Massacre in Hells Canyon to be marked in stone at Chinese Remembering 2012

For its fifth year Lewiston’s Chinese Remembering history conference is marking in stone one of the worst acts of racial violence in the west.

This is the 125th anniversary of the massacre of as many as 34 Chinese gold miners in Hells Canyon south of Lewiston. No one was ever held accountable and the incident was largely forgotten for decades. Through the Chinese Remembering Project a group of regional historians have worked to spread knowledge of Chinese contributions and sacrifices in the west. The annual history conference Chinese

Remembering has drawn attendees from around the country and contributions for the memorial have come from Chinese communities around the Northwest.

A granite memorial marking the massacre site was placed at Deep Creek earlier this month by a helicopter. Participants at this year’s conference will journey to the site by jet boat June 22 for a dedication and a healing ceremony.

Chinese Remembering 2012 is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 21-22. People can attend either day although both days are recommended. June 21 is a series of historical and cultural lectures at Lewis-Clark State College Williams Conference Center. Cost is $30 and includes an evening reception at the LCSC Center for Arts & History. The second day is a guided jet boat trip into Hells Canyon visiting various sites connected to the Chinese. Cost is $135 and includes lunch and refreshments. Attendance on the jet boat tour is limited to 100. Total cost for both days is $165.

Spearheaded by area history enthusiasts Lyle Wirtanen and Garry Bush, both of Lewiston, the Chinese Remembering Project started in 2008. The two were inspired by early research on the Hells Canyon massacre by retired Oregonian reporter R. Gregory Nokes. Nokes’ subsequent book, “Massacred for Gold, The Chinese in Hells Canyon,” revealed new information about the crime. He is one of the presenters at the conference and he and others have worked to make sure the murdered miners are honored and the incident is remembered.

Registration for one day is available by calling (208) 792-2749. Registration for both days is available online:

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