New Memorial Honors Murdered Chinese Gold Miners

May 9, 2012

A granite memorial arrived by helicopter Tuesday at a remote cove in Hells Canyon on the Idaho-Oregon border. The stone will mark the site where a large group of Chinese gold miners was massacred way back in 1887. 

Private contributions paid for the engraving and transportation of the 1,100 pound granite marker. Memorial project treasurer Lyle Wirtanen says the stone was inscribed in English, Chinese and the native Nez Perce language.

"It basically says, Chinese Massacre Cove where in 1887 up to 34 Chinese miners were massacred for their gold. No one was held accountable."

The massacre in Hells Canyon counts among the worst atrocities committed by whites against Chinese immigrant laborers during the 19th century. The crime was covered up for decades afterwards. Wirtanen says he hopes the emplacement of the memorial helps the history become better known.

"We are trying to heal the sins of the past and contribute some positives to the history of that Chinese ethnic group," Wirtanen says.

A formal dedication of the memorial marker takes place on June 22nd.


On the Web:

Chinese Remembering:

"Massacred for Gold, The Chinese in Hells Canyon":

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Networkk