Migration and socio-cultural change : the case of Guyanese in Winnipeg, Manitoba
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The study of migrant groups within their new sociopolitical and geographical environments is no new phenomenon; people have been moving in groups and individually to 'foreign' lands for centuries in order to seek a'betterf way of life... When the emergent group is of a distinct race and culture, complex problems of adaptation or adjustment for the group may occur in the receiving society. This is often accompanied by some degree of rejection or ostracism of the newcomers by members of the host society. The present study attempts to analyse some aspects of the adaptive strategy of Guyanese now living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The writer estimates that there are at least two hundred Guyanese families living in Winnipeg. A majority of these families represent Guyana's two major ethnic groups (Indo- and Afro-Guyanese)... The emphasis in the past in the study of minority groups by social scientists has been an analysis of the socioeconomic adjustment and achievement of the immigrants within their new country of residence... Scant attention is paid, however, to the immigrant's socio-cultural past within his country of birth. A recapitulation of the historical development of the socio-economic and cultural structures (kinship organization, job experience, education and training, cultural values. . .) of the immigrant's background is imperative in order to understand some aspects of his social behaviors and cultural values within the `receiving' society... Race, ethno-culture and socio-political differences are some of the more prominent features to be considered when a comparative analysis between the tsendingt and the rreceivingr countries is made... For practical purposes, Guyanese living in Winnipeg must not be considered as a homogeneous group of immigrants. Guyanese society is made up of a medley of ethnic groups and cultures, most of which are attempting to foster group identity through cultural af.filiations with the land of their ancestors (Africa, India, China. . .). More recently, various political organizations have made some attempts to construct some form of nationalism which rdere expected to have some positive effect on cultural integration among the various grouPs. Thus far, the perpetual striving for cultural identity (and supremacy) by the various groups has resulted in Guyana being considered one of the most culturally pluralistic societies in the world (the definition of `culturally plural societies' is dealt with in the thesis). Cultural persistence in the Guyanese case not only takes precedence over national solidarity and a cohesive society, but affects value orientation and aspirations of the members of the various group, thereby complicating the investigation of the adaptive strategies of Guyanese abroad..