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The World Comes to Idaho


Basque DancersIdaho's people come from many parts of the world. The World Comes To Idaho shows students the ethnic diversity of Idaho's residents and how economic development brought people to the state. The program discusses the conditions many groups found in Idaho. The video also shows ethnic groups in Idaho today.


After viewing The World Comes To Idaho, students will be able to:

  1. Understand that economics played a key role in the development of Idaho's cultural diversity.
  2. Recognize the cultural differences in Idaho's pluralistic society.
  3. Develop a positive self esteem and pride in their own heritage.
  4. Understand and appreciate the contributions of ethnic groups to Idaho.
  5. Develop a positive attitude and acceptance of other groups in society.

The World Comes To Idaho looks at aspects of Idaho's diverse ethnic heritage. The program begins with the host, Phyllis Edmundson, at the Idaho Historical Museum. Chinese miners were the first large ethnic group in the state. The video describes their lifestyle and the intolerance they faced. The video looks at Japanese immigrants, their early work on the railroads and the internment camps of World War II.

The video then reviews contributions made by African Americans and various European immigrants. The video explores problems faced by Hispanic migrant workers and the efforts made by Hispanics and Basques to keep their heritage alive. Phyllis reminds students that everyone in Idaho can be proud of their ethnic heritage. She encourages them to learn more about their own background.


(Before Viewing)

  1. Have students trace their own ethnic heritage by interviewing family members. Have each student place a pin in a world map showing where their ancestors originated.
  2. Choose a holiday and have the students research how different countries celebrate it.
  3. Have each student draw a picture of a food item from their own culture. Put all the different drawings together to show what a combined meal might be like.
  4. List a number of different words and have the students guess where the word originated.

(During Viewing)

  1. What are they searching for?
  2. What brought them here?
  3. What can you tell about a people by studying where and how they lived?
  4. Do you know about your ethnic heritage?

Discrimination - When someone is treated unfairly for acting or looking different
Ethnic - Having to do with a group of people who share a common culture
Heritage - Something handed down from the past, a tradition
Investor - A person or company that provides money for a project
Immigrant - Someone who moves to a new area
Migrant Worker - Someone who travels from farm to farm to work on crops
Relocation Camp - A site where Japanese Americans were sent during World War II


(After Viewing)

  1. Why did white miners discriminate against Chinese miners? How did that discrimination affect the way both groups lived?
  2. Why were Japanese and Japanese Americans sent to relocation camps during World War II?
  3. Where did the people of Idaho come from? Why do you think they came to Idaho?
  4. How can you keep your ethnic heritage alive?
  1. Have each student select a food or dish and write a report on where that dish came from and how it came to Idaho.
  2. Have each student find a folk tale from a culture other than their own and have them read it before the class.
  3. Invite someone to teach the students a folk dance.
  4. Have students write stories about how their families came to Idaho.
  5. Invite people from varied backgrounds to tell their stories to the class.

Where Does Your Family Come From?

Research your family flag or the flags of people in your community.
Find where your ancestors originated and draw that flag.
Find where someone else in your community came from and draw that flag.
Then cut out the flags, tape each one to a straight pin and match the flag to its country on a world map.
Stick the flag into the map.
What does the map look like when everyone in your class has put up their flag? What does that tell you about the people in Idaho?