Klamath Falls, Ore. / Tulelake, Cal. – Over 400 people began arriving Friday at Oregon Tech for the 2018 Tulelake Pilgrimage.
“Many people have come several times.” Notes Tulelake Committee Board Member Satsuki Ina. “Because they have found that this is a place to feel a sense of community, and shared history about our incarceration during World War II.”
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, over 110,000 Japanese Americans were detained at 10 ‘internment camps’ across the U.S.
Many of those felt to pose the greatest risk were held at Tulelake.
Satsuki Ina was born at the Tulelake Camp, she believes the incarceration represents human rights violations that are still evident today. “What we want to do is stand up for those people that are being targeted, in ways that nobody stood up for us.”
Many of those on the Pilgrimage toured the stockade at the grounds in Tulelake on Saturday.
Jimi Yamaichi was the foreman on construction of that jail, and was a major force behind pilgrimages over the past several decades.
Yamaichi died May 12th at the age of 95.
“This is the first pilgrimage that I’ve been to where Jimi was absent.” Notes Ina. “So we’re missing him – feeling that there’s a big vacuum.”
But there’s a strong effort to preserve the grounds in Tulelake, and to hold future Pilgrimages.
“We need to pass the story on to the next generation.” Says Ina. “We have to keep this story alive so America knows this isn’t just Japanese American history, this is American history.”
The Ross Ragland Theater will host a cultural program open to the public Sunday evening at 7:30.
You’ll find more information on the Tulelake Pilgrimage at: www.tulelake.org