The Snake River massacre represents one of the most vicious acts of brutality against Chinese immigrants in U.S. history.
In May of 1887, Chinese gold miners working along the Snake River in Oregon were brutally attacked and murdered by a band of horse thieves. Although robbery appeared to have been their murderers’ primary motive, the viciousness of the attack and the subsequent failure to bring the perpetrators to justice are generally attributed to the racial bias harbored against Chinese immigrants in the western states and territories during the late nineteenth century.
Details of the incident have never been fully uncovered, in part because of the event’s remoteness and the harshness of the location where the murders occurred. However, at least one scholar suggests that a cover-up also took place. What is known is that possibly as many as thirty-four Chinese miners from several small camps on the Snake River were murdered and whatever gold they had was stolen. An investigation paid for by a member of the Chinese
Nokes, R. Gregory. “’A Most Daring Outrage’: Murder at Chinese Massacre Cove, 1887.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 107, no. 3 (2006): 326-353. Stratton, David H. “The Snake River Massacre of Chinese Miners, 1887.” In A Taste of the West: Essays in Honor of Robert G. Ahearn, edited by Duane A. Smith. Boulder, Colo.: Pruett Publishing, 1983.
California gold rush
Chinese Six Companies
Foreign miner taxes