At the beginning of this year, 2007, I decided to apply for American citizenship. I have lived in the States for almost a decade, I have American children and we like the country and the people. It was then when I created the entry Catalan American at Wikipedia. Periodically I have to go back and re-do it because some people change it, but that's OK. This is the definition as it appeared today at Wikipedia:
"Catalan Americans are residents of the United States who acknowledge Catalan ancestry and self-identify with it. The group is formed by Catalonia born (Spain or France) naturalized citizens, their descendants and, to a lesser extent, citizens of Catalan descent who came from Latin America and still acknowledge Catalan ancestry.
The Catalan or Catalonian ancestry is identified with the code 204 in the 2000 US census, with the name Catalonian. According to the census, the number of Catalan Americans is 1738 individuals. The census also indicates that in USA the Catalan language is spoken by 1660 people older than 5 years old.
In the US census, People of Catalonian ancestry are listed in a group called «Hispanic (Including Spain)», however most of them do not agree with this classification, since they do not consider themselves as Hispanic. Only Catalans of Latin American origin and few of Spanish origin call themselves Hispanic.
2000 US Census ethnicity
2000 US Census Languages "
The vast majority of Catalan Americans I know, do not consider themselves Hispanic. Unfortunately Catalans are cataloged as Hispanic in the US census, unlike the Basques who are Western European. So if you are French Catalan, Andorran, Portuguese, Gibraltarian or Basque, you are Western European, if you are a Spanish Catalan, you are Hispanic. The fact that our mother tongue is Catalan and not Spanish, and that Catalans were not allowed to go to America until the XVIII century, seems to be irrelevant for those who created the categories in the census. It is clear that the Basque shepherds who migrated to Montana were able to lobby their way out of the Hispanic bucket.
It is always good to go back to history to understand our culture. Let me quote a paragraph of Queen Isabel of Castile's testament where she clearly states that only her kingdoms of Castile and Leon will benefit from the newly discovered world, America.
"OTROSÍ, por quanto las Yslas e Tierra Firme del Mar Oçéano, e Yslas de Canaria, fueron descubiertas e conquistadas a costa destos mis reynos e con los naturales dellos, e por esto es rasón quel trato e prouecho dellas se aya e trate e negoçie destos mis reynos de Castilla e León, e en ellos e a ellos venga todo lo que de allá se traxiere."
Anyway, this week I became an America citizen and I am really happy about it. It took place in one of the most historic venues in the United States, most probably the best. Now I am a citizen of a country I chose, a country that treated me well and where people respect me. I am now officially an American of Catalan ancestry, a Catalan American, proud of my American citizenship and proud of my Catalan ancestry.
I was moved by the judge who held the oath ceremony. She said: "many of you come from countries with long history and rich culture. Do not forget it, do not forget your language either and teach it to your children, but embrace wholeheartedly our country, our values and our language, English.