New Sikh Arrivals Feel Welcomed

September 4, 2007


Source: SikhNet News/Bellingham Herald

Tuesday marked the 100-year anniversary of Bellingham’s “Hindu” riots, when a mob rounded up the city’s East Indian mill workers and ordered them out of town. This is the second part of a two-day package examining the riots, their aftermath and comparisons to racism today.

When Satpal Sidhu moved to Bellingham from Canada with his family in the mid-’80s, he thought the dozen or so East Indian families already here were among the first to settle in Whatcom County.

He was surprised to learn there were about 200 East Indian lumber mill workers in Bellingham around the turn of the century — until they were run out of town in a 1907 race riot.

“Our people have been here 100 years,” said Sidhu, now a leader at the county’s main Sikh temple. “Most of our community has gathered here in the last 10 years.”