Chinese Immigrant Past in Yosemite

A group of people smiling into the camera
Hikers at Sing Peak in 2013 (Photo courtesy of US Geological Survey).
1. History relies on those who are curious about our shared past. In her video, “A Glimpse into Yosemite’s Chinese History," Chan discusses the questions she asked and research she conducted to create resources for sharing how Chinese immigrants played an important role in shaping the Yosemite that we know today.

2. A variety of primary sources help us tell rich stories. Chan and her team reclaimed stories that had otherwise fallen to the wayside. Through photographs, articles, and other documents, the team shone new light on the experiences of Yosemite’s Chinese workers and in the process highlighted the park’s rich history.

3. New perspectives attract new audiences. The new voices of immigrant workers has enriched the interpretive message of Yosemite National Park and made the narrative relevant to new audiences, such as Chinese Americans.

4. Community partnerships foster long-term engagement. In response to the park’s research, the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (CHSSC) organized pilgrimages to the top of Sing Peak. This annual event honors Tie Sing, a legendary Chinese cook, as well as the greater legacy of Chinese immigrants in Yosemite Park. Together park staff and CHSSC inspire participants to contemplate what and what is not remembered by history.

5.Cultural and natural resources are always linked. Chinese workers built some of the very roads and trails that visitors drive and hike today. They also staffed park lodges and cooked meals. These programs showcase the connection between the park’s cultural history and resources and its spectacular landscape.


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