January 28, 2014

Minidoka Pilgrimage 2014 Taiko Fundraiser

Posted in Day of Remembrance, Friends of Minidoka, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka, Minidoka Pilgrimage, News, Taiko Festival tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:07 am by minidokapilgrimage

Buy your tickets here at Brown Paper Tickets: 

DOR TAIKO 2014_F10Appr


Minidoka Pilgrimage 2014 Taiko Fundraiser

Seattle, WA – December 18, 2013 – In recognition of Japanese American Day of Remembrance and the 72nd anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee and Seattle University are proud to present the Day of Remembrance 2014 Taiko Fundraiser on Sunday, February 23, 2014.  The event will open at Noon and the concert featuring taiko groups from throughout the Seattle area will begin at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, February 23rd in the Pigott Building on the campus of Seattle University, 901 12th Avenue in Seattle, WA.  Tickets are $20 general, $10 for students with ID and can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets, http://dayofremembrancetaiko.bpt.me.  Parking is provided at the Broadway Garage of Seattle University.  If attendees purchase tickets through Will Call, no actual tickets will be given, so please make sure to bring identification.  For those unable to purchase tickets on-line, they will be available at the International Student Center of Seattle University in the James C. Pigott Pavilion for Leadership.

A free exhibit in the Paccar Atrium directly outside the auditorium will open at Noon and will feature displays from the Law Library of Seattle University, National Park Service and the Minidoka National Historic Site, and the Seattle Nisei Veterans and Nisei Veterans Foundation.  Also featured will be original photographs in a collection called “My Minidoka” by Johnny Valdez y Uno.  Raffle ticket sales and a general store will also be in the atrium to help support the work of the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee.

The concert benefits the annual Minidoka Pilgrimage to Twin Falls, Idaho.  This will be the 12th year of the Pilgrimage.  As one of the ten original War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps, the Minidoka National Historic Site is currently a part of the National Park Service and continues to be developed as an educational site.  Currently there is an original Mess Hall and Barrack at the site of Block 22, as well as an original Fire Station, Warehouse and Root Cellar.  Recent improvements include the Honor Roll, dedicated in 2011, which lists the names of approximately 1,000 individuals that enlisted from Minidoka and served in the army and 2014 will include the dedication of a restored guard tower at the entrance area.

The Day of Remembrance recognizes the date, February 19, 1942, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which forced 120,000 Japanese American citizens and legal residents into concentration camps during World War II solely based upon their Japanese descent.

Sponsors of this event include: The International Student Center, the Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, Seattle University and the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee.

Dale H. Watanabe
Minidoka Pilgrimage Committee/Seattle University

July 14, 2013

Minidoka Pilgrimage 2013 Generations on Common Ground

Posted in 2013 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka, Minidoka Pilgrimage, News tagged , , , , at 2:47 pm by minidokapilgrimage


Minidoka Pilgrimage 2013 Generations on Common Ground


Minidoka Pilgrimage 2013 Generations on Common Ground

From June 20th to June 23rd, about 200 former Japanese American incarcerees, their family members and friends gathered for the 11th Annual Minidoka Pilgrimage just outside Twin Falls, Idaho. More than 71 years have past since 13,000 Japanese Americans residing in the Pacific Northwest were removed from their homes and sent to a stark Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho. Pilgrimage participants — many of whom had spent years at the camp as young children — dedicated much of their time touring and reflecting on incarceration grounds, now the Minidoka National Historic Site.

They connected their experiences to advocacy at a civil liberties symposium on the campus of the College of Southern Idaho, helping to ensure all the stories and history of the Minidoka experience are passed on and that no group of people is ever targeted and incarcerated without due process again.

One of its young attendees Johnny Valdez is a vessel of that history, and inheritor of those stories. A Seattle-based photographer, and the son of a Sansei mother and Latino-American father, Valdez is the grandson of two Nisei who were incarcerated at Minidoka with their families.

“In camp, my grandmother’s name was Porky Noritake,” he says. “She went to Hunt High School and was in a band called the Minidoka Matinee. She sang songs on the radio like ‘Shina No Yoru’ and ‘Don’t Fence Me In.’ ”

Valdez incorporates his Japanese heritage and grandparents’ identities into his artist name, “Johnny Valdez y Uno.”

“My Grandfather’s name was Johnny Uno,” he says. “He was four years older than Porky and graduated from Hunt High School in 1943. He went into the Army, and after training at Camp Shelby was assigned to the 442nd. He served in Italy, Switzerland and Germany. After the war, he went to school on the GI Bill, and later became a podiatrist.”

Valdez’s photo essay honors his grandparents and all Nisei survivors.
“I photograph what I love and what draws me in,” he says. “My grandparents are no longer living, so it is with immense compassion and sensitivity that I go about photographing our surviving Nisei, because, essentially what it is that I am seeing as well as what I am taking a picture of, are my own grandparents. And that is what I love.”

Valdez captures the experience of his first Minidoka pilgrimage in 2012 in the exhibit, “My Minidoka,” which is on display at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington on 1414 South Weller Street in Seattle through Wednesday, July 17th. For more information about the exhibit, please contact admin@jcccw.org.