Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee

OUR IRISH-AMERICAN CULTURAL HERITAGE POSITION PAPER

The National Irish Freedom Committee (NIFC) will engage in cultural related activities to raise the cultural and historical level of consciousness amongst those of Irish heritage to ensure that our cultural heritage, values, and traditions are preserved for future generations of Irish-Americans.

To fully appreciate our unique cultural heritage we must understand that culture is more than the appreciation of Irish music, dance and literature. Our culture encompasses language, family life, religious beliefs, ceremonies, games, wars, and famines; in essence it includes all distinct human activities and experiences passed on from one generation to another. The study of our culture and the various traits that combine to form its' system of values helps us to understand who we are as a people. Our cultural heritage is fashioned by centuries of repression and subjugation. It has endured wars, famine, plague, religious prosecution, plantation, language suppression, draconian laws and more recently political prosecution.

There are many Irish Cultural organizations here in the Unites States performing valuable work to preserve our cultural heritage. Irish based companies have staged world-class productions in every major cultural center here in the United States and throughout the world. Irish-Americans have contributed in no small way to the success of these productions i.e., as in the case of Riverdance where the main performers were Irish Americans. The NIFC acknowledges these organization and companies for their contributions in preserving and fostering our cultural heritage.

Down through the centuries Ireland has produced some of the world's greatest scholars, writers, poets, and artists. Because of prejudice and intolerance many of these talented individuals left Ireland to practice their art elsewhere. Others who were forced to leave Ireland because of political activism, man-made famine, or lack of opportunity became in their own right renowned statesmen, politicians, judges, doctors, businessmen and women in their adopted countries. All of these individuals make us proud of our Irish roots and we cherish their contributions to our proud heritage.

There are other organizations in the United States and elsewhere engaged in charitable work caring for Irish émigrés who have fallen on hard times because of sickness, addiction, lack of education or mental illness. The Irish authorities ignore the plight of these unfortunate individuals and unashamedly stand by while charitable organizations struggle to care for them.

The policy of successive Irish 26-county governments since home rule in 1922 has been to encourage emigration, then disown and disenfranchise those who leave. For instance, Irish citizens living abroad are denied the right to vote in elections in Ireland. Governments in most other countries allow their citizens living abroad to vote in elections in their homeland. The NIFC views this unfortunate and shameful situation to be an inherent part of our cultural heritage and lauds these organizations that have taken on what by right is the responsibility of the Irish authorities. The NIFC will do its part to support these organizations.

The Irish Diaspora consists of over 70 million people scattered throughout the world. It is estimated that over 40 million of these reside in the United States. As with others living elsewhere in the world, Irish Americans have a much different perspective of historic events as they unfold in Ireland and elsewhere than our cousins living in Ireland. These different viewpoints are shaped by many factors including geography, vestiges of colonial repression, exposure to other cultures, government and religious institutions laws and individual freedoms. The NIFC considers the Irish in America and Irish-Americans to be well informed and capable of independent thought and judgment with respect to the political, economic and social life of Ireland.
To this end the NIFC will support other Irish-American organizations engaged in raising the level of awareness of our cultural heritage. In addition to supporting other organizations, the NIFC will pursue its own initiative; to raise the level of awareness of Irelands' struggle for its independence in a reunited sovereign nation free to determine and charter its own destiny. This initiative will concentrate on providing our supporters and other interested individuals with information with respect to books, movies, websites and videos that depict Ireland's struggle for independence and the plight and sacrifices of its sons and daughters down through the centuries.


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National Irish Freedom Committee, P.O. Box 770549, Woodside, NY 11377

website: www. irishfreedom.net   --  email: nifcmem@optonline.net

The NIFC does not accept responsibility for the content of linked websites