Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Somalis in the Pacific Northwest
Sandra M. Chait
- Published: 2011
- Subject Listing: Northwest History, Immigration, African Studies
- Bibliographic information: 304 pp., map, notes, bibliog., index, 6 x 9 in.
- Territorial rights: World
- Series: A Samuel and Althea Stroum Book
Prolonged violence in the Horn of Africa, the northeastern corner of the continent, has led growing numbers of Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Somalis to flee to the United States. Despite the enmity created by centuries of conflict, they often find themselves living as neighbors in their adopted cities, with their children as class-mates in school. In many ways, they are successfully navigating life in their new home; however, they continue to struggle to bridge old divisions and find salaam, or peace, with one another.
News from home of continuing conflict fuels historical grievances and perpetuates tensions within these communities, resulting in ongoing enmity that can undermine attempts at reconciliation. Such involvement with the past can also delay acculturation and sabotage opportunities to attain the American Dream.
In conversations with more than forty East African immigrants living in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, Sandra Chait captures the immigrants’ struggle for identity in the face of competing stories and documents how some individuals have been able to transcend the ghosts from the past and extend a tentative hand to their former enemies.
Sandra M. Chait, who immigrated to the Unites States from South Africa, taught African literature and served as associate director of the University of Washington's Program on Africa. She is an independent scholar in Seattle.
Map of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia
1. At "Home" in the Pacific Northwest
2. Within the American Gaze
3. With Eyes Open
4. Having the Last Word
5. Cultural and Economic Rivals
6. The Challenges Within
7. Women Speak Out
Appendix 1, Time Line (1890-2010)
Appendix 2, Participants
"An important book for a nation seeking peace with itself as well as with its new immigrant arrivals who are redefining equality, citizenship, and democracy." -Robert D. Thompson, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Winter 2012
"Sandra M. Chait is to be commended for capturing the complex interrelationship of 20th and 21st century immigrant communities from the Horn of Africa as they engage in healing the wounds of wars and finding salaam - peace - in their adopted country." -Ruth Iyob, Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, Vol. 10(2), 2012
"Chait wove their stories into a book, Seeking Salaam, that captures the complexity of identity and the horror and hopefulness of life for her subjects." - Jerry Large, The Seattle Times, November 2011