August 7, 2010

2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage Pictures

Posted in 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:55 pm by rkozu

Here’s links to various sites where pictures from the 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage have been posted!

Feel free to browse and use for your own personal usage but if you wish to use pictures for commercial purposes please contact us at: for more information.

Ryan Kozu:

Eugene Tagawa:

Byron Kato:

Reflection Poem by Rachel Seeman

Posted in 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Minidoka Swing Band tagged , , , at 8:41 pm by rkozu

Rachel Seeman, a member of the Minidoka Swing Band and a participant on the 2008 Minidoka Pilgrimage wrote the following poem based upon her experiences at that pilgrimage.  This poem was read at the 2010 Pilgrimage by Lynn Grannan.  We’re grateful that she’s been willing to share it with other Minidoka Pilgrimage.


But how can I tell their story
If I was not there?
How can I feel their pain and the injustice that they faced
If I was not there?
I do not know how it feels to be told that you must leave your home, friends, pets and community in five days
I don’t know how it feels to sell my business for $200
and to leave my crops and dog to strangers
I don’t know how it feels to have my family broken apart and to live without privacy in a desert
But I do know how it feels to be a proud Japanese American
To know that the Minidoka desert was turned to lush green fields by my ancestors
And to know that because of the hardships they faced
I now have more rights and opportunities
I know how it feels to be an American
I know how it feels to be Japanese American.

–Rachel Seeman

August 2, 2010

Scholarship Recipient: Janice Young reflection on 2010 pilgrimage

Posted in 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 8:29 am by chiyokomartinez

I heard about the Minidoka Pilgrimage last year from a fellow coworker at South Seattle Community College, but was unable to attend. This year I was able to go because, I just recently graduated from school. Since I am a poor college student paying off my loans, I decided to apply for the scholarship that the Minidoka Pilgrimage Committee had to offer. To my surprise, I was awarded the scholarship. This helped me a great deal and took away the financial burden.

During the bus ride, we played ice breaker games to get to know each other. As we got to know each other, folks that were once imprisoned at Minidoka shared their stories while forced to live in the camps. It is fascinating to hear the stories that were being told because each story was different.

Something that was added to the Minidoka Pilgrimage was the Civil Liberties Symposium at Crest Canyon. At the symposium, there were many interesting speakers and performances. Such as, Larry Matsuda, and Grateful Crane Ensemble, the Camp Dance: The Music and the Memories. One person I wanted to mention who I thought was really interesting was Roger Shimomura-when I first saw Mr. Shimomura on stage I thought to myself, “He looked familiar” but, didn’t know where to place him. I got to talking to people- come to find out Roger Shimomura was featured in an art exhibit called “Yellow Terror” that was displayed that the Wing Luke Art Museum. I visited the exhibit and I learned many things through collection and paintings- it was truly an eye opener. I was thrilled to be able to meet Mr. Shimomura in person.

The day to visit Camp Minidoka came- for me I felt mixed emotions. I’ve studied about the temporary concentration camps through textbooks. But to actually go the site where the camp was formally held it was quite over-whelming. During the bus ride to the camp everyone looked anxious as me- people were talking amongst themselves. Our tour guide, Emily Momohara asked those that were imprisoned at Minidoka raise their hands- about ten people did. Emily suggested that we walk with the individuals who raised their hands because they are the ones with the stories. I ended up walking with the Kashino family- Louise told her daughter Debbie that, “it was difficult for her to imagine what was what now; it was all desert before- now it was farming land.” In all honesty, it was hard for me to imagine too. But, being there and listening to all the stories that were being told was really a lot to take in. I took many pictures to educate my family and friends about the Japanese concentration camps. The stories must be kept alive. This is a part history we must not forgive has happened.

I would like to take this time and thank the Minidoka Pilgrimage Committee for selecting me as a scholarship recipient. I learned and seen so many things that weekend- too much to explain every detail on paper or for a blog- it will always be in my heart.


Janice Young is a 2010 Scholarship Recipient to the Minidoka Pilgrimage. She graduated with an Associate of Arts from South Seattle Community College and a Bachelors of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Central Washington University.

July 12, 2010

Scholarship Recipient: Bree Keaveney Reflection on 2010 Pilgrimage

Posted in 2010 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:00 pm by chiyokomartinez

What was most  meaningful for me was spending time with Japanese Americans.  Spending time with people interested in Japanese American history.  Spending time with wonderful people.  The symposium was definitely the most important event of the pilgrimage for me.  I came to terms with many thoughts and feelings I have had about identity and family and community.

I learned Issei’s and Nisei’s were not allowed to live on campus a t the University of Washington.  Most people couldn’t afford, and still can’t, Seattle University.  I learned a greater depth about how much privilege I have.  I learned about the dust storms.  I learned people committed suicide after the incarceration. I learned about the shame and pain of the Japanese American community.  I see how Japanese Incarceration has shaped my family.
Being mixed race and deprived of Japanese culture, I never felt like I was a part of the community.  But after this weekend I feel like I am.  My story is not that uncommon in the community–not being raised with Japanese culture, being mixed race.  What I have taken away from this pilgrimage is a sense of belonging to a greater Japanese community outside of my family.  It is wonderful.
Action: What I plan to do with what I learned from the Pilgirmage

I took a class called The African American Religious Experience.  My professor, Dr. Flora Wilson Bridges is a pastor, ordained in three different denominations in the Black Church.  She was very active during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.  Dr. Bridges is a key person in charge of the ecumenical practices at SU.  She essentially builds bridges between different faith traditions by fostering dialogue.  She is also an excellent teacher–I really enjoyed her class.  One of the main themes or lessons I learned from Dr. Bridges is how I can apply the three components of African American Spirituality to my life.
The three components are
1. Cultural/Historical Memory
2. Forgiveness
3. Ability to form community
I think these three components are what I can do for really anything in life.  For the Japanese American community I will learn the cultural and historical history.  I will forgive myself and my family and the United States government.  I will form community with people of Japanese ancestry, and also people who are interested in Japanese culture and history.
Another professor I greatly admire is Dr. Cornel West.  Like Dr. Bridges, Dr. West is an activist and peace maker.  He has written several books, one of the most famous is called Race Matters (1993).  I heard him speak last December in Seattle.  Dr. West was discussing his autobiography entitled: Brother West:  Living and Loving Outloud.  He kept emphasizing the importance of family and faith in his life.  Dr. West also said that anger is a good thing and that everyone should channel their anger through love and education. So I try to live his advice and Dr. Bridges’ too.
I have become angry because of cultural/historical memory, but I try my best to forgive.  Forming community helps me to channel any anger I have through love and education, which ultimately helps me to live and love out loud.

Bree Keaveney is a 2010 Scholarship Recipient to the Minidoka Pilgrimage. She will entering her third year at Seattle University, studying Global African Studies and Sociology.