The United States is a nation of immigrants. Every person came to America from somewhere else—or their ancestors did—and understanding these various cultural backgrounds can help Scouts to live in harmony with others in our varied and increasingly multicultural society.


Choose THREE groups that have different racial, cultural, national, or ethnic backgrounds, one of which comes from your own background. Use these groups to meet requirements 1, 2, and 3.
  1. Do TWO of the following, choosing a different group for each:
    • Go to a festival, celebration, or other event identified with one of the groups. Report on what you see and learn.
    • Go to a place of worship, school, or other institution identified with one of the groups. Report on what you see and learn.
    • Talk with a person from one of the groups about the heritage and traditions of the group. Report on what you learn.
    • Learn a song, dance, poem, or story that is traditional to one group, and teach it to a group of your friends.
    • Go to a library or museum to see a program or exhibit featuring one group's traditions. Report on what you see and learn.
  2. Imagine that one of the groups had always lived alone in a city or country to which no other groups ever came. Tell what you think the city or country might be like today. Now tell what you think it might be like if the three groups you chose lived there at the same time.
  3. Tell about some differences between the religious and social customs of the three groups. Tell about some ideas or ways of doing things that are similar in the three groups.
  4. Tell about a contribution made to our country by three different people, each from a different racial, ethnic, or religious background.
  5. Give a talk to your Scout unit or class at school on how people from different groups have gotten along together. Lead a discussion on what can be done to help various groups understand one another better.


Scouting Literature

American Heritage, American Labor, Archaeology, Architecture, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Genealogy, Indian Lore, Law, Music and Bugling, Reading, and Stamp Collecting merit badge pamphlets


  • Allphin Jr., John, and Jerry Pubantz. Encyclopedia of the United Nations. Facts on File, 2002.
  • Bial, Raymond. Lifeways Series. Benchmark Books. A 25-book series on the original lifeways of North American Indians.
  • Bode, Janet. The Colors of Freedom: Immigrant Stories. Franklin Watts, 2000.
  • New Kids in Town: Oral Histories of Immigrant Teens. Scholastic, 1995.
  • Budhos, Marina Tamar. Remix: Conversations With Immigrant Teenagers. Henry Holt, 1999.
  • Chelsea House Publishers. The Immigrant Experience. Separate books on American Indians, Puerto Ricans, and Czech, Greek, Jewish, Mexican, Polish, and other Americans.
  • Immigrants in America. A six-book series telling the stories of the Chinese, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, and Swedish Americans through immigrants' own words and contemporary photographs and illustrations.
  • Junior Library of American Indians. A series of 23 books covering American Indian tribes.
  • Freedman, Russell. Immigrant Kids. Puffin, 1995.
  • Hall, Loretta, Anan Ameri, and Dawn Ramey, eds. Arab American Encyclopedia. Gale, 1999.
  • Haskins, Jim. Against All Opposition: Black Explorers in America. Walker, 2003.
  • One More River to Cross: The Stories of Twelve Black Americans. Sagebrush, 1994.
  • Hirschfelder, Arlene B. Native Americans: A History in Pictures. DK Publishing, 2000.
  • Lawlor, Veronica. I Was Dreaming to Come to America: Memories From the Ellis Island Oral History Project. Puffin, 1997.
  • Lerner Publishing. In America. A five-book series on the Chinese, Irish, Italians, Puerto Ricans, and Vietnamese in America.
  • Lucent Books. Immigrants in America. Fourteen titles on cultures includ- ing Russian Americans and Vietnamese Americans.
  • Mareno, Barry, ed. Coming to America. Barron's. Separate titles on African, Irish, Italian, and Jewish Americans.
  • We Came to America. Mason Crest. Sixteen books depicting the unique challenges facing various ethnic groups as they came to the New World.
  • Mason Crest. North American Indians Today. Fifteen books on modern-day American Indians, from Apache and Cherokee to Seminole and Sioux.
  • Meltzer, Milton. Bound for America: The Story of the European Immigrants. Benchmark Books, 2001.
  • Nava, Julian. Julian Nava: My Mexican-American Journey. Arte Publico, 2002.
  • Sandler, Martin W. Immigrants. HarperCollins, 2000.
  • Simpson, Judith, Lorann Pendleton, and David Hurst Thomas. Native Americans. Time-Life, 1995.
  • Strom, Yale. Quilted Landscapes: Conversations With Young Immigrants. Simon & Schuster, 1996.
  • Takaki, Ronald T. Strangers From a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. Little, Brown, 1998.
  • Telushkin, Joseph. Golden Land: The Story of Jewish Migrations to America. Crown, 2002.
  • Thomas, David Hurst. The Native Americans: An Illustrated History. Turner, 1993.