July 11, 2013

2013 Minidoka Pilgrimage Photos

Posted in 2013 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Minidoka, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Photos tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:30 pm by minidokapilgrimage

Here’s links to various sites where pictures from the 2013 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: minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com for more information.

Ryan Kozu:

https://plus.google.com/photos/103180039956765998297/albums/5898866315866240945?authkey=CJqixLjC0OfM3QE

Eugene Tagawa: 

Thursday: https://picasaweb.google.com/100930662448489700454/MinidokaPilgrimage2013Day1?authkey=Gv1sRgCJSqso-bqLPDQA 
Friday: https://picasaweb.google.com/100930662448489700454/MinidokaPilgrimage2013Day2?authkey=Gv1sRgCOPGxbay9oX4WQ
Saturday: Site tours, Legacy sessions: https://picasaweb.google.com/100930662448489700454/MinidokaPilgrimage2013Day4?authkey=Gv1sRgCOa0g4HwoKGIgAE
Saturday evening: https://picasaweb.google.com/100930662448489700454/MinidokaPilgrimage2013Day3b?authkey=Gv1sRgCKXM4t3E08S1qAE
Sunday:
https://picasaweb.google.com/100930662448489700454/MinidokaPilgrimage2013Day4?authkey=Gv1sRgCOa0g4HwoKGIgAE

July 3, 2013

Former Internees Trek to Minidoka Relocation Center

Posted in 2013 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Minidoka, Minidoka Pilgrimage, News tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 1:46 pm by minidokapilgrimage

http://magicvalley.com/news/local/former-internees-trek-to-minidoka-relocation-center/article_40d396e4-c1a4-55a4-8fda-4a11c0739bf6.html

Former Internees Trek to Minidoka Relocation Center

June 24, 2013 2:00 am  •  By Julie Wootton – jwootton@magicvalley.com

EDEN • Louise Kashino remembers windy days as a teenager at the Minidoka Relocation Center when the dust would fly up and sting her eyes.

At the camp surrounded by barbed wire, it would make it hard to see anything.

Saturday, the weather conditions were much the same as in the 1940s, as the wind whipped the tall grass at what’s now the Minidoka National Historic Site.

But Kashino – who is in her 80s and lives in Seattle – said when she comes back to visit what was once the internment camp, it isn’t the sagebrush and sand-covered landscape she remembers.

“It’s totally different,” she said, sitting in a tour bus during the annual Minidoka Pilgrimage.

Kashino described the experience as “nostalgic.”

She arrived at the Minidoka Relocation Center – about 15 miles north of Twin Falls – when she was 16 .

About 200 people went on the Minidoka Pilgrimage this weekend, participating in walking tours and ceremonies.

Kashino and about 10 other people on the pilgrimage – many of whom were internees – recalled their experiences as they talked to each other on a tour bus.

Most were children or teenagers when they were at the Hunt Camp. Many come back year after year for the pilgrimage.

Tosh Okamoto, who lives in Seattle, said most of the people who were sitting around him live in the Portland and Seattle areas now.

“Most of us are in our 80s,” he said.

Looking back on his time as an internee, Okamoto recalled what it was like to be forced to relocate.

“I think for most of us, it was an injustice against us,” he said.

But Okamoto said he’s proud of the Japanese-American culture.

“We could have been really angry,” he said, but noted most of his peers aren’t.

The anger over what happened hasn’t been so much that it prevented them from moving forward, he said.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in February 1942.

It forced the relocation of more than 120,000 West Coast Japanese-Americans into temporary incarceration facilities.

The Minidoka Relocation Center was one 10 centers.

When internees arrived at the Minidoka Relocation Center in 1942, the camp wasn’t even complete yet. But Hunt, Idaho, ended up becoming the seventh largest population center in the state.

In the 1940s, the camp comprised about 600 structures spanning 33,000 acres. After it closed, many of the buildings were moved. Only a few remain.

Saturday, participants in the Minidoka Pilgrimage wore paper tags on strings with their names, similar to the IDs internees wore at the camp.

Groups took walking tours along a 1.6-mile trail, making stops at buildings such as a root cellar, old warehouse and two barracks with peeling white paint.

But the most of the camp has long been dismantled.

As one of the tour groups stopped in half of an old warehouse, dozens of visitors took pictures and looked up at the old wooden ceiling beams.

In a town that had nearly 10,000 people, the tour guide said, warehouses were essential for storage.

People of several generations – from children to those in their 80s or 90s – looked around the historic site, which was created in 2001.

Many brought cameras and took pictures.

During the pilgrimage, tour groups looked at the honor roll, which lists the names of Japanese Americans from the relocation center who served in the military during World War II.

Okamoto, a World War II veteran, recalls a memorial service for his fellow internees who volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army and were killed in action.

“It was a sad time,” he said.

May 28, 2013

Registration Fees increase on June 1st

Posted in 2013 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 4:08 pm by minidokapilgrimage

Registration now before the registration fees increase on June 1! You can register online: http://minidokapilgrimage.brownpapertickets.com/

March 29, 2013

2013 Minidoka Pilgrimage Press Release

Posted in 2013 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Friends of Minidoka, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka, Minidoka Pilgrimage, News tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 8:53 am by minidokapilgrimage

Press Release – For Immediate Release

2013 Minidoka Pilgrimage June 20 – June 23

Scholarship for 80 Years Old and Over Imprisoned in Any of the American WWII Concentration Camps

Seattle, WA – March 11, 2013 –Seventy-one years ago, close to 13,000 people of Japanese-ancestry, many of whom were American citizens, were removed from their homes in the Pacific Northwest and sent to a desolate “incarceration camp” near Twin Falls, Idaho.  This summer, the 11th pilgrimage will take place with former incarcerees, their families, and friends – from Seattle, Portland and across the nation – to the former Minidoka Camp in Idaho.  This is an opportunity to learn, share memories, and ask questions about the Minidoka experience.  Consider participating as a way to bring your family together and reconnect with friends.  Participation is limited.

The 2013 Pilgrimage will include:

  • Access to an original barrack building and mess hall.  People will be able to go in portions of both historic buildings.
  • Reconstructed fence is complete.  It runs about one mile in length from the stone entrance buildings along the North Side Canal to the historic swimming hole.  The trail is parallel to the fence, so that visitors can see the fence and walk along it.
  • New collections storage building completed to house Minidoka collections items at Hagerman Fossil Beds.
  • Guided tour of the Minidoka National Historic Site by National Park Service staff.
  • Commemorative Closing Ceremony at Minidoka.

This year, the Civil Liberties Symposium sponsored by Friends of Minidoka is going to be held at the College of Southern Idaho (CSI).  The Pilgrimage will officially begin in Twin Falls on Thursday evening, June 20, 2013.

Registration deadline is June 1, 2013.  You can mail your forms and payment to:  Minidoka Pilgrimage, 511 16th Ave. S., Seattle, WA  98144.  Please note that lodging is not included in either the Seattle/Bellevue Package or the Twin Falls Package. Please arrange your lodging accommodations in Twin Falls, Idaho on your own.  Also, Pilgrims in need of services of a personal nature are responsible for arranging for such services prior to registering for the pilgrimage and are encouraged to travel with a companion for such purposes.

We will again be offering a SENIOR SCHOLARSHIP for this year’s Pilgrims who are over 80 years of age and older, and were imprisoned in any of the American Concentration Camps during WWII.  This scholarship covers the registration fee, hotel, and bus costs (roundtrip bus transportation from Bellevue College to Minidoka) will be waived.  We are grateful to the 2003 Minidoka Remembrance fund and the proceeds from the 2013 Day of Remembrance Taiko Festival for making this opportunity available.

For other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com.  All documents will be available on the Pilgrimage website: minidokapilgrimage.org.  If you are unable to access the forms and information by computer, please leave your name and address with Ann Fujii Lindwall at 206-367-8749 and they can be mailed to you.

Contact:  ANN FUJII LINDWALL; (206) 367-8749; fujiilindwall@comcast.net

 

March 7, 2013

JACL Statement on the Power of Words

Posted in Japanese American Incarceration, News tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:20 pm by minidokapilgrimage

powerofwordsfina070712

Click Image above to view/print

The following is a press release from the Japanese American Citizens League, dated March 5, 2013.


Contact: Priscilla Ouchida, Executive Director,pouchida@jacl.org
Craig Tomiyoshi, VP – Public Affairs,vppublicaffairs@jacl.org

WASHINGTON D.C. — During the past several weeks, the Japanese American Citizens League has received numerous questions and comments from members and external partners within the Japanese American communityabout the organization’s position and plans regarding implementation of the Power of Words handbook.

JACL remains committed to fully implementing the Power of Words resolution and terminology handbook, as approved by the National Council, without removal of any terminology or edits to their recommended use.

While some internal briefings and opinions on our web site have circulated and raised concerns in the community, no proposal or resolution to remove or redefine terminology has been developed or brought before the JACL National Board for consideration.

At the last JACL National Board Meeting in February 2013, the board reaffirmed its support for the Power of Words handbook and implementation as approved at the 2012 National Convention.

JACL staff has been engaging in conversations with its partners outside of the Japanese American community to listen to their feedback and explore partnership opportunities that may help the handbook receive broader support and visibility. Some groups have indicated that their constituents may have difficulty supporting a term in the handbook, but acknowledged the Japanese American community’s right to define its own experience.

No official partnership or coalition currently exists. Moreover, JACL will not recommend or propose the removal of, or edits to, the terminology handbook as a condition of participation in a broader coalition.

JACL, its leadership, staff and individual committees have been actively promoting and distributing the handbook to elected officials, members of Congress, federal agencies and organizations, without reservation. As part of the implementation strategy, the Education Committee of JACL has also been developing a broader outreach and distribution plan for the Power of Words handbook.

-END-

Taken from: http://blog.manzanarcommittee.org/2013/03/07/jacl-statement-on-the-power-of-words/

July 27, 2012

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage Photos

Posted in 2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:22 am by minidokapilgrimage

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage Group Photo by Eugene Tagawa

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage Camp Photo by Eugene Tagawa

Here’s links to various sites where pictures from the 2012 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: minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com for more information.

Ryan Kozu: https://picasaweb.google.com/103180039956765998297/MinidokaPilgrimage2012?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Eugene Tagawa: https://picasaweb.google.com/100930662448489700454/2012PILGRIMAGEA?authkey=Gv1sRgCNWPmKeykdLDfg#

Idaho History Groups Disheartened by Idaho Supreme Court Decision Sanctioning Factory Farm at WWII Japanese American Incarceration Site

Posted in 2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage, CAFO, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , , at 11:11 am by minidokapilgrimage

Here’s the press release from Friends of Minidoka regarding the recent Idaho Supreme Court ruling that allows a CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operation) to be built a mile from the Minidoka National Historic Site.

For immediate release:
CONTACTS:
Emily Momohara, Friends of Minidoka, ehmomohara@yahoo.com
Dean Dimond, 208-280-1081edendimond@bridgemail.com
Charlie Tebbutt, Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, 541-344-8312,charlie.tebbuttlaw@gmail.com
Idaho History Groups Disheartened by Idaho Supreme Court Decision Sanctioning Factory Farm at WWII Japanese American Incarceration Site
 
Suit appealed Jerome County District Court’s decision on County’s decision-making Process, arguing that the permit application excluded important information about potential harm to Minidoka National Historic Site and surrounding farms
 
Twin Falls, ID – July 7, 2012 – The Friends of Minidoka, Dimond Family, and Idaho Concerned Area Residents for the Environment are deeply disappointed by the Idaho Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a permit for a factory farm operation that poses major hazards to Minidoka National Historic Site (Minidoka) and surrounding families. As an incarceration facility for Japanese American citizens during World War II, Minidoka is an important part of local and national history.
The coalition remains deeply concerned about the ramifications that a confined animal feeding operation, or “CAFO,” would create at Minidoka and surrounding farms. The court challenge first arose after the Jerome County Board of Commissioners (Board) voted to approve an application for (CAFO) permit a mile upwind from Minidoka on September 23, 2008.  It included support from prominent national groups, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which named Minidoka one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places in 2007. In the summer of 2010, Judge Elgee of Jerome County District Court denied the challenger’s petition for judicial review. That decision was appealed in early 2011.
The Minidoka Relocation Center, a World War II internment camp for Japanese Americans and their immigrant ancestors, operated from August 1942 to October 1945, housing 13,000 Japanese Americans from Washington, Oregon and Alaska on a 33,000-acre site with over 600 buildings.  Designated a National Monument in 2001, under the auspices of the National Park Service, the site, visited annually by thousands, tells stories about wartime division and subsequent post war unification and settlement.  In 2008, Congress passed legislation to expand Minidoka and call it a National Historic Site.
“The Friends of Minidoka is saddened to hear the verdict today,” says Hanako Wakatsuki, Chairperson of FOM. “We are large supporters of the agricultural industry in Jerome County and believe preservation at Minidoka can take place at the same time, but only if farming operations are planned in a way that recognize public uses.”
Charlie Tebbutt, coalition lawyer, says, “The Idaho Supreme Court’s extremely narrow reading reading of the law effectively eliminates the rights of people to protect themselves and their property from the scourge of industrial animal production facilities, such as the one proposed by South View.  It is a sad day for the rights of Japanese Americans who suffered the indignities of being sequestered during World War II to be told that they have no standing to protect the National Historic Site at which their and their ancestors’ civil liberties were denied.”
The Friends of Minidoka is a non-profit organization which engages in and supports education, upholds the legacy of those incarcerated and the incarceration experience, supports research, and promotes alliances with organizations and entities with common objectives, specifically, but not limited to the National Park Service. We honor the legacy of those incarcerated and the incarceration experience, thus promote site preservation. www.minidoka.org
 
###

April 17, 2012

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage

Posted in 2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , at 1:52 pm by minidokapilgrimage

Press Release – For Immediate Release

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage June 21 – June 24, 2012
Celebrating our 10th Annual Minidoka Pilgrimage and recognizing the 70th Anniversary signing of Executive Order 9066

Seattle, WA – April 1, 2012 –Seventy years ago, almost 13,000 people of Japanese-ancestry, many of whom were American citizens, were removed from their homes and sent to a desolate “incarceration camp” near Twin Falls, Idaho.  This summer, the 10th pilgrimage will take place with former internees, their families, and friends – from Seattle, Portland and across the nation – to the former Minidoka Camp in Idaho.  This is an opportunity to learn, share memories, and ask questions about the Minidoka experience.  Consider participating as a way to bring your family together and reconnect with friends.  Participation is limited.

The 2012 Pilgrimage will include:
· Access to barrack building and mess hall.  The buildings are now safe to enter.  People will be able to go in portions of both historic buildings.
· Reconstructed fence is complete.  It runs about one mile in length from the stone entrance buildings along the North Side Canal to the historic swimming hole.  The trail is parallel to the fence, so that visitors can see the fence and walk along it.
· New collections storage building completed to house Minidoka collections items at Hagerman Fossil Beds.
· Guided tour of the Minidoka Internment National Monument by National Park Service staff.
· BBQ dinner hosted by the city of Eden.
· Commemorative Closing Ceremony at Minidoka.
· New activities for 2012 are in the works – stay tuned!

This year, the Civil Liberties Symposium sponsored by Friends of Minidoka is going to be held in Boise, ID at Boise State University. The Pilgrimage will officially begin in Boise on Thursday, June 21 and then travel down to Twin Falls, ID once the Symposium concludes on Friday, June 22.

The second day (Friday, June 22) of the Civil Liberties Symposium at Boise State University is included in both packages. For more information about the Civil Liberties Symposium or to register for the first day, please contact Hanako Wakatsuki at: info@minidoka.org.

Please review the Hotel and Information document and the Registration Form for more information on Pilgrimage packages (Seattle and Boise/Twin Falls).  This information can be found on the Minidoka Pilgrimage web site at www.minidokapilgrimage.org  (The Seattle Package cannot accommodate the 1st day of the symposium).

Registration can either be sent in via mail or done online: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/242260

This year we are very excited to be offering a SENIOR SCHOLARSHIP for this year’s Pilgrims who are over 80 years of age and older, and were imprisoned in any of the American concentration camps during WWII. Please review this Senior Scholarship Registration Form to apply for the scholarship. This can be found on the Minidoka Pilgrimage website, mentioned above.

For other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com.

For those who cannot access the forms and information by computer, please leave your name and address with Ann Fujii Lindwall at 206-367-8749 and they can be mailed to you.

Contact:  Ann Fujii Lindwall
(206) 367-8749
Fujiilindwall@comcast.net

November 1, 2011

Quiet and Honor at Minidoka National Historic Site

Posted in 2011 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Honor Roll, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:25 pm by minidokapilgrimage

http://blog.preservationnation.org/2011/07/11/quiet-and-honor-at-minidoka-national-historic-site/

Quiet and Honor at Minidoka National Historic Site

By National Trust for Historic Preservation on July 11th, 2011

Written by Sheri Freemuth

Historic photo of Minidoka's honor roll of service members. (Photo: Friends of Minidoka)Historic photo of Minidoka’s honor roll of service members. (Photo: Friends of Minidoka)

The wind often hides the quiet of south central Idaho, just as the broad expanse of irrigated crops can mask the rugged lava rock and sagebrush land. The passage of time has also obscured evidence of four years of incarceration for over 10,000 Japanese Americans at the Minidoka Relocation Center, or Hunt Camp, now known as the Minidoka National Historic Site.

But this Independence Day weekend there was no rustle of wind or hissing of pivot sprinklers to distract the participants in the 9th annual Minidoka pilgrimage. As in years past, pilgrims saw the dark lava stones near the banks of the Northside Canal, the old entrance road and the ruins of the historic waiting room. For the first time, pilgrims saw other traces of the camp delicately revealed by the National Park Service (NPS), along with new interpretive signs along a 1.6 mile walking trail. These signs were a reminder to those who bore witness (and there were some original incarcerees among the pilgrims), and offered fresh insights to visitors who do not recall World War II nor the many painful sacrifices it entailed.

The most striking addition to the site, the focus of the Sunday morning ceremony, is a large triptych signbearing the names of all who served in the military during World War II from the Minidoka Relocation Center. Made possible by the diligence of the Friends of Minidoka and a grant from the NPS, it is a replica of the Honor Roll initially erected by camp incarcerees in a personal and deliberate display of patriotism.

The ribbon-cutting for the replica of the Honor Roll, July 3, 2011. (Photo: National Park Service)The ribbon-cutting for the replica of the Honor Roll, July 3, 2011. (Photo: National Park Service)

With the installation it is also possible to see the outline of the original Victory Garden, whose design is attributed to Fujitara Kubota, who was incarcerated at Minidoka with his family (the mastery of Kubota can be seen today in the public Kubota Garden in Seattle). At Minidoka, only the embedded lava rock that lines a “V” shaped pathway and outcroppings of carefully placed boulders are hints of what the original garden may have included.

The three large buses of this year’s participants in the pilgrimage, many coming from Washington’s Puget Sound area, were joined by local friends and partners to acknowledge the dedication of those that work tirelessly to preserve and enhance the Minidoka National Historic Site. I was pleased to be a part of the group gathered on Sunday and honored to work for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has endeavored to ensure a bright future for this historic site, one that it richly deserves.

Most of all, though, the Sunday morning ceremony honored the bravery of those who served in World War II, particularly the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated unit in the US Army. Comprised solely of Japanese Americans, this unit became the most highly-decorated regiment in the history of the United States Armed Forces for their size and length of service. Minidoka provided 25 percent of the volunteers that served in the unit.

The testimony, the tears and the laughter of Sunday morning were captured best by Brooks Andrews, retired pastor and son of Seattle Pastor Emory “Andy” Andrews, who left Seattle for Idaho when his congregation, the Japanese Baptist Church, was uprooted to Minidoka. Brooks provided the invocation saying:

“We gather today to remember, honor and pay tribute….to the dedication and integrity of our young Nisei and the greatness that came, not from worldly assessment, but from an uncommon greatness that came from the quietness and serenity of the soul.”

Sheri Freemuth is a Program Officer for the Western Office. She resides in Boise, Idaho.

Reflections on Minidoka

Posted in 2011 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , , at 1:03 pm by minidokapilgrimage

Reflections on Minidoka

by: Antoinette M. Spillers

On June 30th-July 3rd, I had the opportunity to visit a horrific and shameful part of our nation’s history, participating in the 9th Annual Pilgrimage to the Minidoka Concentration Camp. The Minidoka Pilgrimage was one of the most powerful, educational and life-changing journey I have ever endured. This trip challenged my understanding and perspective on the teachings of American history, realization of my emotional connections to this past, and my role as a change agent to educate others and prevent such heinous crimes from re-occurring. I was exposed to the realities that many Japanese Americans endured before, during and after living in the incarceration camps. It’s very dishearten the more I learned about our country’s history, the more pain and shame this country has brought upon itself. This trip further my understanding that each demographic group as endured many challenges and oppression in this country, but instead of allowing further separation, we should use our unique stories to connect us as a nation, for the betterment of the human race.

My studies of the incarceration camps began as a junior in high school, while conducting research on Japanese Americans in Internment Camps during World War II, for my English class research paper. During my research, I discovered information about the 442nd Infantry Regiment and the 100th Battalion, both consisted of men who volunteer to fight for this country, as proof of their loyalty and pride. I am astounded, as by the amount of sacrifices many people have given to a country to have oppressed and discriminated against them since the founding of our nation; this complex love-hate relationship many of us experience with this country. Since high school, I have been eager to learn more about the incarceration camps and to gain a better understanding of the teaching techniques of American history. I constantly wonder about the multitude of stories that are erased from our history book; concealing America’s shameful past and ignorance. There are many more stories out there, in which I am eager to uncover our past, seek out the millions of untold stories and learn more about the other concentration campus in our nation.

During the bus trip to Idaho, we watched movies and documentaries about the many experiences and stories from the concentration camps. I was extremely appalled to learn many families were forced to live in horse stables prior to relocating to the incarceration camps. It is a tragedy that our government treated human beings like animals, placing them in horse stables, expecting them to living comfortably. In addition, American citizens were removed from their home with uncertainties; families were unsure about their relocation area, the location of other family members, and no legitimate reasons for the massive evacuation orders (Being that we were also at war with Germany and Italy, but no European Americans were order to relocate). When I heard these stories, I sense the pain and trauma because I know the feeling of evacuating with many uncertainties. These stories resurface many emotions I endured during my evacuation in August 2005 from Hurricane Katrina, whereas my city received a mandatory evacuation on short-notice on a Sunday morning. When comparing the two events, it seems as if history did repeat itself, but for different reasons. It is still painful to know that thousands were forced out of their homes, places into massive, unsanitary living quarters for matters out of their control. Many of us share those pains and struggle of losing everything you worked hard for; obtaining the American Dream and suddenly, that dream was stolen. It is very hurtful to have your life earnings taken away, but these shared emotions will bring us together, as humans, as a nation.

During the Pilgrimage, I learned many other untold stories, such as the No-no, men who decided not to volunteer for the war, the Women Army Corps and the most dangerous battles the 442nd Infantry and the 100th Battalion were sent to combat in order to save other American soldiers. During the midst of battles, the U.S. government persisted in their discriminatory practices, by sacrificing hundreds of Japanese American soldiers in deadly battlefields to save white American soldiers, establishing a segregated military unit for Japanese Americans and sustaining the segregated African-American units. I also learned the government reasons for sending Japanese Americans to these deserted camps, placing them on desert, uncultivated land, so they can cultivate the land into farmland, which supplied food for the soldiers and other citizens. When the camps were closed, the land was given to other veterans, not the people who cultivated the land. It is dishearten to learn about these stories of oppression, yet these same stories are reminders of the importance of sharing and preserving history. By sharing the truth, we learned how to prevent these discriminatory events from re-occurring. These untold stories provided an in-depth understanding of my place in serving as an agent of change to, expand and preserve citizens civil rights and liberties.

When I moved to Seattle a year ago, I realize my new location will provided exposure to another aspect of history, something different from the southern history I grew-up learning. Many local residents explained the location of the Japanese Town and Little Tokyo that existed in Seattle and other parts of the country, but after the incarceration campus, many of those communities never returned. The Minidoka Concentration Camp was occupied from August 1942-October 1945, but those few years forever changed the lives, cultural and family structure of many Japanese American families in the Pacific Northwest. There is much trauma many have suffered living in these facilities, but I am thankful for those who are able to remember and  share their stories, teaching us and preserving history with the next generation. I know Japanese American history did not start, nor will it end with the concentration camps.

There have been many recent discussions about another potential incarceration and relocation of American Citizens, but I hope our society will take a greater stand and speaking out against these injustices in our nation. Each ethnic group endures their only challenges and pains, but when we began to put our differences aside and realize how we as humans have suffered, we begin to move forward in working for a better, more just society.

In the words of Mark Twain, “History never repeats itself, at best it sometimes rhymes.” After attending the Minidoka Pilgrimage, I assure you history will not repeat nor will it rhyme, and I am ever more grateful to learn and share these remarkable stories with others.

Thank you for this opportunity.

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