Banner Image. Oregon Chinese Disinterment Documents
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Introduction to the Collection

Baker City Chinese Cemetery

Baker City Chinese Cemetery
Photo Credit: Tom Banse

It is part of Chinese tradition for the living to care for the deceased’s remains in order to protect both the spirits of the family members who are living and those who have died. The way in which Chinese immigrants that came to the Pacific Northwest in the mid-nineteenth century and afterward continued this practice was by making arrangements for their remains to be disinterred and shipped back to China to their families.

In early 2010, an anonymous donor gave a box of documents to public radio’s Northwest News Network pertaining to the 1948-1949 disinterment and shipment of Chinese immigrant remains from Portland to Hong Kong. The Oregon Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) organized the disinterment of remains from numerous Oregon cemeteries.

In addition to digitized images of the documents, this exhibit
includes the story of the documents, the historical background
of Chinese immigrants in Oregon as well as the practice of
disinterment, information regarding future plans for a memorial,
and a list of resources for further research.