Sikh and US Immigration History



  • Understand the origins of Sikh immigration in the United States
  • Analyze the historical context that proceeded the 1907 Bellingham Riots
  • Discover the connection between Sikh history and US Immigration Acts


This lesson plan focuses on a general overview of Sikhism (also known as Sikhi), Sikh immigration to the United States, and how Sikh immigrants played a role in the development of early immigration laws. Despite its geographical and cultural similarities to Hinduism or Islam, it is important to emphasize that Sikhism is a religion distinct from either Hinduism or Islam. Educators should begin the lesson plan by familiarizing themselves with the background information necessary to facilitate this lesson plan. This can be found in the Sikh & U.S. Immigration History Educator Guide, which also contains additional resources and labeled links for further reading.


  1. Who are the Sikh, and how did their immigration story contribute to U.S. immigration history?
  2. Why is it important to understand the development of the Asiatic Exclusion League and subsequent immigration acts? How can we see their impacts today?
  3. How can immigration legislation impact the way the American public perceives immigrants?


  • Introduction Video, “Who Are the Sikhs?”
  • Sikh Coalition, Sikh Awareness Presentation Handout
  • Sikh & U.S. Immigration History Presentation (Student-Facing)
  • Concentric Circles Activity (Slide 15, Presentation)
  • Student Handout: Primary Source Analysis
  • Research Activity (Slide 25, Presentation)

Lesson plan created in partnership with Diversify Our Narrative