Monday, March 03, 2008

Surinder Gill, My Sikh Mother and I: The Way We Are in America

(This presentation was a part of CIIS Multiversity February 2008)

The intent of this dissertation is to identify and examine a number of major issues experienced by immigrant Sikh mothers and their daughters living in America. Like most immigrant families, Sikh families’ immigration journeys entail stories about struggles, dreams, and displacement. The material gathered here will describe how adapting to a new environment and surviving in the dominant American culture places immigrant Sikh mothers and their daughters in difficult, and at times peculiar, predicaments. Not only do these stories share the impact on their relationships but uncover the religious and cultural messages of how a Sikh woman is expected to behave and relate in the world.

Surinder presented on this topic at the Oral History Conference in October, 2007 in San Francisco.

Surinder Gill is a second generation Sikh American who has worked as a social service provider for close to ten years and has found that the immigrant experiences are often misunderstood and there is a lack of tools to adequately service immigrant families in the area of intergenerational issues. Currently she is writing a dissertation to complete a PhD at CIIS in Transformative Studies, struggling to raise two amazing daughters to know their Sikh roots while experiencing disownment based on marriage to their Italian American father.

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