Contrary to traditional historiography, the Cariboo region of British Columbia was the site of complex interracial interactions involving Chinese, White, Black, and Native participants during the gold field period from 1860-1 871. The presence of three subregions within the Cariboo; the hinterland, gold towns, and mines, explains the complexity of these interactions. Different social norms characterized and shaped the nature of interracial interactions in each sub-region. In the hinterland, a diversity of economies ensured that interracial interactions took place without the White dominance that characterized the towns and mines. Elite Whites attempted to create the towns as an idealized space through the application of social norms that reinforced their power. Finally, a community of gold miners dominated by working class Whites attempted to dictate social norms, and therefore interracial interactions, in the mines. In each of these spaces, interracial interactions responded to the power relationships present in sometimes contradictory ways.
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