In 2013 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 24.6 million U.S. residents identified as Asian Pacific Islander American (abbreviated as API American) or API Americans who were of mixed ancestry (with one or more races of Asian descent). This is about 7.3 percent of the total U.S. population; 11 percent of Washington’s population; nearly 10 percent of Oregon’s population; 9 percent of Alaska’s population; but only roughly 3.5 percent of Idaho’s population.
These numbers have shifted dramatically since the 2000 Census. In the deepening multicultural environment in Pacific Northwest urban centers, most teaching professionals will have had some contact with children and families from the culturally and linguistically diverse API American communities. According to the U.S. Census’ 2008 population estimates published on the Washington Commission for Asian Pacific Americans’ website, Washington State had the 7th largest number of API Americans in the United States; today the state has climbed to number 5.
While multicultural education classes may include general information about Japanese Americans and Chinese Americans, due partly to their long history in the state, most educators may still benefit from having additional information and curriculum materials to understand the many API American subgroups. Therefore, the Honoring Our Journey curriculum series consists of separate curriculum modules on Asian Americans, immigration, refugee resettlement.
Our online curriculum provides lesson plans based on literature, oral histories of the people who have experienced the challenges of coming to a new country and adapting to huge cultural changes. Additionally we incorporate multimedia resources, and virtual interaction with historic objects.
It is hoped that through their own words, the students will understand the impact of assimilation and the need for cultural identity and preservation. And it is through their perspectives that we all can construct a more complex, multicultural view of our own society and world.