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Good Neighbors:  A History of Chinese People in Lewiston, Idaho

(1860s – 1970s)


Curriculum Prepared by Alyse Cadez

Welcome to a curriculum for elementary to senior high students to accompany the documentary film Good Neighbors:  Legacy of American Chinese in Lewiston, Idaho.


The film, which was produced by Lewiston filmmaker Patricia Keith, tells the story of the thousands of Chinese men who in the 1860s joined the rush to Clearwater and Salmon River gold mines.  Some of these people helped establish Lewiston, Idaho, as a mining supply center. When the mining boom ended, most returned to China, but some made Lewiston their home, learned English, started families, even became citizens. Several of these Chinese pioneers managed and owned restaurants, enabling them to sponsor later immigrants in the 1970s. 


Theirs is a story of hard work and isolation; but it is also a story of courage and friendship. Ultimately it is a story of neighbors—neighbors often brought together by food, both Chinese and American food, cooked by Chinese families of this town at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers, and at the confluence of many cultures.


The curriculum was created by Alyse Cadez in cooperation with the filmmaker and the Nez Perce County Historical Society.  Financial support for the film and the curriculum was provided by the Idaho Humanities Council, Redd Center for Western Studies (Brigham Young University), and the Nez Perce County Historical Society

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