It’s kind of fitting the Nam Sing Packing Expedition Historic Re-creation will roll into Barkerville at high noon on Sunday, Sept. 8 during the historic town’s Cowboys and Drovers Jubilee. There won’t be any showdowns on Main Street, but there will be a wagon train, historic re-enactors and a large troop of riders in costume celebrating the legacy of Chinese pioneer Nam Sing.
“It’s more hoedown than showdown, but that’s not to say we haven’t had to face a little adversity in staging the event,” said New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS) secretary Brent Rutherford. “Due to the fire seasons in 2017 and 2018, we had to postpone the event twice. But this year, it’s third time lucky and promises to be quite a show.”
Rutherford is one of the re-enactors taking part in the historic recreation of one of Nam Sing’s deliveries of produce and other goods to Barkerville in 1869, to commemorate the rebuilding of Theatre Royal and the rest of the town following the disastrous fire of the previous year.
The event is in part being staged as a tribute to the resilience of Cariboo communities impacted by back-to-back record-setting fire seasons. But it’s also to raise awareness of B.C.’s rich multicultural identity.
“Nam Sing was a miner, a packer and an early entrepreneur who employed First Nations, Kanakan, Mexican and other workers during the Gold Rush and afterwards,” said multicultural director Lily Chow. “His narrative is also emblematic of the ‘Cedar-Bamboo’ relationship between the early Chinese pioneers and the First Nations that played an important role in the founding of modern British Columbia.”
Nam Sing came to B.C. from China in 1858. He worked as a miner near Yale before heading for the Cariboo to run a pack train between Quesnel and Barkerville. His multicultural crews delivered produce and other goods to the miners, merchants, gamblers and dreamers in Barkerville, capital of the Cariboo Gold Rush.
The event is being staged by NPTGS, Barkerville Historic Town and Park, Winter Quarter Productions and the Ministry of Arts, Tourism and Culture (Multiculturalism Branch), with sponsorship from Safeway Quesnel.
The project partners gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia.
— Submitted by New Pathways to Gold Society