Japanese American survivors revisit a troubling past and vow to protect the Idaho prison camp where they were held I’m looking for a name on an exhibit that's honoring more than 4,000 people who were incarcerated here, in the middle of Idaho farmland, at an American prison camp that most people don’t know about or would prefer to forget.
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Minidoka was represented by camp survivor - Fujiko Tamura Gardner, faith leader - Reverend Emery Brooks Andrews, executive director of Friends of Minidoka - Robyn Achilles, and our Director of Interpretation - Kurt Ikeda.
It was a pleasure to attend this event along side National Park Service staff of Manzanar NHS, Hono’uli’uli NHS, and the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant. We privileged to uplift the Minidoka story amongst so many of our Minidoka descendants including those from Minidoka Pilgrimage, Japanese American Museum of Oregon andDensho! We look forward to sharing more about this wonderful project and the upcoming next steps in our continued work for remembrance and community legacy.
Here is an excerpt from the project from the website - www.Ireizo.com/about
“This is the first time a comprehensive list of the over 125,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who were unjustly imprisoned in U.S. Army, Department of Justice, and War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps has been successfully compiled - and thus the first time it has been possible to properly memorialize each incarceree as distinct individuals instead of a generalized community.”
These photos are a snap shot of our group holding ceremonial sample of soil gathered around Minidoka NHS to complete a spiritual pilgrimage of each confinement site to this space. With that said we remind visitors to leave no trace and to refrain from collecting plants, rocks, and artifacts from the historic site.
In mid-June 2022, we welcomed a small group of special guests from the Minidoka Pilgrimage for a journey to Minidoka National Historic Site. While there was no large in-person Minidoka Pilgrimage this year, it was a joy to welcome members of the planning committee back to Minidoka. We send our deepest appreciations to those who tirelessly dedicate their time, effort, and spirit to put on the most meaningful yearly experience at the historic site ♥.
These stills from the talented Seattle-based filmmakers Canh Nguyen and Futsum Tsegai 🎥 capture some of the moments that made this experience so nourishing for these community organizers, the National Park Service staff, and for the Historic Site itself. We are looking forward to the finished film so the 2023 journey can be shared with the greater pilgrimage community.
The Minidoka Pilgrimage instagram page has a few more photos from the weekend by Minidoka survivor, Eugene Tagawa and descendants Stephen and Erin. Check them out and we hope to welcome the pilgrimage to Minidoka in the near future ❕
We love our community partners!
Photo Credit: Cahn Nguyen /
🎦 Watch a 12-minute video
Flash forward to 2022! Over the weekend of July 17-19, a dozen community members from the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee (Seattle, WA) arrived for a hybrid pilgrimage to commemorate 80 years since the incarceration of their community and families.
Brian Holmes of KTVB covers their journey in this 12 min news story below.
Learn more about the Minidoka Pilgrimage at www.minidokapilgrimage.org and look out for their upcoming video highlighting this hybrid pilgrimage in the near future!
This month we will highlight the various ways the National Park Service, community organizations including Friends of Minidoka and Minidoka Pilgrimage, families and visitors commemorated the 80th since the incarceration during WWII.
Follow along as we showcase our “2022 season in review” to see photos of the programs and people we share this American story through. From posts recalling our heartfelt hybrid pilgrimage, packed community tours, incredible film screenings, and our visitor center - we welcome everyone to continue to learn about the legacy of Minidoka. www.nps.gov/MIIN
Photo caption: a collage of photos of park rangers, visitors, families, and events held at Minidoka National Historic Site with the words “Minidoka 80 years” overlayed.
Today, Minidoka stands as a memorial for the interned, teaching younger generations about the unjust treatment their families, ancestors, and neighbors were forced to endure. However, this somber monument to injustice is now at risk of being disturbed. You can learn more about the Lava Ridge Wind Farm project from Minidoka Pilgrimage at the link below — a project that will directly impact the historical and cultural resource of the Minidoka site.
✅ Learn about the Northwest Nikkei Museum（西北日系博物館について）
✅ Learn about the Minidoka historic site, and the Lava Ridge Wind Farm project
Then, catch the premiere POV / PBS broadcast of Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust on July 18th at 10pm (check your local listings). The documentary will be available to stream free until August 18, 2022 at pbs.org, and the PBS Video app!
Day of Remembrance: 1942-2022
JOIN US IN PERSON OR VIA LIVE-STREAM
Saturday, February 19, 10am-1pm
Live-streaming via ’s Instagram account
10-11am PST am from Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup
Blue Lot Parking, 311 10th Ave SE, Puyallup, WA 98372
12-1pm PST from Northwest Detention Center at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma
1623 E J Street, Tacoma WA 98421
Details: Weather permitting, there will be some outdoor programming. Masks and social
February 19, 2022 will mark 80 years since the signing of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced removal and mass incarceration of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast and beyond. Most Japanese Americans in the Seattle area spent their first few months in detention at the Puyallup Fairgrounds (“Camp Harmony”) until their transfer to the concentration camps at Minidoka, ID, and Tule Lake, CA. The trauma of family separation, child imprisonment, poor sanitation, bad food, inadequate health care, and uncertain futures persists – and continues today at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
Join Tsuru for Solidarity, Seattle JACL, Puyallup Valley Chapter - Japanese American Citizens League Minidoka Pilgrimage Densho and La Resistencia for a car rally at the Puyallup Fairgrounds and NWDC. Together, we will Remember and Resist these past and present injustices.
[Logo artwork by Eugene Tagawa]
page of the Seattle-based Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee who organizes an annual tri Participation will be limited.
Former internees, their families, friends, and those interested in this historic event will make a pilgrimage from Seattle and Portland to the former Minidoka Internment Camp. The Minidoka Pilgrimage provides an opportunity to share memories, ask questions, and learn more about the Minidoka experience. Consider participating in our pilgrimage as a way to bring your family together and reconnect with friends from the past.
Operating as usual
Densho Research Internships - Densho: Japanese American Incarceration and Japanese Internment Densho is excited to offer two remote internship opportunities for individuals interested in supporting our research and educational projects to enhance historical accuracy and inclusivity.
On this day in 1942, the Portland Assembly Center was officially closed. This site was located at the Pacific International Livestock Exposition Pavilion and would reach a peak population of 3,676 inmates. The conditions at the pavilion were so poor, even non-inmate officials noted that the site was unsanitary and at times dangerous to live in. This site would be utilized as a detention center for about four months before the inmate population would be transferred to concentration camps such as Heart Mountain, Minidoka, and Tule Lake. In 1979, the past site of Portland Assembly Center would go on to become the location of Portland's first Day of Remembrance.
Today's image depicts two girls at Portland Assembly Center
Image courtesy of Oregon Historical Society, Frank Abe, Densho
Mitsuye Yamada's 100th Birthday, a poets' reading and tribute, hosted by Brynn Saito and Brandon Shimoda | The Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives The Poetry Center is deeply honored to present a poets' reading and tribute to acclaimed poet, essayist, educator, feminist, and human rights activist, Mitsuye Yamada, to help mark her 100th birthday and the extending influence of her remarkable life and work. This online event is hosted by poets Br...
Our voices will not be silenced, and our ancestors will not be forgotten. Please share a photo in remembrance of a Nikkei ancestor who you would like to honor and whose memory inspires you in some way: https://www.tfaforms.com/5082428
Submissions to this crowd-sourced remembrance project will be shared during Densho’s 2023 Virtual Fundraiser on October 5.
Make sure to register for Our Voices Will Not Be Silenced! Join us virtually on October 5th at 5:30 pm PST for an evening of conversation, art, and capacity-building, featuring special guest Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Registration is free and open to the public; learn more and sign up today: https://densho.org/voices/
Please help out if you can!
REMINDER, we in search of a some things including a washer & dryer. please share and let us know if have gently used items to donate.
OBITUARY: Martha Nakagawa, Community Journalist and Activist - Rafu Shimpo Rafu Staff Report Martha Miiko Nakagawa, a long-time community journalist, researcher and advocate, passed away on the morning of July 28 at Los Angeles General Medical Center. She was 56. She was brought to the ER on July 26 for shortness of breath and a high heart rate. She was suffering from mult...
Repost fr pilgrim Haruka Sakaguchi @hsakag • A heartfelt thank you to @minidokapilgrimage for hosting an incredible pilgrimage this past weekend in Hunt, Idaho. At the beginning, public historian and Minidoka descendant Julie Abo asked me, “What does this pilgrimage mean to you?” As an immigrant to the US and therefore an outsider to the Japanese American survivor and descendant community, I never expected anyone to show an interest in my pilgrimage experience. I sheepishly told Julie that I would need a minute to think about it. After four days of gathering in the arid Snake River Plain, I may have something close to an answer. Pilgrimage, to me, is a spiritual purging; it’s a safe place to leave your pain behind so you don’t inflict others with it. Pilgrimage is healing that transcends the individual; it’s honoring your ancestors while gently closing the trauma loops that you have inherited from them. While it may seem counterintuitive to process trauma by revisiting the very site where the trauma originated, returning to that place is, for some, the only way to understand the contours of their family history after decades of silence. Yesterday, we were joined by two members of the Crow Nation who guided us through a cleansing ceremony and imparted to us that we need to leave our sorrows behind here, at this place. Why? So that we can return to our families with smiles and an open heart. A “pilgrimage” or お遍路 in Japan typically takes the form of a months-long journey by foot to Buddhist temples. One of the spiritual objectives of these pilgrimages is to prepare the spirit for a smooth transition into the afterlife. I felt the pilgrimage at Minidoka was also a お遍路 in its own way: a reminder that spiritual well-being does not end with the individual, a cleansing and preparation of the mind and body to better serve future generations. This was encapsulated in a question posed by poet @brandon_shimoda at the beginning of the pilgrimage: “What kind of ancestors do we want to be?” I am deeply grateful for this experience and to the pilgrims–like Tomita, pictured above–who took the time to share their stories with me. It’s a privilege to know you.
Official photo of the 2023 Minidoka Pilgrimage attendees and the Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee volunteers and youth fellows. 💝🎯✅ photo courtesy of Uncle Eugene Tagawa 🙏🏻
And it’s a wrap!
2023 Minidoka Pilgrimage
Thank you all!
Everyone on the buses. ✅
Heading to the site. ✅
And away we go…
Safe travels to all the Pilgrims making the trip! 🙏🏻
Volume V, number 9 of the Minidoka Irrigator, Apr. 28, 1945, Minidoka concentration camp, Idaho. Courtesy of Cherry Kinosh*ta and Densho
September 12, 1953
We celebrate the milestone 70th anniversary of the marriage of June and Frank Sato and grieve her recent passing. Frank and June and their families are in our thoughts.
Check out this AMAZING project at the National Archives to identify community members who were never originally identified in War time photos.
This would be a great activity to do with family members! Go through the digitized photos from the WRA camps or assembly centers and if folks find and identify family members in WRA photographs on the Library of Congress website — you can contact them with the names of your loved ones and they'll update the page to reflect that those individuals are in the specific photograph.
“Her Name is Shizuko”—A Mother’s Influence | Picture This The following is a guest post by Karen “Kara” Chittenden, Senior Cataloging Specialist, Prints and Photographs Division. On April 25, 1942, a U.S. War Relocation Authority photographer documented a young Japanese American woman who was waiting in line for an appointment to receive a family regis...
Asian American and Pacific Islander history is alive in these 10 parks and other sites Asians, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians have a rich history and cultural heritage that is often ignored in the U.S. But there are still several parks and monuments that tell stories about AANHPI communities. Some of these sites testify to hardship and tragedy—but many also ...
Tonight! You need to preregister.
Food and Power among Japanese Americans Incarcerated During World War II Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II had little say in the food they ate or crops they cultivated. Join Dr. Paula Fujiwara and the Arizona Historical Society on May 10th as she explores the relationship of food and power among imprisoned Americans of Japanese ancestry, with some detai...
We thank our friend photographer Chang Kim for allowing us to share just a sampling of his project “New Home (Japanese concentration camps in the U.S.).”
In his artist statement he writes: “When I first learned about this history, what shocked me wasn’t the incarceration itself, but the fact that it happened in this country that was pursuing freedom, equal rights and democracy as the most fundamental values of the society. As a first-generation immigrant with a son born in the U.S., it was painful to imagine the emotion that the prisoners must have had when they had to bring their U.S. born children to the prisons without being able to explain how it could happen in this country. It also reminded me of the racial and religious antagonism that we’ve witnessed in recent history and made me realize how radically our view of this world can change when war and terror affect our life, resonating that bitter history can always be repeated if not properly told.“
Many of us have only been on the sacred grounds of the Minidoka in the warmer months, but Chang’s images poignantly capture the bleak winter in “landscapes that are beautiful and terrifying at the same time…”. We honor what our ancestors endured on this harsh land, and the spirit with which they tended the next generations despite the circumstances.
When we resist LS Power’s giant wind farm proposal we must emphasize the importance of the setting and location of Minidoka, with its isolation, openness, and distance from the west coast. These are characteristics of all of the War Relocation Authority sites chosen by the Department of the Interior, U.S. Government. The site was made a National Historic Site so that ALL people could learn from the tragic, racist mistakes of our government.
Friends from all walks, these are the FINAL FEW DAYS to send comments to the BLM. State that you choose Alternative A–NO ACTION. For info on submitting, find link in our bio or go to www.minidokapilgrimage.org/call-to-action
Thank you, Chang, for being in solidarity with us and understanding our c***ected stories. Please follow his work at www.changkimphotography.com or instagram.com/changkyun_kim
Publisher sorry after demanding AsAm author "minimize racism" – AsAmNews Scholastic Books backs down from its demand that a Japanese American author remove references to racism in her book about the Minidoka Incarceration camp.
Trying to whitewash the incarceration story in education. This is happening to a Minidoka story, Minidoka descendants…
Scholastic, and a Faustian Bargain — Pretty Ok Maggie Recently, I got an email with an offer from Scholastic’s Educational Division to license Love in the Library for an AANHPI narratives collection, I was thrilled. If you’ve been in kids’ books for more than ten minutes then you are aware of the staggering reach of Scholastic. And since I’m no...
Advocates say 400 turbines will threaten the sanctity of the historic Idaho location that served as an incarceration camp during WWII
Mary Abo is in her 80s now, but can recite her childhood address on command: block six, barrack four, apartment C.
Abo is a survivor of Minidoka, one of several camps that the U.S. government forced Japanese Americans to live in during World War II. The Idaho location is a site of painful memories for people like Abo, who now lives in Bremerton, but its existence is also an important part of her history.
To read more articles: https://www.nichibei.org/2023/03/japanese-americans-protest-a-wind-project-near-the-minidoka-site/
Don’t desecrate Minidoka, memorial to Japanese American incarceration | Op-Ed The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has plans to allow 740-foot wind turbines wihtin the Minidoka National Historic Site footprint.
OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
for an anthology of poetry on Japanese American/Nikkei incarceration
edited by Brandon Shimoda and former Densho artist-in-residence Brynn Saito
to be published by Haymarket Books, 2025
Dear Nikkei community / Descendants of the WWII prison and camps / Poets,
Brynn Saito and Brandon Shimoda are currently seeking submissions for an anthology of poetry on Japanese American/Nikkei incarceration written by descendants of the forced removal and mass incarceration of our (Japanese American/Canadian/Latin American, Japanese immigrant, Okinawan, Unangax̂/Aleut) parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, family members, and ancestors during WWII. The anthology will be published by Haymarket Books in late 2025.
The deadline to submit is April 30, 2023.
For more information, including eligibility and guidelines, and to submit, go to Haymarket's Submittable here: bit.ly/40oApTV
The Proposed Lava Ridge Wind Farm at Minidoka Is Part of a Larger—and Ongoing—Pattern of Erasing Marginalized Histories - Densho: Japanese American Incarceration and Japanese Internment A proposal to build a 76,000-acre wind farm surrounding the former Minidoka concentration camp threatens to erase the site’s historic legacy.The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments on...
2023 Minidoka Pilgrimage Request for Speakers
Form will close on April 9, 9 pm PST, with invitations issued by April 12.
Please consider applying if you do work about the Japanese American incarceration (not exclusive to Minidoka) in any subject area, and have any level of experience doing so. We strive to host a diverse group of presenters.
Selected speakers will be invited to give a 50 min. presentation during the Friday Educational Session at the College of Southern Idaho, on July 7.
The site has full tech capabilities.
Speakers are requested to stay for the full duration of the Pilgrimage for a complete, immersive experience and in order to interact with community members.
Limited stipends will be available based on need and availability (thank you for understanding that we are an all-volunteer run, not-for-profit organization!).
Priority Registration for Suvivors, Descendents, and their Families is now open. Click the link below for both the online registration or mail-in forms.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Register 2023 | Minidoka Pilgrimage Thank you for understanding that we are running at a much smaller capacity this year as well as our desire to give priority to survivors and descendants.
The Tagawa family has a message for Bureau of Land Management.
A proposed giant wind farm with up to 400 700+ft. tall wind turbines adjacent to the Minidoka National Historic Site must be stopped! The Bureau of Land Management in their draft Environmental Impact Statement called visitors to the historic site, "tourists and recreationists"! Outrageous! This is sacred ground.
We will be back in Twin Falls, ID and the Minidoka National Historic Site from July 6-9! Thank you for understanding that we are running at a much smaller capacity this year as well as the importance of giving priority to survivors and descendants of the Japanese American incarceration.
There are a number of other changes you will encounter and among them are:
This year there is no bus from Seattle. Therefore, you are required to arrange your own transportation to and from Twin Falls, Idaho.
Twin Falls is a 9.5 hour drive from Seattle, and an 8.5 hour drive from Portland.
There are many daily flights in and out of Boise, ID. From there, it is a 2.0 hour drive to Twin Falls.
There is also a small airport in Twin Falls that is 15 min. from our base hotels.
Please consider rental car sharing with friends and family.
Register by going to our Eventbrite page.
Priority registration for the 2023 Minidoka Pilgrimage will open tomorrow Wednesday, March 15, at 12:00 noon Pacific for survivors and descendants of the Japanese American incarceration and their families.
General registration will open Wednesday, April 12, at 12:00 noon (PDT).
Survivors over 77 years of age may attend at no cost with a Senior Fellowship – please select the correct registration!
The Pilgrimage will officially begin in Twin Falls on Thursday, July 6th at 6pm (MDT) at KOTO Brewing Co.
Historically, the weather for the Twin Falls, ID during the pilgrimage has been in the mid-80s and sunny. However, temperatures have the ability to reach the mid to upper 90s and drop into the low-70s. A cool breeze can be expected in the evening as well.
Pilgrims are advised that personal services and devices such as wheelchairs and oxygen will not be provided. 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.
The Pilgrimage program will end at approximately 11am on Sunday, July 9th with a closing ceremony on the Minidoka National Historic Site.
More information and additional details for the pilgrimage will be sent to participants as soon as registration forms and fees are received and confirmed.
Transportation will be provided ONLY within the Twin Falls, ID area on Friday and Saturday.
If you stay at one of the hotels we have arranged, continental breakfast is included. All other meals are included in your registration fee
Pilgrims are responsible for making their own hotel accommodations via the links provided in your registration confirmation email.
Senior Fellowship hotel reservations will be paid for and managed by the Minidoka Pilgrimage. After they have applied, seniors should contact [email protected] to coordinate reservations.
Click here to register - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/minidoka-pilgrimage-2023-tickets-567336959117
Minidoka Pilgrimage 2023 The 2023 Minidoka Pilgrimage will take place from July 6th to July 9th and will include educational sessions, tours, and community building.
Minidoka National Historic Site is recruiting for summer 2023 interns! This paid opportunity through Northwest Youth Corps is geared towards future park rangers🤠, maintenance workers👷♀️, historians📚, teachers👨🏫, and community leaders♥! We are recruiting for positions in the Facilities Management and Interpretation/Education fields.
Application Deadline: April 1, 2023 for preference, applications will be accepted until positions are filled
Interviews: Will occur as qualified applications are received.
Service Dates: May 15, 2023 – September 9, 2023
Length of Term: 680 Hours (17-weeks)
$9,520 total living allowance, prorated monthly.
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references and completely fill out the application form found at https://nwyouthcorps.workbrightats.com/jobsearch/?job_board_classification=Internships
Please select “Minidoka National Historic Site – Maintenance Internship” or “Minidoka National Historic Site – Interpretation and Education Internship” when applying.
Image Description: Visitor Center with words "summer internship at Minidoka National Historic Site in foreground"
Japanese Americans protest a wind project near the Minidoka site Advocates say 400 turbines will threaten the sanctity of the historic Idaho location that served as an incarceration camp during WWII.
LETTER: Minidoka NHS has more value to Idaho than Lava Ridge LETTER: It’s unconscionable that the developers proposed putting 400-foot tall wind propellers in close proximity to Minidoka in the first place.
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