Sikhs first arrived in the United States by way of Vancouver in the first decade of the 20th century. Most Sikhs at this time settled in California and worked as manual laborers. In 1912, the first gurdwara in the United States was opened in Stockton, California.... Read more about First Arrivals
Since Anti-Asian sentiment was rampant in the American West, Sikhs were the victims of systematic discrimination. They were also targets of defamation and physical violence throughout the early 20th century.... Read more about Discrimination: The “Ragheads”
The Ghadar Movement was formed in 1913 by expatriate Punjabis in the United States with shared leadership from Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims. The goal of the movement was to assist in overthrowing British colonial rule in India. The publicity that the group attracted in the United States was used as further justification for anti-Asian discrimination and suspicion.... Read more about The Ghadar Party: Freedom for India
One of the major legislative tests of eligibility for citizenship was the case of Bhagat Singh Thind, a Punjabi who had come to the U.S. in 1913. He had been granted a certificate of naturalization but it was later contested. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that Bhagat Singh Thind was not white and therefore his citizenship was revoked. As a result of the ruling, the Justice Department began proceedings to de-naturalize Sikhs who had already obtained citizenship. Since Sikhs were no longer considered citizens, they were not allowed to own land.... Read more about Bhagat Singh Thind: Citizen or Alien?
In the face of discriminatory measures and the end of Punjabi immigration, many American Sikh men began assimilating with the various peoples throughout the American West Coast, specifically Mexicans. As intermarriage occurred, these newly blended families brought together both Sikh and Catholic identities. Many of the children of these intermarriages were raised within Spanish-speaking, Mexican Catholic communities.... Read more about Assimilation: California Farmers
After World War II, new immigration legislation began allowing Indians to enter the United States, first in limited numbers in 1947, then in larger numbers when in 1965 national-origins quotas were eliminated entirely. As new Sikh immigrants set down roots in America, Sikh expression and identity was reconstituted along more traditional and orthodox lines. Negotiating a Sikh identity involved, for the most part, a return to a more traditional form of Sikhism as the newcomers became actively involved in the old gurdwaras.... Read more about The New Immigration: Reconstituting the Community
In the late 1960s, Yogi Bhajan arrived in the United States and shortly after began the 3HO movement, an acronym for the Happy, Healthy, and Holy Organization and now called Sikh Dharma. The movement is a syncretic form of Sikhism and other religious traditions that has attracted many non-Punjabi Americans. There are currently hundreds of 3HO centers throughout the United States.... Read more about The American “Cousins”
The Sikh community in the United States has continued to grow and put down roots across the entirety of the United States. Sikhs are active members of civic service and advocacy projects while they continue efforts to maintain their distinctive religious traditions, such as teaching Punjabi to children and wearing the five K’s.... Read more about The Sikh Community Today