The Densho staff headed to Denver in May as we expand our collecting of video life stories from the Pacific Northwest to locations where Japanese Americans moved after World War II. Staff members Tom Ikeda, Dana Hoshide, and Megan Asaka were assisted in the interviewing by ethnic studies professor Daryl Maeda of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and by National Park Service employees Richard Potashin and Kirk Peterson. Densho will return to Denver in July 3-6 after conducting interviews in Salt Lake City from June 2 to 5. Plans for interviewing in other cities will be announced in coming months.
Densho has been honored by the Washington State Historical Society with the 2007 David Douglas Award. This award recognizes educational projects that expand the appreciation of a field of state history. Densho will receive the award at the historical society's annual meeting, on June 21 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.
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National News and Events
Report to Congress for Camps Preservation Grants
On June 3 the National Park Service (NPS) submitted a report to Congress summarizing how it will implement a grant program to support the preservation and interpretation of historic confinement sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. Public Law 109-441 authorizes NPS to develop and carry out the proposed $38 million grant program when funds are appropriated. In a six-month civic engagement process, NPS solicited public input for developing grant guidelines and evaluation criteria. The report will be reviewed by the House Committee on Appropriations.
>> Read the National Park Service Report to Congress
Reminders of National Conferences
Keep in mind the dates of several national gatherings commemorating Japanese American history:
Honorary Degrees for University of Washington Nikkei Students
On May 18, a sunny Sunday afternoon in Seattle, Japanese Americans who had been forced from the University of Washington campus in spring 1942 met again on campus to receive honorary degrees. Some 450 Nikkei students had their education at the UW disrupted by the exclusion orders that sent them into detention. In a moving convocation, where Norman Mineta delivered the keynote address, 150 Japanese American former students or family representatives accepted honorary bachelor degrees from UW regents. As Mineta remarked, "It's never too late to do the right thing. It's never too late to rejoice that the right thing has been done."
>> View the Long Journey Home ceremony
>> Read a Seattle Post-Intelligencer article
Roger Shimomura's Minidoka on My Mind
Minidoka on My Mind, a new series of paintings by artist Roger Shimomura, is on display at the Flomenhaft Gallery in New York until June 28. Born in Seattle, Shimomura was detained as a young child at the Minidoka, Idaho, incarceration camp. In his career as an artist and professor of art at the University of Kansas, Shimomura has investigated ethnic identity and persistent racist stereotypes. The artist generously granted permission to Densho to use his 1999 series An American Diary as the basis of an award-winning educational exhibition, In the Shadow of My Country, available on the Densho website.
>> For more information about the Flomenhaft Gallery exhibition
>> View Densho's In the Shadow of My Country educational website
Densho Co-Presents Documentaries at Northwest Film Forum
Seattle's Northwest Film Forum and Densho present two films on the Japanese American incarceration:
Passing Poston (Joe Fox and James Nubile, 2007) screens June 20 - 26, and has a panel discussion on opening night. Passing Poston follows four former detainees who explore their traumatic memories as they return to the Poston incarceration camp, on the grounds of what became the Colorado River Indian Reservation.
Rabbit in the Moon (Emiko and Chizuko Omori, 1999) shows June 21 - 22. The film traces stories of political tensions, social and generational division, and the interplay of resistance and collaboration in the incarceration camps. The Omori sisters confront their own family history as well as the collective quiet among Japanese Americans about insecurities that still haunt their community life.
>> For tickets and information