Behind the glitter of the Kaur Foundation’s events this week to celebrate the Sikh Collection at the Library of Congress in Washington is an extraordinary initiative to preserve Sikh American history and heritage at the national institution.
The library’s Asian Division is developing a Sikh component to its Asian American and Pacific Islander Collection to collect, conserve and document materials related to the Sikh experience in America.
“This collection of materials by, about and related to Asian Americans highlights the growing recognition that Americans of Asian ancestry are important components of America’s diverse cultural fabric,” said Peter Young, head of the Asian Division. “No group has brought more to this diversity than the Sikh American community.”
The library is co-sponsoring the conference with the Kaur Foundation on June 18 and 19 to publicize this initiative with the hope that Sikhs will come forward and donate materials with a unique primary-research value, Young said.
Unique, current and historical materials on Sikh in America, whether in English or Punjabi, will become part of this special collection. This includes correspondences, letters, diaries, oral history interviews, documents showing the establishment of heritage schools for youth, founding documents of social organizations and youth organizations and community newsletters.