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China on the Palouse

China on the Palouse logo

Held on the University of Idaho main campus, China on the Palouse provides University of Idaho students and community members an opportunity to learn more about China in a comfortable, informal setting. Each seminar focuses on a different topic related to Chinese culture and opportunities for audience members to engage with our guest presenters is provided at the end of the hour long presentations. These gatherings are a wonderful opportunity for you to meet new friends, engage with native Chinese speakers and learn more about China. All are welcome to join! These events are free and open to the public.

Spring Semester 2016 Schedule

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
The Chinese in Idaho

The Chinese began coming to Idaho in the mid-1860s. While most were then employed as miners, they also performed a wide variety of other occupations and made important contributions to the growth and development of Idaho as a state. This presentation provides background on Chinese immigration and focuses on the Chinese experience in Idaho, including occupations, geographical distribution, customs and anti-Chinese legislation. Excavations of Chinese archaeological sites in Idaho have shown that the Chinese here relied mostly on familiar products imported from China, but used American-made goods on occasion.

Guest Presenter: Priscilla Wegars
Whitewater Room – Idaho Commons Building
12:30 p.m. | Free Admission

A Chinese woman sits on the front steps in a black and white photograph.
A photo of Polly Bemis.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Chinese Funerary Customs in Idaho and the West

At first, the Chinese in Idaho and the West usually buried their dead in exclusively Chinese cemeteries. Later, Chinese burials also took place in Christian cemeteries. Together, both types of cemeteries exhibit a variety of Chinese funerary customs and rituals, including fengshui, or grave placement; exhumation of remains for shipment to China; diverse grave markers in Chinese and/or English; and funerary structures, such as shrines and burners. Burning paper replicas of real objects sends them to the spirit world for use by the deceased in the afterlife, while burning “Hell money” transforms it into currency that the deceased can use to purchase needed items.

Guest Presenter: Terry Abraham
Whitewater Room – Idaho Commons Building
12:30 p.m. | Free Admission

A graveyard.
A Chinese grave marker in a cemetery.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Chinese in Peril: The Massacre in Hells Canyon

In 1887, a group of three-dozen Chinese gold miners from Lewiston, all immigrants, were murdered and robbed at their mining site in Hells Canyon on the Oregon-Idaho border. The massacre was the worst of the many crimes committed by whites against Chinese immigrants across the American West. Some of the killers were put on trial, but found innocent, even though their guilt was not in doubt. The crime was little-known until author R. Gregory Nokes wrote about it in his 2009 book, "Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon" published by Oregon State University Press. In 2012, a group of volunteers installed a memorial to the Chinese victims at the massacre site along the Snake River 65 miles south of Lewiston.

Guest Presenter: Gregory Nokes
Whitewater Room – Idaho Commons Building
12:30 p.m. | Free Admission

A Chinese man searches for gold by the river in a black and white photograph.
A photo of a Chinese miner.

Previous China on the Palouse Events

Confucius - The First Teacher

An introduction to Confucius and his contributions to Chinese Thought and Culture.
Guest Presenter: Robert Snyder

Laozi and Daoism - The Way of Harmony

An introduction to Laozi and Daoism and their relation to Confucius and Chinese culture.
Guest Presenter: Robert Snyder

San Jiao - A Chinese Integral Approach

An introduction to the philosophical interplay of Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist thought in Chinese history and culture.
Guest Presenter: Robert Snyder

Kungfu & Chinese Culture

Guest Presenter: Professor Yingzhi Li
Southwest University of China

Genesee Valley Daoist Hermitage

Guest Presenter: Charlotte Sun

An Introduction to Beautiful Chinese Cuisines

Guest Presenter: Yinghao Wang

American Wanderlust in the Middle Kingdom

Guest Presenter: Matthias Fostvedt

Chinese Elements in Visual Design: What Can We See in the Culture of China?

Guest Presenter: Professor Yong Zang
Chair of the Department of Creativity and Design, College of Art and Design, Jiangsu University of Technology

For more information on the China on the Palouse series, please contact the Confucius Institute at (208) 885-7110.

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Confucius Institute

Physical Address:
328 Administration Building

Mailing Address:
Confucius Institute
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3154
Moscow, ID 83844-3154

Phone: 208-885-7110

Fax: 208-885-5221


Web: Confucius Institute