Free Lecture on the Chinese in Hells Canyon
Sometime in May of 1887, as many as thirty-four Chinese miners were massacred at the mouth of Deep Creek in Hells Canyon. Their bodies were thrown into the Snake River and the killers fled with the miner’s gold. The U.S. Geographic Names Board has since officially designated the site as Chinese Massacre Cove.
Greg Nokes, a Portland, Oregon historian and former assistant editor of The Oregonian, has done extensive research on the massacre. On Thursday evening, June 26, he will give a lecture in the ballroom of the historic Lewis & Clark Hotel in downtown Lewiston, with a reception to follow in the Lewis Clark Center for Arts & History. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The next day, June 27, a historically interpreted jet boat tour into Hells Canyon to sites once occupied by Chinese will occur. The tour is sold out but includes stops at China Gardens, Chinese Massacre Cove, and more. A brief healing ceremony will occur at the “Cove” with Horace Axtell, Nez Perce Elder, and Father Dick Haldane, St. Mary’s Parish in Cottonwood, offering prayers of healing. The intent of the “remembering/healing” is to remind people of the tragedy, to bring about some kind of reconciliation, and to honor an ethnic group who contributed to the local and regional history but whose history is little mentioned.
This is the first of three planned annual programs to tell the history of the Chinese in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. The programs are co-sponsored by the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude, Lewis Clark State College, Lewis Clark Center for Arts & History, the Lewiston Chamber of Commerce, and the Idaho Humanities Council. 
If you have questions please contact Lyle Wirtanen at or at (208)962-2051


Cottonwood, Idaho 83522



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503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
Fax 208-962-7131
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