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 26