HomeChinese AmericanUniversity to fill the gaps in telling of Chinese American history

University to fill the gaps in telling of Chinese American history

The untold story of Chinese American history in Oregon will be revealed thanks to nearly $500,000 in funding for the Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project (OCDP)

Chelsea Rose, director of the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology, said that “these funds will be used to explore and document the history of Chinese Oregonians living in diverse geographical areas and working in a variety of industries, in an effort to better capture the full range of Chinese American heritage and experience in Oregon” in an interview with SOU News.

In another interview with Here is Oregon, Rose added that the project team “had no idea of the scale and scope of Chinese American history in Oregon”, when they first began, but “every single place we have looked has had sites and stories that we are eager to document and share”. Rose also added that the current funding will assist the OCDP in both filling gaps in the archaeological and historical record, and in the impact Chinese American had in Oregon’s canning, fishing, agriculture, ironworks, and other industries.

In addition, the newfound funding will also include abandoned collections from previous archaeological efforts, producing a series of field schools, exhibits, volunteer opportunities, digital content, and public and events and programs according to SOU News.

Through these efforts, OCDP hopes to disprove dated stereotypes about Chinese Americans and showcase the lives of Chinese immigrants and Americans who were instrumental in establishing Oregon’s earliest infrastructure

OCDP has partnered with agencies such as the Portland Chinatown Museum, Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon State Parks, Malheur National Forest, and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. All will help with gathering information and archaeological sites for investigation.

The OCDP has accumulated several awards, the most recent being from the National Trust of Historical Preservation in November, as well as the 2022 American Association for State & Local History Award of Excellence.

The OCDP is a collaborative project from SOU’s Laboratory of Anthropology, which aims to take a deeper look into the lives of Chinese Oregonians. The project, founded in 2016, has primarily focused on 19th century railroad and mining settlements in Jacksonville, Oregon and in the John Day River area in Southern Oregon. But thanks to the new federal funding, which is double the total funding OCDP received in 2016, they are able to go further beyond that.

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