Chinese Canadians and First Nations: 150 Years of Shared Experience

This is a project is created by the Chinese Canadian Historical Society, called “Chinese Canadians and First Nations: 150 Years of Shared Experiences.”  Using video technology, especially social media, it focuses on an important and unrecognized component of BC’s history: the relationships between Chinese Canadians and First Nations people of the province.   While much research projects looking at the Chinese in early British Columbia have focussed on history in relationship to the gold rush, the building of the railroad, in the fishing and agricultural industries and the development of Chinatowns in Victoria and Vancouver, nothing has been done on the Chinese  community that was often in close contact with First Nations peoples, as both groups shared experiences of exclusion, racism, perseverance and love.

Chinese and the First Nations people have in fact had an interesting and complex history together in British Columbia, however, this history has gone largely unknown and unrecorded.   I was first introduced to the history of this relationship when I had read SKY Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe.  In this story, Wong Gwei Chang, as he was left for dead after being mugged while working on the railways in the Interior of BC, was rescued by a First Nations man, and was taken into the family and later fell in love with the daughter.

September 14, 2010   1 Comment