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Roots and Reflections

South Asians in the Pacific Northwest

by Amy Ghatt and Nalina Iyer

Publication Year: 2013

Published by: University of Washington Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xvi

Grounded in the South Asian Oral History Project (SAOHP) sponsored by the University of Washington Libraries, Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest is a pioneering study of the establishment and growth of the vibrant South Asian communities in the Pacific Northwest. Unlike other histories of the region, this...

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pp. xvii-xxvi

This book is the result of many levels of collaboration; by its very design, the South Asian Oral History Project (SAOHP) has been a collaborative endeavor among the narrators, the University of Washington Libraries, members of the SAOHP advisory board, and the larger University of Washington community, including the University of Washington Press. As...

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Introduction: Situating Stories: An Introduction to South Asian Communities in the Pacific Northwest

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pp. 3-17

The Pacific Northwest,1 with its snowcapped mountains, bountiful waterways, and emerald forests, has long occupied a place in the American imagination as a site of exploration, discovery, and the conclusion of a nation’s “manifest destiny.” With a rich and storied history, the region has played host to old and new cultures coexisting in a sometimes tenuous, but always vibrant, balance...

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1. “Finding Traces of Our Existence Here”: Pre-World War Two South Asian Migrations

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pp. 18-45

On the evening of September 4, 1907, several Indian3 men were settling in for the night after putting in a long day at the local lumber mills in Bellingham, Washington. Close to the Canadian border in the northwestern corner of Washington State, Bellingham was then a bustling mill town and seaport and the county seat of Whatcom County. Although...

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2. Routes and Roots: Stories of Departure and Arrival

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pp. 46-75

Her sari fluttering in the sea breeze as she waved to friends and family gathered on the shore, Shanta Gangolli felt a wave of excitement wash over her as she prepared to embark on a new life alongside her young husband. Only after the ocean liner pulled away from the dock in Calcutta and the familiar faces faded into the masses did the enormity of her voyage...

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3. Creating Professional Classes: Education and Training

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pp. 76-100

On a sweltering August day in 1979, Lakshmi Gaur was filled with trepidation and excitement as she stepped into a large meeting room at the Ministry of Education in Delhi. Leaving nothing to chance, she had dressed carefully that morning in a green sari, as that was her lucky color. Gaur had been studying at Punjab University...

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4. All in a Day’s Work: Employment, Migration, and Identity

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pp. 101-135

When Raj Joshi arrived in Seattle in the 1950s, he found a predominantly white city with a segregated educational system, de facto redlining that marked where people of color could not rent or buy homes, and a working environment that made Indians like him feel like outsiders. Although he was well-credentialed and trained in Washington State...

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5. Falling from the Tree: Family, Gender, and Generational Differences

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pp. 136-171

When the snow began to fall during her first winter in the United States in 1958, Shanta Gangolli began to have serious doubts about her decision to accompany her husband to chilly Cambridge, Massachusetts, as he began his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After the initial excitement of her overseas voyage had worn off, the reality...

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6. Seeds take Root: Growing South Asian Communities in the Pacific Northwest

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pp. 172-204

As the last days of summer faded and the gray drizzle marked the onset of autumn in Seattle, each year the Wahi household would turn from warm-weather pursuits toward preparations for a Diwali party. Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights marking the arrival of the new year, was a big event for many Indians living near their home in Mercer Island...

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Epilogue: Meditations on Methodologies

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pp. 205-218

More than a century after the first Sikh migrants set foot on the western shores of Canada and wound their way down the coast, South Asian communities in the Pacific Northwest thrive in the rich inheritance of that first arrival. South Asians created new institutions and organizations in the region, even during the “barred zone” period of Asian...

Appendix 1: Interviews in the South Asian Oral History Project

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pp. 219-220

Appendix 2: Narrator Biographies

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pp. 221-232


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pp. 233-253


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pp. 254-261


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pp. 262-273

E-ISBN-13: 9780295804552
E-ISBN-10: 0295804556
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295992440
Print-ISBN-10: 0295992441

Page Count: 299
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: First edition.

OCLC Number: 828869766
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Roots and Reflections

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • South Asian Americans -- Northwest, Pacific -- Social conditions.
  • Immigrants -- Northwest, Pacific -- Social conditions.
  • South Asian Americans -- Northwest, Pacific -- Interviews.
  • Immigrants -- Northwest, Pacific -- Interviews.
  • Northwest, Pacific -- Biography.
  • Oral history -- Northwest, Pacific.
  • Community life -- Northwest, Pacific.
  • Northwest, Pacific -- Ethnic relations.
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