This is our 6th annual Asian Pacific American travel article. Several of the places suggested in this year's article are a little hard to get to, so please check our previous articles for more ideas (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009). Let us know if you check out any of our suggested destinations - please feel free to contribute other ideas and to even share pictures.
San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
By Howell Chan
In a Mission Revival style brick building on the northwest corner of 3rd Avenue and J Street in San Diego is the Chinese Historical Museum. The brick building was constructed in 1927 as a Chinese mission. The Chinese Historical Society, prominent Chinese Americans, and the community saved the building from potential demolition during the 1980s, and relocated it to its present location.
The museum was dedicated on January 13, 1996 and exhibits memorabilia and objects pertaining to the history of Chinese Americans in San Diego. A garden and koi pond are part of the museum. Additional items in the museum's collection are displayed in an extension on the northeast corner of the same intersection.
Children's author Oliver Chin, and psychology professor and historian John Jung are scheduled for readings in July and August at the museum.
The Chinese Historical Museum resides in the Asian Pacific Historical District of San Diego. This area included Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino communities. Walking tours of San Diego's Asian Pacific Historical District originate from the museum the second Saturday of each month.
2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
By Emily Lin
The 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival will be held on June 24-28 and July 1-5 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Smithsonian museums. The Smithsonian museums collect different objects, photos, historical artifacts and technological inventions including items of significance to Asian Pacific American history and culture. The Asian Pacific American part of this festival helps people learn about the heritage and the contributions of Asian Pacific Americans. The festival brings people from different cultures and ethnic identity together and makes connections to diverse communities through music, dance, lectures, and children's activities. The festival has been held for 41 years and people from across the country and from around the world come to take part in the festivities.
The Asian Pacific American part of the festival this year features the cultures of people living along the Mekong River including the cultures of China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
On July 1st, there will be many excellent events about Asian Pacific Americans, including Sikh Music, Buddhist Monk Ordination: Burmese American, Hindustani Song, Chinese American Opera, Celebratory Music: Making Connections, and other special activities about diverse culture of stories and cooking.
On July 2nd, the focus will be on teaching about the culture of Chinese American, Bangladeshi American, Mongolian American, Indian American and Sri Lankan American. Stories about immigration will be presented on that day. People will have a chance to learn about the difficulties faced by immigrants to the United States and how they get use to the different cultures and languages.
On July 3rd to July 5th, there will be martial arts, and tradition music and arts of different countries, including Japan, China, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, and Mongolia.
In the festival, people can directly talk to other people who care and practice the traditions that are being highlighted. Collected stories, images, videos and audio clips of traditional Asian Pacific American culture will be preserved on the Festival website.
Asian Pacific Americans are part of the mainstream of the United States. As the linguistic, ethnic identities, and religious diversity integrate into American life, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program helps us understand the importance of these different cultures.
Manila Village and Saint Malo, Louisiana
By Leonard D. Chan
With all the news about the recent oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the PBS News Hour program had a segment where they visited a site called Manila Village in the Mississippi River Delta area. The story mention the "forlorn pilings," the last remnants of the village, and how the land was slowly sinking back into the sea as a result of the marsh land destruction, but nothing was mentioned about the historical significance of this location.
Manila Village was the largest of several sites of fishing and shrimping villages inhabited mainly by Filipino Americans during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Another near by Filipino village called Saint Malo is believed by some to be site of the oldest Asian community in America. Famed author, journalist, and traveler Lafcadio Hearn published an 1883 Harper's Weekly article about Saint Malo.
Saint Malo was destroyed by a hurricane in 1915 and Manila Village was destroyed by hurricane Betsy in 1965. Any evidence of these villages is fast disappearing as a result of the deterioration of surrounding marshlands, which acted as a natural barrier against storms. The BP oil disaster will no doubt further hasten the destruction of these protective swamplands. If you wish to see the hand-pounded wood piling foundations of Manila Village, go now before it disappears completely.
The location of Saint Malo can be found on Goggle Maps (Saint Malo Google Map) .
Manila Village has the coordinates of N29 25.686° W89 58.591°. This locations can be found on Maquest (Mapquest map to Manila Village).
A fishing website (louisianasportsman.com) also has some information about how to find Manila Village.
Chinese Massacre Cove in Hells Canyon Oregon
By Leonard D. Chan
When I first considered this location for inclusion in our travel article, I was wavering towards no. My immediate thought was that a site where over 30 Chinese gold miners horribly lost their lives in 1887 was not a place I would like to visit. However, Greg Nokes' book Massacred for Gold changed my mind.
Hells Canyon, Oregon, by its name, sounds like a foreboding location. However, even in this corner of our country, Asian Americans chose to search for their American dream. Little did they realize that it would be their final place of rest.
The particulars are all detailed in Nokes' book and in an earlier article he wrote for the Oregon Historical Quarterly - of how seven locals slaughtered the Chinese miners and dumped the bodies in the river, of how the miners stolen gold was never found, of how three people were brought to trial but none were ever convicted, of how court records remained hidden and buried away in a safe, and how the story was equally lost and forgotten for over a hundred years.
What made me reconsider this site as being worthy of inclusion in this article was a picture in the book of a local Native American Nez Perce elder leading a group, many non-Asians, in a healing ceremony at the massacre site. Nokes and the other people that attended this ceremony had the compassion to remember and honor the fallen Chinese miners - so shouldn't we all?
Here's a link to the Google map to the site.
Nichi Bei Weekly Obon and Summer Festival Guide
Obon is a Japanese Buddhist practice of honoring one's departed ancestral spirits. Japanese Buddhist temples and churches around the country carry on the tradition of holding obon festivals where bon odori dances are commonly performed.
The Nichi Bei Weekly's June-17-23 issue has a wonderful article and list on most of the Japanese American summer festivals taking place throughout California and even a few out of state. Check out their website or come to our store to get your copy of the Nichi Bei's guide.