Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum presents Gregory Nokes Friday, June 23, 2017 for “Chinese in Peril: The 1887 Hells Canyon Massacre.” A 6 pm dinner will be followed by the 7 pm program. Nokes’ presentation is based on his book, Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon, which inspired the recent OPB-TV program, Massacre at Hells Canyon.
The year is 1887, a time of virulent anti-Chinese violence throughout the American West. Thirty-four immigrant Chinese gold miners are savagely murdered along the Snake River in remote Hells Canyon on the Oregon-Idaho border. The crime isn’t discovered until weeks later when battered bodies begin floating out of the mouth of the canyon near Lewiston, seventy miles downstream.
The killers are an improbable gang of seven horse thieves and school boys, one just fifteen, from northeastern Oregon’s rugged Wallowa County. The gang kills without mercy, driven by racial hatred and a lust for gold. The plot is hatched in a schoolyard in tiny Imnaha, Oregon, where the schoolboys are lured to the crime by the soothing assurances of the gang’s leader, Bruce “Blue” Evans, who tells them: “We’d be getting ourselves some gold, and we’d be doing our country a favor by getting rid of the Chinamen.’’
Tickets for the 6 pm dinner and program are $19; the 7 pm program only is $5. Purchase tickets by calling 541-296-8600 ext. 201.