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Amelia Singh Netervala Oral History Interview -- Part 5

See also:
Amelia Singh Netervala Oral History -- Part 1
Amelia Singh Netervala Oral History -- Part 2
Amelia Singh Netervala Oral History -- Part 3
Amelia Singh Netervala Oral History -- Part 4

Date: March 2, 2015
Type: Oral History
Language: English
Creator: Randa Cardwell
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Interviewer: So when you think about the Mexican- Punjabi history in the Southwest, what does it represent to you about California history? Or U.S. history? What does it tell us about our own history?

Amelia: Our own history. Well, history is not covered completely. I mean- there’s a lot of different nationalities and cultures that are not covered in school. Years back, people had never heard of the background that I am, you know. They were surprised at that background. I think there’s more, and more things are opening up. One needs to really- I think with the research that you are doing, it’s – viewing these cultures- is opening up to the knowledge of what this country is, you know. A country of different immigrants. Not only Europeans, but a lot of other mixtures. I can’t think of more.

Interviewer: No, no that’s great. I should have asked you before, but in addition to working with Karen and her book, what about Roots in the Sand? Did that give you any different insights into your own heritage that you hadn’t gotten from other places?

Amelia: Yes. Seeing as there was a large concentration of Indian men in Imperial Valley and how well they did in Imperial Valley as these farmers that were there. And their sons- they continued. I met some of the children who continued in their father’s footsteps. And the wives- Mexican wife or American wife that they married. They accepted the culture that – the combination they are. Let’s see… what else…

Interviewer: Were you aware of the laws banning race marriages or all the persecution prior to that documentary?

Amelia: No, I wasn’t. Yeah, the research in these movies really brought out a lot, and it’s been a learning experience for me. It’s amazing that there are a lot of people like you who are interested in learning about the culture. I’ve been interviewed about three times. And even in Washington, D.C. they’ve had an exhibition there that ran for one year at the Smithsonian. From the beginning, when those immigrants came to the present of the professionals. These later ones, they really skyrocketed. And done very well.

Interviewer: OK, this is the last question. What can we learn from your parents’ experience? What can they teach us?

Amelia: That you can- that two different cultures can really embrace each other. And make a family. And make a successful marriage. They were both hard workers, because of being immigrants. I feel very fortunate that I came from the background and I had loving parents. My father was not that demonstrative, but you could feel. Because I think with Indian men, you know, their maybe from – I don’t know whether that generation or present- but anyway. We felt the closeness that they really cared about their children. They wanted the best, because they never allowed us to stay home. And we really had to be very sick to stay home. Many times I got perfect attendance, because I never skipped a day. Not because our parents, you know. They valued education. They didn’t have it, but they valued it. And they wanted their children to do well. And they resolved their religious differences. I mean it was- not that it was a problem or anything. It just melted together. It was a good foundation. It was nice growing up on a farm and then coming to a city later on.

Collection: Amelia Singh Netervala Materials
Item History: 2016-08-02 (created); 2016-08-23 (modified)

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