Hard Is the Journey
Stories of Chinese Settlement in British Columbia's Kootenay
Award-winning writer Lily Chow shares the difficult history of Chinese Canadians in the Kootenay through first-hand stories that are devastating, heartfelt and inspiring.
In Hard Is the Journey, award-winning historian and researcher Lily Chow exposes the difficult history of Chinese Canadians in the Kootenay, shedding light on the stories of those who risked everything and often lost their lives in building the Canada we know today. Bravely, she unearths the racism of early newspapers that portrayed Chinese immigrants as dirty, sinister, and lethargic people not fit to live in BC. Through painstaking research, she exposes stories of injustice and exploitation, such as the history of the Chinese labourers who completed the deadly work of blazing the Dewdney Trail from Hope to Kootenay only to be dismissed, without any compensation, as soon as the project was completed.
Through it all, she also offers an intimate and inspiring look into the many ways Chinese immigrants survived, finding community, building resilience, and preserving their culture. Featuring powerful interviews with descendants of Chinese immigrants alongside old government documents and newspaper articles, Hard Is the Journey is a unique testament to the resilience and accomplishments of Chinese Canadians in the face of injustice.
- Joint winner, Dr. Edgar Wickberg Book Prize 2023