Report to the President:
Japanese-American Internment Sites Preservation
Comments and information received through consultation process.
California Civil Liberties Public Education Program - Diane Matsuda, Program Director
War Relocation Centers
Other Internment sites:
also attached -- National Japanese American Historical Society - Rosalyn Tonai, Executive Director [received after report submitted to White House ]
Brief Background of the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. (CCLPEP)
In 1998, legislation was passed in the California State Legislature to create a program to educate the California community about the Japanese American experience during World War II. This piece of legislation is commonly referred to as AB 1915 and or the "CA Civil Liberties Public Education Program".
AB 1915, amongst other things, provides grants to individuals and organizations to encourage and create programs relating to the Japanese American incarceration and the periods immediately before and after World War II.
2001 marks the third grant cycle for CCLPEP. Grants range from $5000 to qualifying individuals. We are very proud of the success many of our grant recipients have had in sharing this important period of history with the California community and hope that our future grant recipients will continue this trend.
Currently, CCLPEP is scheduled to continue for five years.
Suggestions for the Department of the Interior
As many of the conference call participants indicated, CCLPEP is also in support of projects initiated and supported by the Department of the Interior that would preserve and protect the historic sites of the 10 concentration camps and Department of Justice camps in the United States.
Since CCLPEP is not directly involved in any of the projects we administer, we can only offer observations and suggestions as to the challenges and success our grant recipients have had in this area.
Thus, listed below are some of the points we would like to request that the Department of the Interior consider and possibly recommend in their final report to the White House staff. Although it is realized that some of the suggestions listed below are outside the traditional scope of the Department of Interior, it is hoped that such recommendations be considered and forwarded to the appropriate agencies for consideration.
*Partnerships with various governmental and non-governmental organizations (i.e., business, non-profit, educational institutions and possibly religious institutions) can increase the width and depth of knowledge about the Japanese American experience.
Specific examples include having the governmental organization who is in charge of the park site/land in issue to contract with the local community of the area and the Japanese American community to create educational programs, walking tours, school field trips and creative websites to increase the visibility and knowledge of local citizens. By integrating the work of all groups, a sense of ownership, pride and responsibility exists which will allow special projects to last far beyond the governmental resources dedicated to the project.
*Requesting the Department of Education to issue a Mandate to institute an inclusion of the Japanese American experience into all US history and other civics class curriculum.
Currently, the California Department of Education, (CDE), through their Social Studies Standards Department has required the inclusion of the history of the Japanese American incarceration experience in three grade levels:
But for the cooperation and assistance of CDE, it would be very difficult for public school teachers to include this important period of history as part of their course study.
We are fortunate to have many Nisei, (second generation Japanese American), and older Sansei, (third generation Japanese American), volunteers who have been willing to discuss their personal experience at local schools, but there are not enough volunteers for this method of instruction to be instituted throughout the State.
Thus, with the mandatory inclusion of this subject in the classroom, teachers have used resources created by various schoolteachers and other organizations to help supplement their discussion on this subject.
Since CCLPEP requires all grant recipients to follow CA State Standards in order for their project to be considered for funding, we have been able to clearly see how these projects can be easily incorporated into the hands of the instructors.
*Teacher Training Workshops for new and experienced teachers have greatly increased the interest and the ease of teaching this important period of history to their students. Many programs have instituted incentives for teachers by offering credit to encourage them to further their knowledge and ask questions relevant to their students' needs.
*Using underutilized venues as places for introducing individuals to the Japanese American experience is also a way to share this important period of history with other communities. By creating linkages and parallels with other periods of history or communities, the Japanese American experience can be clearly identified and expanded upon.
One example CCLPEP has had is working with the Italian American community who will be creating a book on the incarceration of individuals from their community and having a joint panel discussion with various members of the Japanese American community to highlight the similarities of their experience.
*Leaving a Legacy is also a very important component of CCLPEP. Currently, we are working with a world famous composer, Maestro Kent Nagano of the LA Opera and Berkeley Symphony, to create a symphonic piece on the Japanese American experience. We are also interested in creating a sculpture and garden in Sacramento, California, our state capitol, to commemorate this event.
Both instances will create a legacy, which will live far beyond the personal memories of those that were incarcerated and will hopefully serve as a reminder that all individuals must continue to fight and preserve the civil and constitutional right for all individuals.
*Creating State Civil Liberties Public Education Programs in each state would also ensure that all residents of the United States be informed of this important period of history. Currently, we are working closely with the Washington State Office of Public Instruction to assist them with their public education program.
The Legislation written and passed in the State of Washington is virtually the same language as was used to create CCLPEP. We would like to encourage and work with other state legislators to continue this movement for public education of this subject and would like to offer any and all assistance that can be provided for this to happen.
I will be very happy to answer and elaborate upon any of the above recommendations.
Please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your support and cooperation on this matter.
Tel: (916) 653-9404
Recommendation for the Topaz Internment Camp Preservation
Topaz is located 15 miles from Delta, Utah, (pop. 3400) the nearest large town. Construction on the camp began in June 1942 on the "lip" of the Great Basin, in an incredibly isolated region. By 1946 all of the barracks were moved from camp and are now scattered across Utah; some as far as 120 miles away, yet the Topaz site is a rich area, full of artifacts toothbrushes, buttons, marbles, cement gardens, walk-ways, foundations but overgrown with greasewood and ant hills.
In 1976 as a Bicentennial project Japanese American Citizen League chapters from Utah placed two markers remembering Topaz. One is at the camp and one in Delta. Until 1983 Topaz was almost a forgotten part of local history; that was when a Delta High journalism class started researching the history of the camp and writing articles about it.
Accomplishments of the Topaz Museum Board
In 1991 the Topaz Museum Board became a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the Topaz internment camp. We began our work by restoring half of a recreation hall to its 1943 condition. Since the camp Site is in an extremely remote part of the county (15 miles from town), the building was not placed at the site but is located on the grounds of the Great Basin Museum in Delta, Utah. People are free to walk in the building which is divided into a simulated apartment that is 20' x 16' and a room housing artifacts that were used at camp. It's a rather moving experience to be inside a barrack, not just because of the temperature fluctuations of the building, but because of its size and shoddy, yet authentic, construction.
Another major project for the TMB was to reprint a very early account of Topaz, The Price of Prejudice. That book was given to every school and public library in the state of Utah and in the Bay Area of California, where most of the Topaz internees came from. Part of this project was funded by a Civil Liberties Education Fund grant.
Since 1991 we have been raising money to build a Museum. But in 1993 right after we hosted a pilgrimage of 400 Japanese Americans it became quite evident that we had to buy as much of the site as possible since four houses had been hastily placed on blocks 28, 40, 41 and 42, destroying the history of those areas. We bought 415 acres of the total 640 acres, but still need to purchase two parcels of 39 and 100 acres. (Approximately 80 acres of the site have lost considerable integrity due to the houses.)
We have raised about $300,000 but after the above mentioned projects -- the restoration of the building, reprinting the history, purchasing land, and printing several newsletters -- we have about $130,000 left. Certainly it is painfully obvious that grassroots donations will not adequately fund the Museum, so we are looking for large donations from foundations or governmental agencies.
In 1999 we became a Save America's Treasures project (one of two in Utah) and were eligible for a matching $32,000 J. Paul Getty planning grant which will provide us with a site archaeological survey and information on how to utilize the land as a Living Museum. We hope to showcase the site, Topaz buildings scattered around the valley and the Museum that will be built in town. We believe this combination will produce a dynamic and full experience to educate tourists, teachers and students about internment.
We have relied heavily on help from the Utah Historical Society, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Utah Heritage Foundation. We will continue consulting with these agencies. Our connection with groups from other sites is limited so a coalition sounds like a good idea.
We also are working with the Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership based in Nevada to create a Heritage Corridor. Senator Reid (Nevada) introduced S3272 on Dec. 5, 2000 designating the Great Basin National Heritage Area, which extends from Austin, Nevada to Delta, Utah, along US Highway 6.
This past year we helped collect names of Topaz internees who had served in the Armed Services because internment is about more than incarceration. Those names were placed on a monument honoring all service men and women from the county.
Plans for the immediate future
Of course, we are still working toward building a Museum as well as obtaining 139 more acres of the site, so our fund raising efforts will shift from grassroots donations to grants and governmental help.
The site survey will be completed by spring of 2001, and at that time we should be armed with better information to generate grants. We plan to meet with Senators Hatch and Bennett, hoping they will help us with funding. We also will investigate the possibility of becoming a state park or a national landmark or monument.
We need to construct a website and are also planning activities such as teachers' workshops, pilgrimages and tours of the site to increase the awareness. We also need to research whether anyone was ever buried at the cemetery. We would also like to have access to a CD-ROM listing all the internees who were in Topaz with their block numbers and dates of entering and leaving camp. The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles could make this available to all of the camp organizations.
1. Because Topaz is probably more like it was in 1946 than any of the other camps, we believe a visitors' center at the site would be a good way to reduce vandalism and give visitors a better explanation of the site. Our efforts to raise money for the Museum make it difficult to construct a visitors' center, too. We request that all of the camps be designated national landmarks, monuments or state parks and have a visitors' center constructed at the site.
2. We would like to recommend that all the camps be connected by a Heritage Tourism Corridor. Although Heritage Corridors may not provide direct funding, that status could help increase our exposure and validate the intricate history of internment.
3. All of the camp organizations are having a difficult time finding money, especially since we are mostly volunteers. We would welcome the organization of a coalition that could provide information on sources of funding, federal and private.
4. The national archives that house internment records are difficult to access. It would be our recommendation that the national archives become more accessible.
5. The book Confinement and Ethnicity broadened the scope of our thinking to reflect on the entire 19,000 acres of Topaz. Not that we could purchase or restore that land, but we need help preserving what is still there, again by increasing the awareness of the area and by placing signs to interpret the history of the buildings left standing. The book also drew attention to the Antelope Springs area, about 40 miles away from Topaz, which was used as a recreation facility for internees after 1943. The State Historical Society is interested in including the history of the entire 19,000 acres Antelope Springs area as part of the internment experience. Our recommendation is, to the extent possible, increase the notion of the sites from the city boundaries proper to the original fenced areas.
CREATING A LIVING MEMORIAL AT TULE LAKE INTERNMENT CAMP
Prepared by the
The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is a terrible injustice that must never happen again. To ensure that America remembers and learns from this tragedy, we propose to build a permanent Living Memorial at Tule Lake. This Living Memorial will be used to educate and teach us how easily we can lose our precious constitutional liberties.
Tule Lake Internment Camp has important historical significance for America because it was one of the largest internment camps and because it incarcerated Japanese Americans who resisted internment. Tule Lake imprisoned 29,490 men, women, and children or 25% of the 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry who were unlawfully detained during World War II.
One of the most powerful and moving symbols of Tule Lake is the stockade, a prison within a prison for those who dared to speak out against the violation of their civil liberties. The stockade is rapidly deteriorating. Years of neglect and reckless vandalism threaten the survival of the stockade. We must act now to preserve the memory of this tragic period in American history.
Building a Living Memorial at Tule Lake
The Living Memorial will offer visitors the opportunity to see and feel what life must have been like at Tule Lake. A barbed wire fence similar to the fence that surrounded the entire camp will enclose the entire memorial area. The compound will include a reconstructed living barracks, mess hall, and the stockade. As visitors enter the compound, they will pass under a replica of a guard tower. The guard tower will contain a statue of a soldier with a rifle.
Visitors may enter the stockade and view the prison cells. Poetry written by the prisoners on the walls of the stockade may be read and viewed. Visitors may also go into the reconstructed barracks and mess hall to experience how internees lived. The barracks will be realistically and sparsely furnished with a pot-bellied stove, hanging naked light bulbs, and army cots. The mess hall will show visitors the stark communal setting that internees used to eat their meals. The barracks and mess hall will also serve as a display area for artifacts of camp life and photographs.
A Visitors Center will be located just outside the barbed wire fence surrounding the memorial. The Visitor Center building, which will be a replica of a Tule Lake Camp administrative building, will offer multi-media exhibits, literature, murals, and a lending library. The Visitor Center would also have public conveniences such as parking, rest facilities, and picnic areas. Visitors may also take a self- guided walking tour of the main camp site to visit the remains of actual camp buildings.
Over 130 men, women, and children died while they were imprisoned at Tule Lake. The bodies of individuals that were unclaimed were buried in mass gravesites. We will locate these unmarked gravesites and build a monument honoring the unknown dead at Tule Lake. Visitors may pay their respects to all the internees who died at the camp. Special recognition will be given to all the babies and children who died at Tule Lake.
The Living Memorial will attract a wide variety of visitors. Tule Lake Pilgrimage participants will use the memorial to hold on-site educational activities. Schools in the local area will use the memorial to teach American and local history to school children, and visitors traveling by car will be able to use the memorial as a rest stop and information area.
Visitors may also take a driving tour of the perimeter of the camp and Castle Rock. Castle Rock is a mountain with a panoramic view of the beautiful Tule Lake basin and Mount Shasta, as well as the Tule Lake interment site. Castle Rock also has a historic cross that was built in honor of General Canby who was the only General killed during the Indian Wars. Canby was a famous Civil War general who died during the battle at Captain Jack's stronghold. The history of the Modoc Indians and Captain Jack's famous battle is memorialized at the Lava Beds National Monument.
Ongoing Community Commitment to Tule Lake
Since the closing of the internment camp 54 years ago, Tule Lake has become hallowed and sacred ground for the Japanese American community. Religious leaders from the Japanese American Religious Federation have made annual sojourns to Tule Lake to honor and remember the spirits of individuals who lived and died at Tule Lake. The Japanese American Religious Federation includes congregations from Christian, Buddhist, Shinto and other faiths.
For the past 30 years, the Japanese American community has sponsored semi annual pilgrimages to Tule Lake. The pilgrimages serve to heal the spiritual and psychological wounds of former internees as well as their children, grand children, and great-grandchildren. Over 5,000 individuals and former internees have participated in these pilgrimages to Tule Lake. In 2000, the pilgrimage committee had to turn away interested participants because the facilities in Klamath could not accommodate more than 300 participants. The pilgrimages also serve to educate the community about the historic events that occurred at Tule Lake and to build a record of camp life through oral histories, books, videos, and the collection of artifacts.
Grass roots community groups have sought and obtained funding to preserve the history of Tule Lake. The following are only a few examples of these grass roots efforts:
1) Teach-In at Tule Lake in March 2001.
The Modoc and Klamath School District won a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund to conduct a Tule Lake Internment Camp Teach In. Tule Lake educators, former internees, and various Japanese American community groups are working together to plan and implement this intensive teach-in. The goal of the teach-in is to educate school teachers in the Modoc and Klamath school districts about the historical significance of Tule Lake, the impact on the Japanese Americans who were imprisoned there, and the impact on the local community.
2) Tule Lake Preservation Fund
During the 2000 Tule Lake Pilgrimage, participants donated $10,000 to begin a fund to preserve and to build a Living Memorial at Tule Lake.
3) A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Tule Lake
Children of former internees working with the Sacramento Japanese American Citizens League have also won a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund. The grant funds will be used to create a booklet for a self-guided walking tour of the Tule Lake camp.
4) Kinenhi (Tower of Memories, Photographs and Remembrances of Tule Lake).
The Tule Lake Committee has obtained grants and private donations to publish two editions of Kinenhi. The book is a collection of original camp photographs and oral histories and remembrances from former internees. The second edition was completed in 2000. Over 3,000 copies of these books have already been distributed and sold.
5) Architectural Plans to Build a Visitors Center at Tule Lake.
In 1996, the Tule Lake Committee worked with architects, who donated their time to create detailed plans to build a visitor center.
6) Photographs of Tule Lake on CD ROM
A professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Davis has obtained a grant to create a CD-ROM that includes original photographs and the history of Tule Lake.
7) Tule Lake Roadside Marker
A public-private partnership was created to erect a roadside marker at Tule Lake in 1979. The California State Department of Parks and Recreation and the Northern California and Western Nevada Districts of the Japanese American Citizens League joined to build the marker. The marker is a California registered historic landmark number 850-2.
8) Oral Histories of Internees.
For the past two decades, the Tule Lake Committee, the National Japanese American Historical Society, and the Seattle Densho Oral History Project have been filming oral histories. Hundreds of former internees have been interviewed on videotape about their experiences at the camps and how the camp experience has affected their lives and family. Some of the oral histories have been published and can be accessed through the Internet. Students and researchers have regularly use these oral histories.
9) Collection of Camp Artifacts.
The Modoc County Chamber of Commerce and the San Jose Japanese American Resource Center/Museum have been actively collecting Tule Lake artifacts. Many of these artifacts are on display at the Lava Beds National Monument and the museum in San Jose.
Creating a Public-Private Partnership
For the past several years, the Tule Lake Committee and interested citizens have been working together with public agencies to clarify ownership of the land at Tule Lake and to develop plans to build a Living Memorial. Participants in the Public-Private Partnership include (see list of names in the appendix):
The following recommendations stem from the public-private planning efforts over the past five years.
1. DESIGNATE TULE LAKE INTERNMENT SITE AS A NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK.
Tule Lake should be listed on the National Historic Landmark Register. Jim Fisher, CalTrans Historian, completed a study of Tule Lake as part of CalTrans' Public Resources Code 5024.5 responsibilities. His study concluded that five of the seven buildings appear to qualify as historically significant buildings. Fisher also noted that an archeological survey has not yet been conducted on the site. It would be preferable to designate the entire Tule Lake site as an historic landmark.
2. IDENTIFY AND EXCAVATE UNMARKED GRAVES AT TULE LAKE.
Jimi Yamaichi, a former internee and leader of the construction effort that built a large portion of the camp barracks and the stockade stated that there is a cemetery on the site that has not been excavated. The headstones from graves located in the camp were removed and stored in the camp mess hall. He also stated that there were other unmarked mass gravesites at Tule Lake. The California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund expressed interest in funding a project to determine if there are remains of internees buried in unmarked graves.
3. IMPLEMENT A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN A LIVING MEMORIAL AT TULE LAKE.
The specific recommendations listed below will enable our vision to become a reality.
4. IDENTIFY FUNDING SOURCES
The following funding sources have been identified to plan, build, and maintain the Living Memorial.
5. ESTABLISH A NATIONAL CONSORTIUM OF GROUPS WHO ARE WORKING ON THE PRESERVATION AND EDUCATION OF US WW II INTERNMENT SITES.
The preservation of all of America's internment camps is a high priority. Many public and private groups around the US are in various stages of planning and development to preserve and build Living Memorials. Community-based organizations have successfully obtained public and private funding to build Living Memorials at Manzanar, California and Heart Mountain, Wyoming. It is vital that the knowledge and experiences of these groups be shared with others interested in building Living Memorials at other internment sites. These independent efforts must be coordinated. Groups need to have a forum to actively share their knowledge and resources in order to avoid duplication of efforts and to insure that these Living Memorials reflect the needs of the Japanese American community.
A National Consortium representing these groups will provide the forum for our efforts to preserve our Nation's Internment Camps. Over the next three to five years, the Consortium could convene regular meetings and conference calls to coordinate knowledge, planning, and resources.
Tule Lake Historic Preservation Committee Participants
National Park Service
Craig W. Dorman, Superintendent
California State Office of Historic Preservation
California Department of Transportation (CalTrans)
Wayne Wiant, Chief
California Civil Liberties Public Education Program
Sacramento Japanese American Citizens League
Modoc and Klamath County School District. CA
Japanese American National Library
Tule Lake Historic Preservation Committee
Pat Shiono, Ph.D.
Home: 785 Elizabeth Street
Matthew Kamiya, Esq.
Jerome County Historical Society and Idaho Farm & Ranch Museum
December 28, 2000
The Honorable Bruce Babbitt
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the decision making and for your personal interest in the internment camps preservation. The Minidoka War Relocation Authority Center was in Jerome County and our organization has many connections to it since our purpose is to preserve and educate others on our county's history.
WHO WE ARE: The Jerome County Historical Society was founded in 1950. The Society has been instrumental in preserving the heritage of Jerome County. Since the Jerome area has been agricultural in nature, the Society has always had the goal of an Agricultural Museum.
In the past 10 years, the Jerome County Historical Society, in conjunction with the County Museum, have been working on creating a living farm and ranch called Idaho Farm & Ranch Museum whose purpose is to preserve, illustrate and interpret the agricultural history of southern Idaho, including the Carey Act and Reclamation irrigation projects. In 1998, we added an original Minidoka internment barrack building to our existing displays of antique farm equipment, windmill, well and buildings such as a prove-up shack, poorhouse, and church used by early settlers in our area. We have also installed amenities as windbreaks, roadways, a lawn at the church and hope to put in a small park.
We have been working on restoring the barrack building and have done some fundraising through the Japanese American Citizens League. In 1999, the Pocatello-Blackfoot JACL in Eastern Idaho contributed $500 toward the restoration and other Intermountain chapters have also contributed. We have also done outreach and fundraising through direct mailings and articles in the Pacific Citizen. One disadvantage is that only a few Minidoka internees remain in this area to advise or help.
The Idaho Farm & Ranch Museum (IFARM) is an agricultural museum being developed on more than 100 acres of land made available through efforts of the Society, the Bureau of Land Management and Jerome County. 27.5 acres of the land is currently under the control of the Society through a formal BLM Patent awarded in 1997 through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act of 1926.
We are forming a Historical District to have the property deeded to us. Since the Idaho Farm and Ranch Museum, including the internment barrack building, is accessible and located at a major crossroad of Highways 93 (north-south) and 84 (east-west), the possibilities of education about the Minidoka internment camp, experience and civil liberties are great.
WHAT WE HAVE: The Jerome Historical Society/Idaho Farm & Ranch Museum already have :
1) many of the preserved items from the camp as an original coal stove used in the internment camp, orginal Minidoka Interlude yearbook, camp high school yearbooks, orginal, bound copies of the Minidoka Irrigator newspapers written by the internees and artifacts
2) an original barrack building, partially restored. Our volunteers have cleaned interior rooms, repaired windows, added window panes, doors, removed sheet rock, built exterior steps, added exterior, crushed asphalt for roadways and accessibility, and added exterior tarpaper.
3) an existing organization with 501(c)3 status, newsletter, boards, officers, meetings and membership
4) land with displays in place
5) plans for an interpretive building
6) numerous volunteers and community support, as the Jerome County Commissioners, College of Southern Idaho, Jerome Rotary, Jerome Chamber of Commerce, Pocatello/Blackfoot Japanese American Citizens League and Intermountain District JACL
7) pictorial exhibits of the assembly centers and Minidoka internment camp
8) on-going donations and additional fundraising underway
OUR EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES:
1) annual open house as Live History Day at IFARM. June 1999 ∓ June, 2000 - 1500 attended with four barrack rooms open with pictorial exhibits, artifacts and volunteer hosts: Maya Hata Lemmon former Gila River, Arizona camp internee, and Hero Shiozaki, from the highly decorated 442nd military unit and Ron James, history teacher (refer Times News articles of 6/1999 and 6/2000).
2) June, 2000 - Forty-five on a bus tour from Los Angeles heard Ron James and Maya Hata Lemmon speak, viewed our internment exhibits at their hotel, toured the barrack building and internment site the following day. While Japanese-American, most had not been in any camp; none had been in Minidoka. The group was on a 10 day tour of four internment camps and national parks - Yosemite, Yellowstone, Tetons, Bryce. Tour organizer: Jack Kau, owner of Kokusai International Travel Agency. Speaker coordinator: Kelly Traughber, Cavanaugh Hotel, Twin Falls. Hosts at IFARM barrack building and Minidoka camp site: Francis Egbert, Hero Shiozaki, Walt Bentzinger, Maya Hata Lemmon and Ron James.
3) August, 2000 Thirty-five from an Elderhostel seminar at Ascension Monastery in Jerome spent two days learning about the internment, viewed our pictorial exhibits in their classroom, took a field trip to the barrack building at IFARM and the internment site. Attendees came from Washington D.C., Hawaii, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California; most were Caucasian. Monastery organizer: Father Hugh Feiss, Jerome. Instructor: Yas Tokita, Salf Lake City (in the Minidoka Internment camp as a boy). Resource speaker: Hero Shiozaki, former 442nd Regiment, Blackfoot, Idaho Field trip guide: Maya Hata Lemmon. Hosts at IFARM barrack building: Francis Egbert, Walt Bentzinger, Maya Hata Lemmon and Hero Shiozaki.
4) September, 1999 A busload of participants from the Western Conference of the Association of Asian Studies held in Boise visited our barrack building, exhibits and internment site. The group also held a panel discussion in nearby Hagerman on the contributions of Asians to Idaho and the West. Tour guide: Ron James, Twin Falls history teacher; hosts at IFARM barrack building: Ralph Peters, Scott Bybee, Francis Egbert, Walt Bentzinger, Virginia & Clair Ricketts, Maya Hata Lemmon.
5) Numerous articles (refer March, 2000 Boise Weekly article) for outreach and education on the internment. Radio shows, TV news, speaking to groups as the Jerome Rotary and Blue Lakes Rotary Club, Twin Falls. We anticipate further opportunities to educate the public about the historical internment experience.
6) We have had numerous students visit our small display at the existing Jerome County museum and barrack building (i.e. Magic Valley Alternative School). We have been using the barrack building as exhibition rooms for pictorial displays. However, a separate interpretive building is needed since the barrack rooms with its dust, insects and mice, are not conducive to keeping pictures and displays.
1) AN INTERPRETIVE CENTER for the Minidoka Internment Camp on our existing IFARM site, and not at the actual camp site, which is approximately 25 miles away. IFARM is currently fundraising to build a climate controlled interpretive center to store the newspapers, annuals and artifacts currently housed at the Jerome County Museum. We anticipate hiring at least one permanent employee to oversee the project and apply for grants. We are currently utilizing a part-time Green Thumb employee to help with maintenance.
2) PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF AT LEAST THE CURRENT ACREAGE (app. 93 acres) under the department's protective status now. We have not contacted current owners nor assessed the camp area. These are basic steps should expansion be considered.
OF CONCERN is a Bureau of Reclamation plan to tranfer title of 28.49 acres of the Minidoka internment camp site to the American Falls Reservoir District #2. We have not had an opportunity to review its impact and CANNOT support taking away from the existing preserved acreage since less than 10% of the original internment land is under Federal protection now. We request this administrative action be held pending further input.
3) ADDITIONS: If there is a way to preserve more of the land it should be done, especially since, in our rural area, nothing precludes it from becoming a large dairy or hog farm. If this should occur, the existing acreage would become useless for historical and educational purposes. We have to research other community plans, such as Heart Mountain Committee's Plan, to determine if their plan would be feasible in our area.
We believe the internment was part of the history of this area and our country's history and that there are lessons to be learned from the site, the internees' experiences and their contributions to our area. We feel it is vital others learn what occurred to prevent it from happening again. As time goes by, little will remain unless we preserve; few will even know there was a camp here unless we educate.
4) ARCHEOLOGICAL SURVEY, archeological maps and, if possible and requested, an archeological excavation of the camp area under college or University supervision. There may be little that remains on the internment site, but we believe an archeological survey has never been conducted and perhaps can be done in strategic areas under the auspices of the college or university, with permission from private owners.
5) ON-GOING MAINTENANCE of existing monuments and grounds, at the internment site, and budget line items for such by the Bureau of Reclamation. The current maintenance is inadequate. The mortar holding the basalt together at the internment site entrance is cracking and becoming loose; weeds were high and coming through the walkway during the summer. The large wooden sign at the entrance may have to be replaced in the future.
6) A VISITOR'S SELF-GUIDED TOUR LEAFLET for those visiting the internment site would be helpful. While there is not much public area remaining, an orientation leaflet that has a small map of the camp area, starting out with "You Are Here", then pointing out a former rock garden area, guard towers, irrigation pipe remnants from the camp, former cemetary area, sod house remnants and railroad spur area would be helpful to those seeking more information. The leaflet could also refer tourists to the Idaho Farm & Ranch Museum and Jerome County Museum exhibits. Former visitor's who drove miles to visit the internment camp often write they were unaware of the museum exhibits.
7) TRAINING OF VOLUNTEERS. Since the internment site area is under Reclamation protection and Interior Standards and Guidelines apply, it is recommended volunteers used for repairs and maintenance be trained in Standards and Guidelines (National Historic Preservation Act of 1966).
8) ADEQUATE FUNDING is a major problem; we anticipate more active partnering, more fundraising and grant applications. Discussion with, and support from, our congressional representatives and the state historical society is planned since their support is needed for any success at the state and federal level. Periodic updates such as the tele-conference with public/private organization officials is very helpful, especially to rural areas such as ours. Funding resource lists and internet addresses that pertain to internment sites would be helpful.
9) CONTINUITY: We have an active County Historical Society, County Museum and Idaho Farm & Ranch Museum, however, our membership is aging and any recommendations or plan would have to insure continuity. We look to your expertise and knowledge for guidance. Thank you for the opportunity to comment; we look forward to your recommendations.
/s/ Ralph Peters, Director, Idaho Farm & Ranch Museum
Rohwer, Arkansas and Jerome Arkansas Internment Camps
Rohwer & Jerome Camps are in rather isolated areas with no Japanese-Americans near by. Our work was being helped by George Sakaguachi of St. Louis whose parents were interned in the camps, while George was in the Air Force. George died in 1994. Seicho Sugino of Torrence California also offered help but his health has made it impossible for him to continue. Desha County Judge Mark McElroy works with me in our attempts to preserve and educate about the camps.
Many newspapers and colleges in Arkansas are very interested in the camps and have written articles. Students at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway; Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, University of Arkansas at Little Rock have written papers on the camps.
My son, Mitchell, of Portland Oregon, a technical writer, has applied for a grant to document the many autobiographies, paintings, carvings, books, letters, etc. that I have collected about the camps. In 1991 - 1992 George Sakaguachi and I raised $35,000.00 to begin a restoration program on the 2 monuments that were built by the internees in 1944 and 1945. That amount was only enough to complete half of the work needed.
We need to fund a place to store and make public the many items I have in my home. Many former internees return every year to view these items, but I cannot be here all the time to open my house to these people. Also there is the problem of having someone to keep such a place open. Also as to what will happen to these important items that can never be replaced, when I am no longer living. It needs to stay in Arkansas. We need education for these generations growing up now.
Notable persons, such as Henry Sugimoto, a world famous artist; Ruth Asawa, San Jose Sculpter, George Takei, Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, were interned in Rohwer & Jerome.
Rohwer Camp was given a landmark status in 1993. It is now under the direction of the Department of Interior, but there is no money for upkeep, repair, etc. We were told at the time that the National Park, Arkansas Post. in Dewitt, Arkansas would take over these tasks but they were not funded. Mowing and limb removal is being done by Desha County Road Department under the direction of Judge McElroy, but the camp is on Federal Land and the next County Judge may not continue this practice.
One of our biggest drawbacks is lack of money and no organization to front our needs and a few here in McGehee are adamant against the Japanese Americans. We no longer know what should be done. The 2 camps in Arkansas are very important in that they are so far east and so far away from the Japanese-American communities.
Rosalie Santine Gould
Honor Roll Project: Now raising $14,000 to erect replica Honor Roll dedication projected for Memorial in May 2001.
Walking Tour: Need $100,000, and sought federal funding in 2000. Have been advised that funding might be possible in 2001 due to the building of support for the project in 2000. Received NPS technical assistance in the development of the project.
Half Block Reconstruction: The complex will contain a Half Block (12 barracks with mess hall and rec center with two of the 12 being original barracks, barbed wire around the exterior and a guardtower.
Agriculture Plots: Demonstration plots of actual crops grown by the internees.
For the entire camp preservation, we support:
I imagine you already have this information and have the report well underway if not completed but in the event there is something here that might be of assistance, thought you might like to have it.
Please feel free to contact me again should you have any questions. Thanks for all your efforts.
cc: Kristine Kinami, JACL
HEART MOUNTAIN, WYOMING LEARNING CENTER
Funding Request: $2 million is requested in federal funding from the Economic Development Initiative Grant (EDI) under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation plans to purchase private land for the site and intends to additionally provide funding for the building project. If land is not available, the Foundation will seek to construct the Learning Center on the public land currently on the site and then intends to contribute $500,000 to the project.
Background: Heart Mountain. Wyoming was one of ten relocation centers created in World War II to house Japanese and Japanese-Americans who were forcibly relocated inland from the west coast. The current site contains the most existing structures of any site in the country. To memorialize this history, the Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that wishes to partner with the federal government in developing a Learning Center on the site of the internment camp. The Foundation is a well-established and creditable organization serving 2,800 on its mailing list, with notable Board and Advisory Board members including former Senator Alan Simpson and Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta. Simpson and Mineta first met as Boy Scouts when Simpson's Cody. Wyoming Scout Troop visited Mineta's troop while he was interned as a young man in the Heart Mountain camp they later served in Congress together.
Description of the Project: It is proposed to construct a technology-intensive LEARNING CENTER to educate tourists as well as regional citizens about the Internment Camp's history and effects on the Japanese-American population. The Learning Center will not be a traditional museum or interpretative center. It will primarily feature leading-edge technology providing interactive learning, links and virtual connections to other national sites and programs dealing with overarching learning concepts such as constitutional issues, civil liberties, diversity training and ethnic understanding. It will contain innovative environments and presentations that make stories real, spur the imagination, awaken the emotions, expand the mind and create understanding. It will be designed and created to serve a broad range of learners using smaller floor space but more complex and interactive learning environments. This modestly-sized facility will truly be a Learning Center of the 21st Century and will be designed to be upgraded as technology improves.
Why Important: Wyoming's economy is greatly struggling and highly under-performing compared to the national economy. Increased tourism is an extremely viable solution, especially given that the Heart Mountain site is only 50 miles from Yellowstone Park and next to the east gate community of Cody, Wyoming. Over 500,000 people come through the east gate each year, providing an existing, very sizable market of national and international tourists to visit the Learning Center. The further development of historical and cultural attractions to compliment tine world- class Buffalo Bill Historical Center already in Cody will extend length of stay and increase the number of potential visitors, thereby greatly improving the economy. It is also the desire of the Heart Mountain internees to leave a legacy of learning through this Center to future generations such that abridgements of freedoms and tack of ethnic understanding not occur again in this great country.
(brochure attached to comment letter on file)
December 19, 2000
The Honorable Bruce Babbitt
Dear Secretary Babbitt,
The Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation was very excited to learn of President Clinton's November 9, 2000 memo to the DOI asking for a set of recommendations on how to preserve the sites of the World War II Japanese American internment camps.
As you may have already learned from Josephine Motter of your office, our Foundation is very active and has an ambitious Plan of Work dedicated to this very purpose. We are very eager to provide input and feedback to your agency for this report to the President and would offer the following brief summary of the HMWF efforts and goals for your reference:
As you can see, the largest major project is the development of an Interpretative Learning Center complex. We were fortunate to have Congress and President Clinton appropriate $500,000 toward the Learning Center in this session of Congress in the Economic Development Initiative Program in the VA/HUD bill. We were almost able to obtain $100,000 for the Walking Tour and plan to have this reintroduced next year. We currently have a purchase contract with a private property owner for 50 acres of original camp site land on which to place the Learning Center. This land is contiguous to the 73 acre Federal site currently managed by the Bureau of Reclamation. This site contains the only remaining buildings of all 10 camps except for the auditorium at Manzanar they are a real national treasure and need to be preserved!
The following are our recommendations to consider:
HMWF received an IRS 501 (c)(3) ruling in April 1996 and now has over 550 members and 2,700 on our mailing list. We have the support of a wide constituency and have greatly appreciated the strong degree of support given by many in the accomplishment of our mutual goals and an ambitious Program of Work. We are enthused about the possibility of any new developments which could expand the effectiveness of our mutual goals and thank you very much for your support and the opportunity to provide comment at this time.
If you should desire to visit further or request additional information, or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.
David R. Reetz
cc: Josephine Motter, Deportment of Interior
January 5, 2001
The two people most immediately involved with the Poston renewal project is Dennis Patch who is the Education Director for the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) and Raoul Roko, Ph.D., a structural engineer originally from Benin (formally Dahomey in West Africa) now living and working from Tucson, Arizona.
Raoul tells me that he first heard about the Japanese American internment and Poston as a 15 year old high school student in Nigeria. Later when he moved to Arizona he visited Poston and saw the buildings that are still extent at what was the "Colorado River Relocation Center" better known simply as Poston. Over the succeeding years Raoul talked with various member of the CRIT tribal council and found an ally in Dennis Patch and his brothers. Working together they formulated a plan to restore a small portion of the center for educational purposes.
As a structural engineer most of the basic conceptual planning fell to Raoul. As I understand it one of the most basic fundamentals of the plan is to restore the Camp One high school gymnasium.
In addition the proposal calls for the relocating and restoration of fourteen original camp barrack buildings to provide visitors with an idea of what a standard camp block looked like. Each barracks would be landscaped based on historic photographs available to us and the interiors would reflect living conditions circa 1944. Raoul tells me that they have located these buildings on the reservation and in the surrounding area.
The plan likewise includes the reconstruction of a children's pool and a larger swimming pool that were built by the internees. The plan also envisions a visitors interpretation center. Raoul tells me that the tribes have committed to the use of 100 acres of land for the project. The project will be tied into an existing monument built by Poston internees and dedicated on October 6, 1992.
Raoul also tells me that they expect to receive a notification sometime this month of the award of a $500,000 grant from the Arizona Transportation Department in support of the project.
Yesterday (January 4) the CRIT Tribal Council voted to approve the concept and move ahead. Raoul is forwarding me a copy of the Council's resolution and I should have the text tomorrow. I'll forward what I receive to you as soon as it arrives. There is an off chance that Raoul will email some of the material to me. If that happens I'll forward it directly on to you.
When I talked to him today, Raoul indicated that he was sending me a disk with the most recent version of the power point presentation. Do you have a need of that? Is there anyone else I should pass any of this information to at this time.
Raoul can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org His phone number (520) 795 4207. He won't be back at that number until late Sunday. He is a very bright and personable gentleman and I believe the driving force of this project.
I became involved through my long time connection with the San Diego Japanese American community and I guess from the fact that I'm a historian by training. I've written extensively on the San Diego JA experience including a number of pieces on Poston, particularly Poston Camp Three where most of the San Diego people were sent. Our oldest son's MA was on the experience of the San Diego Nikkei at Poston. As you may have noticed my from the fax sent via my wife's office that her name is Toshiye. She is a Japanese American.
There is much excitement here in San Diego over the proposed project. It's funny how things seem to come together. Our Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego is hosting a reunion of Camp III internees in June. We anticipate 500 to 700 folks to be in attendance and we feel that they will want to support the CRIT efforts. The administration's interest come at the same time. I hope working together that we can bring this project to its full planned fruition.
Resolution adopted by the Colorado River Tribal Council on Thursday, January 4, 2001:
A resolution to initiate the recognition, restoration and Future Development of the Japanese Internment Camps
Be it resolved by the Tribal Council of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, in special meeting assembled on January 4, 2001
WHEREAS, the Tribes acknowledge & recognize the Historical significance of the Internment of Americans of Japanese descent during the second (sic) World War; and
WHEREAS, the Tribes desire to implement, restore & prepare for future development of the Japanese Internment Camps located within the Reservation boundries; and
WHEREAS, specific phases will be submitted accordingly. The staffs progress with this project and more specific development will be brought forth for the Tribal Council's approval:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Colorado River Indian Tribes hereby:
1. Approves the designated support staff to initiate and proceed with preliminary plans to initiate recognition, restoration & future development of the Japanese Internment Camps; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Tribal Council Chairman and Secretary, or their designated representatives, are hereby authorized to execute any and all documents necessary to impliment this action.
Email correspondence from Rachel Yank
Please feel free to include any or all of this information in the appendix to your report.
As I mentioned, our friend and Field Representative at the National Trust for Historic Preservation (Mountains/Plains Regional Office here in Denver), John Mitterholzer, passed on your contact information to me when he found out that you were contributing to a report regarding WWII internment camps.
As I mentioned, Colorado Preservation Inc. (CPI) recently became deeply involved with preserving Camp Amache (the Granada Relocation Center) when it was nominated to our annual "List of Colorado's Most Endangered Places." Following a rigorous statewide review process and approval of our Board of Directors, Camp Amache was chosen as one of Colorado's Most Endangered Places for the year 2001.
This designation means that CPI will act as the lead organization from a private, statewide perspective and provide the local preservation leaders with one year of intensive technical assistance and publicity throughout the Colorado preservation community.
We are very interested in working closely and sharing our information with the DOI, NPS, and the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office to help preserve and protect Camp Amache during the coming years. Please pass along our contact information and feel free to contact us anytime.
Founded in 1984, CPI is Colorado's only statewide, private non-profit, membership organization dedicated to saving Colorado's unique cultural and historical heritage. CPI provides technical assistance, maintains an active presence in the Colorado General Assembly, sponsors preservation meetings, offers awards for historic preservation work and is the advocate for preservation across the state of Colorado. CPI hosts the largest historic preservation conference west of the Mississippi and sponsors Colorado's Most Endangered Places Program. It also publishes Colorado Preservationist, a quarterly historic preservation publication.
You may contact us anytime at:
For White House "Road Map" re Internment Camps and WWII Home Front
Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site
In November 1999, the Coronado National Forest dedicated the old prison camp in the Santa Catalina Mountains as the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site, after the site's most famous prisoner. Hirabayashi was one of three Japanese Americans to challenge in court the constitutionality of the Japanese Americans relocation during World War II. Although in 1943 Hirabayashi lost his case and spent part of his prison sentence at the Catalina Honor Camp, in 1987 his case was reopened and his conviction overturned. It was largely Hirabayashi's vindication in court that led to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Other "resisters of conscience" followed Hirabayashi's lead by refusing to be drafted into the military until their constitutional rights were restored. Some 35 to 45 of these young men, convicted of draft evasion, also were incarcerated at the Catalina Honor Camp.
Fewer than 50 Japanese Americans were imprisoned at the Catalina Honor Camp, compared with over 117,000 Japanese Americans interned nationwide. Nevertheless, the site is an important place to provide the public with information about the internment. First, it is one of the few sites directly associated with resistance to the internment where the public is invited most of the prisons where Dr. Hirabayashi or the resisters were incarcerated are still being used as prisons. Second, interpretation here can easily reach audiences who know little about the internment: the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site is located along the Catalina Highway (with very high visitation), is a trailhead for the Arizona Trail, and is currently being developed as a day-use and campground area under the Catalina Highway fee-demo program. Finally, respect and appreciation for Gordon Hirabayashi is so strong within the Japanese American community that the 1999 dedication ceremony elicited tremendous support from groups who have been somewhat antagonistic toward each other in the past. Former resisters and internees, World War II veterans, and the Japanese American Citizen League, along with numerous others interested in civil rights, joined together to honor Hirabayashi.
The Forest Service is now building an interpretive trail and kiosk to tell visitors the history of the site and its relationship to the internment and resistance. With the help of several partners, including the University of Arizona, the Federal Highways Administration, and the Southwest Oral History Association, the Forest proposes to continue the preservation and interpretation of the stories associated with the site. Future projects include: complete oral history studies with Dr. Hirabayashi and the few resister-inmates still living; nominate the site to the National Register of Historic Places and evaluate its potential for National Landmark status; and get the results of these reports and studies to the public.
History: How Japanese American citizens ended up at the Catalina Honor Camp prison:
The Catalina Honor Camp was established in the 1930s as a low-security federal prison work camp. Cheap prison labor would build a road from Tucson up the Santa Catalina Mountains; early Tucson promoters believed that easy access to the cool reaches of the mountains would enhance the lives of the current desert dwellers and entice more inhabitants to the city. The first prisoners included people convicted of tax evasion, illegal immigration, and other non-violent crimes.
Gordon Hirabayashi had been a college senior at the University of Washington in Seattle at the beginning of World War II, when Japanese Americans were ordered to leave the West Cost in the largest forced removal and incarceration in U.S. history. Instead of reporting for internment, Hirabayashi went to the FBI to challenge the constitutionality of the orders, since they were based solely on race or ancestry. Hirabayashi was convicted, and he spent several months in a county jail as his case went through appeals. The Supreme Court upheld his convictions in June 1943, and he spent four more months at the Catalina Honor Camp.
Another sort of protest against the Japanese American internment arose in the internment camps themselves. Early in the war, the government had declared U.S. citizens of Japanese American descent unfit for military service by virtue of race or ancestry. But when the draft was re-instated for Japanese Americans in 1944, some 300 Japanese American men at camps across the country protested the internment by refusing to be inducted into the army until their constitutional rights were restored. They did not object to the draft itself, but hoped that by defying the draft orders they would clarify their citizenship status. Why were they expected to fulfill the duties of citizenship if they were denied its freedoms? If they could be trusted to fight for the United States, why were their parents and brothers and sisters incarcerated without trial?
At least two federal judges agreed with the resisters' position, and charges against over 100 of the resisters were dismissed. However, other resisters were sentenced to up to 3 years in federal prison. Over 30 of those convicted were sent to the Honor Camp, many in leg irons, under armed guards. Ironically, security at the Honor Camp for the "Tucsonans," as they called themselves, was far less stringent than it was for their families in the Relocation Centers: the prison camp boundary was marked with white paint, rather than with fences and guard towers.
The resisters were pardoned by President Truman after the war. Hirabayashi's case was reopened in 1987, and an appeals court found that there was "objective and irrefutable evidence" that the World War II exclusion and internment orders were rooted in racial bias. Hirabayashi was cleared of all criminal charges. One year later, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that formally apologized to the survivors of the internment.
The Honor Camp buildings were razed in the mid-1970s. Little remains at the site except concrete building foundations, along with bridges, retaining walls, and other examples of the prisoners' stonework. The site is being developed as a campground with funds provided by Santa Catalina Mountain fee demo receipts, and the Southwestern Regional Office of the Forest Service provided funding to build an interpretive trail and kiosk at the site.
Community Acceptance of the Re-Dedication of the Prison Camp as the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site:
The re-naming started as a very small thing: the Forest Supervisor and District Ranger had the administrative authority to name the new campground at the old prison camp for Gordon Hirabayashi without much public involvement. In fact, the Forest had originally planned a small dedication ceremony, with just Gordon Hirabayashi, a few of the "Tucsonan" resisters, and Forest officials. But there was a huge outpouring of community support. The Tucson newspaper Arizona Daily Star published editorials supporting the idea; the Pacific Citizen featured the story; individuals began sending in thank-you letters and contributions ranging from $10 to $2000; family members of resisters sent the Forest Service photographs and information to use in the interpretive signs. The University of Arizona sponsored a reception the evening before the dedication; local businesses donated food and flowers for the ceremony; and a California family contributed two large buses to shuttle people to the ceremony site from Tucson. The dedication ceremony, attended by 300 people and covered by two local television stations, featured talks by U.S. Congressional Representative Jim Kolbe, Manzanar Advisory Commission Chair Rose Ochi, and Forest Supervisor John McGee. Congressman Kolbe also read a letter of support from Congressman Ed Pastor, and sons of two of the resisters provided personal perspectives. The participation and support of the Arizona Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and the Ira B. Hays American Legion Post 84 is particularly important, signaling new acceptance and appreciation for the resisters' stance for Constitutional rights.
Individuals, groups, and government representatives helped with the dedication and interpretive signs:
Congressman Jim Kolbe
KOOSKIA INTERNMENT CAMP PROJECT
Renee Orr, Special Assistant to the Secretary
Dear Ms. Orr:
Thank you for offering me this opportunity to provide you with information about north-central Idaho's Kooskia (KOOS-key) Internment Camp for inclusion in an Appendix to the report you are preparing for the Secretary of the Interior on the present status of the 10 War Relocation Authority World War II Japanese internment camps. Because the Kooskia Internment Camp is unique among internment camp sites in that it is squarely on the Idaho portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail, now U.S. Highway 12 between Lewiston, Idaho and Lolo, Montana, it is crucial that the Kooskia Internment Camp site be considered for economic development funding in advance of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, scheduled to bring several million visitors to this part of Idaho between 2003 and 2006.
Kindly allow me to share with you my credentials for commenting on the Kooskia Internment Camp. I began researching it in 1997 under a grant from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund. That resulted in a 100-page report, entitled, "'A Real He-Man's Job:' Japanese Internees and the Kooskia Internment Camp, Idaho, 1943-1945." In 1999 I received an Idaho Humanities Council Research Fellowship (IHCRF) to continue researching the camp. For that project, now completed, I prepared several slide lectures, from 20 to 45 minutes long, and have presented them at a variety of venues, from junior high and high school history classes; to members of the general public; and at scholarly conferences on historical, archaeological, and Asian American topics. Several brief articles on the camp have appeared, two edited books with a chapter apiece on Kooskia have been submitted to publishers, and I have a book in progress on the camp.
In January 2000 the IHCRF assisted me in visiting the National Archives in Washington, DC, where I obtained copies of thousands of documents relating to camp operations and the men housed there, Last month, at personal expense, I visited the Archives again, obtained additional materials, and identified other collections with information to be obtained on a future visit when funding permits. Other perspectives, of major importance, have come from the two still-living internees, one a former Japanese Peruvian; from two living former employees; and from the families of deceased internees and employees.
1. Background information on the Kooskia Internment Camp: Although mentioned in Confinement and Ethnicity (pp. 387-389) as the "Kooskia Work Camp," its actual name, in government records, was the Kooskia Internment Camp. This Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) detention facility was unrelated to the War Relocation Authority's Minidoka Concentration Camp for West Coast families in southern Idaho, near Hunt. During the two years that the Kooskia Internment Camp was open, from May 1943 to May 1945, it held some 256 all-male, Japanese "enemy aliens," mostly permanent residents from all over the United States, Alaska, and Hawaii, who had been "picked up" right after Pearl Harbor and first sent to Justice Department camps elsewhere. Other Kooskia Internment Camp inmates included more than 30 Japanese Latin Americans - most kidnapped from Peru, Mexico, and Panama with the objective of exchanging them (against their will) for Americans stranded in Japan when war erupted. In addition, the camp had two German internee doctors, and the Kooskia camp's infirmary housed occasional injured German and perhaps Italian alien internees from nearby Forest Service work camps. While some of the Japanese internees held camp jobs, most of these all-male, paid volunteers were construction workers for the present Highway 12, adjacent to the Lochsa River.
2. Historical recognition/monument status/landmark status: None at present. A National Register of Historic Places nomination form should be prepared for the site and submitted, first to the Idaho Historic Sites Review Board and then to the Keeper of the National Register. First used by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the site's main previous use was as the Canyon Creek Prison Camp, a work camp for federal prisoners from the late 1930s until May 1943.
3. Shape site is in/restoration and protection activities: Although the Kooskia Internment Camp site is presently owned by the U.S. Forest Service (jurisdiction, Lochsa Ranger District of the Clearwater National Forest), no buildings remain, although there is a concrete slab on which the water tower once stood, Because the site is completely undeveloped and uninterpreted, its major current threat is from the Idaho Department of Highways, which is eyeing that location as one of the few flat places in the Highway 12 corridor, out of sight of the wild and scenic Lochsa River, where they could stockpile a five-year supply of gravel for road repairs. Former threats, from mining, appear to have been stopped by the Forest, whose personnel have recorded the Kooskia Internment Camp site as an archaeological site, 10-IH-870.
The site, which is thickly forested with native species, together with a few introduced fruit trees (apple, cherry, and plum), is immediately accessible via a dirt road off Highway 12. The dirt road, buttressed by a stone wall on its west side, next to the creek, parallels Canyon Creek for a few hundred yards, then ends in a wide spot used by campers. A bridge, now gone, once crossed Canyon Creek, connecting the main camp area with the internees' canteen and ball field.
One-half mile east, on both sides of Highway 12, is the site of Apgar, where the employees' homes were located. While no buildings remain, their sites are still visible, as are some of the introduced garden plantings. Paul Kashino, the Japanese American (Kibei) interpreter, censor, and translator, was one employee who lived there, with his wife Hattie.
4. Story needing to be told: Because millions of visitors are expected to travel Highway 12 during the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial between 2003 and 2006, additional, non-Lewis-and-Clark, sites must be developed to manage the flow of visitors more smoothly.
January 8, 2001
Dear Ms. Efurd,
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you and others on the conference call on Tuesday, December 19, 2000.
It is the mission of the National Japanese American Historical Society, Inc to be dedicated to the collection, preservation, and authentic interpretation the history of the Japanese American experience. It is therefore most appropriate to have us represented in this discussion and the future discussions of President Clinton's and the White House's efforts to continue the educational and preservation successes thus far. We applaud your efforts and are encouraged that staff will be available during this transition.
Since the December 19 conference call, we at the Historical Society reviewed the points of the meeting and held a series of discussion sessions among our planners. architects, board members and volunteers in a effort to assist m developing a set of recommendations. I am forwarding a copy of these recommendations to Ms. Rene Orr as well.
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE NATIONAL JAPANESE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY ON THE PRESERVATION OF WORLD WAR II INTERNMENT SITES
1. Establish a consortium of Japanese American organizations and committees involved in Japanese American History on the preservation of World War II internment sites to via the web to facilitate greater communication, planning, and funding efforts.
2. Establish and maintain linkages and dialogue with governmental and private institutions addressing related issuessuch as the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, National Parks Conservation Association. Bureau of Land Management, National Endowment for the Humanities. Encourage greater coordination and cooperation on issues like the preservation of cultural resources and the interpretation of diverse communities.
3. Create local linkages with tribal councils, chambers of commerce, community economic development organizations, private landowners to foster greater understanding and appreciation of local needs.
4. Make linkages to the historical and cultural interpretation of Presidio of San Francisco (where military orders implementing the removal and subsequent internment to Executive Order 9066 were issued)
5. Link with other National Park Service sites, namely the Freedom Trails with the Internment Camps.
6. Coordinate public information and cultural interpretation efforts and seek complementary funding from State Historic Preservation, State-funded Civil Liberties funds, State Humanities.
7. Work toward inclusion and update of historical significance of internment camp sites on the National Register of Historic Sites.
8. Research and provide insights on public-private-community partnership examples and experiments in developing cultural and historic sites toward financial self-sufficiency eg. Presidio of San Francisco.
9. Develop Interpretative Plan and financial feasibility plan for each internment site which includes such components:
A. Wayside signs of internment camps site map, listing peak populations, casualties, volunteers for U.S. Army, deaths, births.
B. Barrack historic furnishings
C. Interactive Video Display that includes oral history excerpts of former internees, residents. WRA employees
D. Computer kiosk to include master internee list, with reference to block and barrack physical location, available photographs of interior barrack, latrines, coal piles, etc. for each site.
E. Display of art work and crafts, writings, gifts using natural elements from the surrounding area created in camps. Contributions and inventions by camp internees to local farms, war effort, community.
F. Display collection of diaries, letters, high school newsletters, annuals, sports memorabilia.
G. See internment memorial sketch.
(sketch accompanying letter on file)