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Apr-28-2011 21:34printcomments

2011 Minidoka Pilgrimage in June Marks 69 Years

Pilgrimage honors Japanese-Americans incarcerated during WWII.

Salem-News.com
RogerShimomura-MinidokaRevisited-2006
Roger Shimomura's Minidoka Revisited-2006 Courtesy: Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

(SEATTLE, Wash.) - Close to 70 years ago, during World War II, almost thirteen thousand people of Japanese ancestry, many of whom were American citizens, were forcibly removed from their homes in Washington, Oregon and Alaska, and sent to a desolate “incarceration camp” near Twin Falls, Idaho.

To commemorate the 69th year of this historic event, former incarcerees, their families, friends, and those interested in this historic event will make a pilgrimage from Seattle and Portland to the former Minidoka Internment Camp from June 30 – July 3, 2011.

The Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, the Nisei Veterans Committee, and the Friends of Minidoka invite all those who are interested to join us on our pilgrimage.

This year’s Pilgrimage highlights include:

  • Honor Roll will be dedicated. While Minidoka had seven percent of the males of all the centers, it provided 25 percent of the volunteers that made up the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the U.S. armed forces, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an all Nisei unit. As a way of honoring those volunteers, an Honor Roll was constructed in the Victory Garden just inside the entrance to Minidoka. It named each individual from Minidoka who volunteered to serve in World War II.
  • 1.6 mile walking trail will be completed and way signs will be installed to guide guests at the historical site.
  • Optional tours to Hagerman fossil beds are scheduled for Friday with morning and afternoon visits to view a small collection of Minidoka artifacts that are being temporarily stored there until the Visitor’s Center is completed.
  • An original barrack that is being returned to camp will be in place on the Block 22 site.
  • BBQ on Saturday to be hosted by Roy Prescott, local rancher and the town's people of Eden, ID. Eden is the end of the rail line where the internees from Camp Harmony were off loaded and put on buses for the final leg of their journey to Minidoka.

Today, most of the 33,000 acres that once made up Minidoka has been taken over by farms. However, in 2001, 73 acres along the North Side Canal, near the entrance was designated a National Historical Monument. On December 21, 2006, President Bush signed H.R. 1492 into law guaranteeing $38,000,000 in federal money to restore the Minidoka relocation center along with nine other former Japanese incarceration camps. And on May 8, 2008, he signed into law The Wild Sky Wilderness Act, which changed the status from U.S. National Monument to National Historic Site and added the Nidoto Nai Yoni (Let It Not Happen Again) Memorial on Bainbridge Island, Washington to the monument.

There will also be a two-day symposium on Civil Liberties in Wartime at the College of Southern Idaho prior to the Pilgrimage. The theme is "Patriotism, Honor, and Sacrifice." Speakers include Dr. Bob Sims (Minidoka history), Dr. David Adler (constitutional issues), Dr. Martin Cutler (Native Americans during the war), Larry Matsuda (poet), Dr. Linda Tamura (MIS), Dr. Brenda Lee Moore (Japanese American Women in the Military during WWII), and Prof. Eric Muller (draft resisters).

Registration is due by June 3, 2011.

To register and for hotel and registration information, please visit the website: http://minidokapilgrimage.org/ or
email:minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com.

View photos of last year's event:

Ryan Kozu http://picasaweb.google.com/minidokapilgrimage/2010MinidokaPilgrimage#

Eugene Tagawa: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakatare/sets/

Byron Kato: http://gallery.me.com/katobyron#100131&bgcolor=black&view=grid

Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee
June 30 - July 3, 2011
http://minidokapilgrimage.org
http://minidokapilgrimage.wordpress.com




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