Panel Discussion     Series: OHQ on the Road

Bona Fide Merchants and the Buck Rock Tunnel: Chinese Diaspora in Southern Oregon

Free and open to the public

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
7PM – 8:30PM

  • Free
  • Researchers

Grizzly Peak Winery
1600 E Nevada St.
Ashland, Oregon 97520
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Event Type: Panel DiscussionAudience(s): ResearchersLocation: Ashland

From 1875 until 1943, various policies increasingly circumscribed the free movement of Chinese immigrants into and within the United States. These efforts had a profound and lasting affect on the Chinese diaspora in the Pacific Northwest and divided the Chinese community into two distinct classes: laborers and a privileged class that included merchants. The Wah Chung and Company Store (和昌) in Ashland played an important role in the maintenance of Oregon’s Chinese diaspora communities while also supplying goods to railroad laborers, such as those working to construct the Buck Rock Tunnel on the Oregon and California Railroad. Through a combination of historical-document analysis and landscape-scale archaeological investigation, researchers have uncovered powerful stories of the Chinese merchants and laborers whose actions left significant marks on southern Oregon. This program is part of the OHQ on the Road series, with upcoming programs inspired by the Winter 2021 “Chinese Diaspora in Oregon” special issue.

Doors open at 6pm. Wine and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.

Ability Accommodation Information

This event provides the following accommodations:

Lisa A. Rice is a Lead Archaeologist for the Medford District Bureau of Land Management, where she has worked for over twenty years. She provides cultural resource protection and interpretation, and actively builds partnerships to promote and protect the history of southern Oregon. Rice advocates for cultural stewardship through public talks, history hikes, and educational outreach. Her successful partnerships, in addition to the Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project, include Siskiyou Upland Trails Association’s work at Sterling Mine Ditch Trail and the Kerbyville and Camp White Museums. 

Chelsea Rose is a historical archaeologist who focuses on the settlement and development of the American West. Rose is a principal investigator in the Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project, which won the 2020 Oregon Heritage Excellence Award and the 2020 Bureau of Land Management Heritage Heroes award. Rose regularly works with the media, students, and community volunteers in an effort to promote archaeological awareness and encourage historical stewardship. Rose has been featured in books and magazines promoting STEM education, and her recent publication, Chinese Diaspora Archaeology in North America, is available from the University Press at Florida. 

About OHQ on the Road

OHQ on the Road brings scholars, authors, and knowledge-holders to connect with communities across Oregon to share insights from the scholarship produced in OHS’s journal, the Oregon Historical Quarterly (OHQ). Since 1900, the Quarterly has published well-researched, well-written history about Oregon and the Pacific Northwest for both scholars and general readers, amplifying the knowledge and perspectives that traditional scholarship has often silenced while sparking relevant conversations about history. 

In summer 2022, OHQ on the Road will feature programs inspired by the Winter 2021 “Chinese Diaspora in Oregon” special issue. In this issue, authors contribute to a growing body of work that documents early Chinese residents’ role in shaping Oregon’s development as well as reclaims their place in the history of the state. These programs are presented in partnership with the Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project (OCDP), a multi-agency partnership that has been excavating sites across the state to better understand and share the history of Oregon’s early Chinese residents. With a focus on rural communities, remote mining camps, and railroad construction, this collaborative project has provided important insight into the Chinese experience and role in the settlement and development of Oregon.

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