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Chinese in Montana: Our Forgotten Pioneers


with Ellen Baumler

author and interpretive historian, Montana Historical Society

Chinese pioneers have been neglected in Montana’s written record, even though in 1870 they comprised 10 percent of the population. By the 1950s, very few remained. Chinese homes and businesses fell victim to urban renewal programs. Time erased their remote mining and railroad camps. Traces of their culture disappeared, and their stories have become obscured in myth and legend. What happened to these pioneers and where did they go? Historian and award-winning author Baumler explores Montana’s urban and remote Chinese settlements through archaeological sites, artifacts, and rare remaining landmarks, recalling the contributions of Montana’s Chinese residents and the cultural footprints they left behind.