Showcasing the story of the Punjabi American and South Asian
migration to the United States is a valuable and needed resource for
current and future generations. I congratulate all the individuals and
families along with the Punjabi American Heritage Society of Yuba
City for their dedication and hard work for the successful completion
of this project.
— California Governor Jerry Brown (as quoted in the Punjabi American Heritage Society press release) on the opening of the Becoming American exhibit at the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County in Yuba City, California.
The permanent exhibit, which opened this past weekend, traces the roots of the Punjabi American community in the region:
A timeline begins in 1839 with the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and subsequent end of the Sikh Empire, which was followed by Sikhs’ recruitment into the British Army and the beginning of their arrival in the United States. With photos of early pioneers — many of them male because they could not bring their families — the exhibit tells the history of their immigration, legislation and court cases, and early victories, starting with the ability to buy land and the eventual election of a congressman of East Indian descent.