Nga Amilda Dymi

We were brought up to believe in the power of unity, although
unfortunately our national best example dates back to the middle-ages with
Gjergj Kastrioti, our national hero. Let's use the Alb-club site as a
unity tool also through information and introductions of those parts of the
Albanian-American diaspora we know little or nothing at all about.

The following is a private message I received from a respectful
Arberesh-American proud of his Albanian heritage. I asked him about their
community in the US and here comes his story.

"My Clesi/Kryeziu ancestors were stradiotti in Scanderbeg's army who
remained loyal to the Serene Republic of Venice after Scanderbeg's death in
1468. These Arberesh soldiers continued to defend various Chrisitan
outposts until, finally, the island of Coronna was the last to fall to the
Turks circa 1520. My Clesi, Musacchia, Alambrese and other related
families then fled to Venice and to land grants which were given to them by
Scanderbeg's ally, Alfonoso d'Aragona, in Sicily. My family were amongst
the Arberesh founders of the town of Contessa Entellina in Sicily which
still exists today as an Arberesh enclave in Sicily. The other two towns
which these Arberesh families founded are Mezzojuso and Palazzo Adriano,
both fairly close to Contessa Entellina in Sicily. Beginning just before
the U.S. Civil War, the Arberesh of Contessa Entellina began to emmigrate
to New Orleans. In 1886, the Arberesh of New Orleans founded the Contessa
Entellina Society to preserve our Illyrian heritage, language and
relationships. I am the historian of the Society today. There are
approximately 10,000 Arberesh descendants who live in Southern Louisiana.
Many of the New Orleans Arberesh only know that they are not "Italian", but
are "Albanian." We still say our prayers in Arberesh and know the history
of Scanderbeg, Teuta and Alexander the Great, but Albania's history
post-1500 is a mystery to the Arberesh. Hopefully, with the establishment
of the Honorary Consulate of Albania in New Orleans, we can correct this
deficiency. Bret"

Greetings to all the Albanian/Arberesh-Americans of New Orleans!