A study released today illustrates evidence of more than 500 historic mining sites located along the Fraser Corridor, with some dating as far back as the 1800s.
The Fraser Corridor Heritage Landscape Project report will help government assess the heritage values of placer gold mining sites along the Fraser River and guide government in the conservation and acknowledgement of important sites, particularly those associated with First Nations and early Chinese Canadian communities.
Produced jointly by researchers at the University of British Columbia and at Simon Fraser University and by the Heritage Branch in the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of International Trade and Responsible for Multiculturalism, the Fraser Corridor report documents the rich cultural landscape where early Chinese immigrants worked, raised families and contributed to B.C.’s economic development and cultural heritage.
The report details the historical context of these sites, the factors leading to their historic importance being overlooked, and introduces an evaluation framework to guide the interpretation of heritage value that can be readily applied to cultural landscapes in B.C.
Recognition of historical sites is one of the issues raised in the 2014 B.C. legislature apology for wrongs against early Chinese Canadians and anti-Chinese historical legislation. With a B.C. government contribution of $40,000, the report is included in the Chinese Legacy Initiative projects and responds to a key recommendation in the Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report and Recommendations to identify historical sites.
Earlier this year Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism Teresa Wat led a Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council (LIAC) delegation, which included two LIAC co-chairs, Dr Henry Yu and David Choi, to meet with Lytton First Nation's Chief Janet Webster and Lytton First Nation Councillor John Haugen to explore some of the more remote sites featured in the report.
The tour provided an opportunity to produce a video that provides a rare view of these significant cultural landscapes and the early relationships between Chinese Canadian settlers and local First Nations: https://youtu.be/_DMmRy9zYzg
Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism ─
“Understanding the heritage values embodied in historic places such as those along the Fraser River bring B.C.’s collective history to life. These sites illustrate the early relationships between Chinese Canadian settlers and local First Nations communities and provide tangible examples of Chinese Canadian’s economic and cultural contributions to the building of B.C.”
Dr. Henry Yu, professor of history, University of British Columbia ─
“Although Gold Rushes brought people from all around the world to California, Alaska, the Yukon, Australia and New Zealand, some of these historic mining sites in B.C. are absolutely unique and almost pristine compared to anywhere else. They are evidence of how Chinese often engaged deeply and respectfully with First Nations and stayed long after other miners left. It’s a forgotten but important chapter in the shared history of the peoples of B.C.”
- The Fraser Corridor Heritage Landscape Project explores an area spanning 600 kilometres of the Fraser Corridor, in particular from Hope to Quesnel.
- Chinese workers first landed in Nu-chah-nulth territory in 1788 as part of Captain John Meares’ expedition to build the first year-round, non-indigenous settlement in what is now known as Nootka Sound.
- Later, Chinese workers and merchants began importing goods from their extensive trans-Pacific trade networks and building early industries in farming, logging, fishing, ranching and mining.
- By the 1860s, Chinese immigrants were mining on the Fraser River.
- Chinese workers often worked alongside and married into First Nations communities up the Fraser River and throughout B.C.
- These migrants spoke Cantonese and continued to come to British Columbia in search of economic opportunity even after the Gold Rush had ended.
Chinese Legacy Initiative:
- The Chinese Legacy Initiative projects are the result of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultations, where many participants advocated for the preservation of Chinese Canadian cultural history.
- The legacy projects stem from the Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report and Recommendations, which provided the recommended wording for the formal apology to Chinese Canadians for historical wrongs in the legislature on May 15, 2014, and recommended legacy initiatives.
- The B.C. government’s implementation of recommendations in The Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report and Recommendations is guided with advice from the Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council.
To read the full Fraser Corridor Heritage Landscape Project report, see: http://ow.ly/TbY1g
For more information about the legacy projects and the Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council:
View the Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report and Recommendations: