This text, along with slides were projected as an artist talk/performance at the White Museum in Banff, Canada. The only documentation is on old tapes, but here is the text of the project. It juxtaposes the Japanese American Internment and Canada's Ukrainian work camps that built the roads in the Western Mountains.
Tough Terrain Performance Text
KAREN ATKINSON & SOPHIA ISAJIW
• = slide changes
Karen: We would like to invite you to take a journey. A journey of an evening's work. There will be no guarantee that this travel, this travail, will be smooth. It involves a passage from one place to another, from one time to another, from one country to another, opening into a particular yet unspecified destination of your choosing.
Sophia: We will take you on a tour, or rather, a circuitous course over tough terrain to some historic sites. A pleasure trip that requires an open mind. This journey will be an uneasy crossing. To acknowledge dislocation, relocation, pain, injustice, shame and triumph. This memory trail will leave you standing at the summit of recognition and personal choice.
• (text image) WELCOME TO CAMP [put on mountie hats]
Karen: ONE .
• (text image) World War I, Wednesday July 14, 1915: Ukrainian Internment Camp.
Sophia: Welcome to the Banff/Castle Mountain internment camp.
Karen: Or Jasper, Lethbridge, Kapuskasing [Ka pus ka sing], Petawawa, Kingston, Spirit Lake, Brandon, Vernon, Nanaimo [Na ni mo], etc., etc., etc.
Sophia: We have taken you from your homes, your friends and your livelihood for your own safety and protection. Originally a wet area of land beyond the Silver City mines, your new home here in the rugged mountains of Banff National Park, is a tent city constructed in just a few days.
• (text image) World War II, 1942, Japanese Internment Camp.
Karen: Welcome to Manzanar...
Sophia: ...or Gila [hila], Posten, Granada, Heart Mountain, Jerome, Minidoka, Rohwer, Topaz, Tule Lake.
Karen: We have taken you from your homes, your friends and your livelihood for your own safety and protection. Originally only a dot on the map, your new home here in the rugged eastern Sierra (or large vacant desert) is a full grown city, constructed in just six weeks.
• (image) Population Sign 10,000
Sophia: World War I
• (image) tents and sentinel slide
This is an unusual military camp. There are armed guards whom you may know from your home town in Canada. The barbed wire fence enclosing your tents will keep out the wildlife and keep you from getting to town, which is a full day's journey by horse and carriage along a rough carriage road.
• (image) tent slide
We hope these new living arrangements are more suitable to you than the family homesteads, mining camps, railroad camps or unemployed living conditions you were rescued from. You are enemy aliens, by virtue of your citizenship, not your ethnicity, but your ethnicity is equally suspect. You are undesirable in this fair country in this time of war.
World War II
• (image) camp from guard tower
Karen: This is an unusual city. There are armed guards on towers with machine guns and searchlights to protect you from any harm. The barbed wire will keep out any undesirables, and there are rows and rows of barracks for your new living arrangements. •football slide
This is an American city, populated by American citizens, and we want you to be comfortable.
Sophia: World War I
• (image) men carrying logs
There are no visiting hours, and you are not free to roam the beautiful trails and mountain paths that enclose you. You will labor every day to build auto roads for Park tourism, clear the railway right of way, and perform all other manual labor as deemed necessary. Your room and board will be deducted from your 25 cent hourly wage, we know, we know, most of you are used to $2.50, but these are war times after all. You will see this money upon leaving the camps at the end of your internment.
Karen: If at all.
World War II
• (image) camps and gate in snow
Karen: Although there are no visiting hours, and you are not free to roam outside the city limits without being guarded, you are free to visit your neighbors. Though only 82 of you volunteered to come here, I think that you will find your new city to your liking.
Sophia: World War I
• (image) men walking in line from train
You will proceed from this military CP Rail train through the woods to the camp,
• (image) men, gate & whitewashed stones
following the whitewashed stones that mark the pathway, accompanied by armed guard.
World War II
• (image) line up outside barrack
Karen: You will now proceed off the military bus accompanied by the armed guards. Some of your relatives will arrive by car in a caravan also under guard, and some by train. You will be escorted to the information facility where we will provide you with a slide lecture to tell you more about the area.
(take off hats)
[look at each other] Hey , if we’re here for our protection,
Karen: why are all the guns pointing in instead of out?
• (text image) George & Rebecca, A Personal Story
• (image) Rebecca slide
Karen: Rebecca Olga was the eighth child of ten born to Lars Peter and Minnie Christensen. Because her mother was in bed with a torn uterus, her oldest sister named her Rebecca. She was reading Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms as the story goes, and that is how Rebecca got her name.
When she was nine years old her mother and sister died in the 1918 flu epidemic. Her father died 6 years later in 1924. The ten children then raised themselves.
After graduating from High School in 1928, Rebecca went to Fresno State Teachers College and earned her teaching certificate in June 1933. It was here that she met •(slide of annual) George Domoto, a football star.
Although mixed relationships and marriages were often treated with contempt, their love for each other was so strong that they made plans to get married anyway.
• (image) snow photo
Intermarriage was illegal at the time in the United States. According to my grandfather's neighbor, George Abe, they were planning to get married in Mexico and then move to Hawaii where they thought they would be better accepted and could get jobs. I am sure that economics prevented this, for they never moved there.
• (image) car photo w/ man
They eloped to Tijuana, Mexico and were married February 3, 1934. When they returned, they settled in Sanger, California in the Central Valley. They did not tell anyone of their marriage for a long time.
• (text image) Not Even Their Family
Somehow the local newspaper found out, and made a big "ta-do" about it in the papers. It might have been on the front page, or on the sports page
• (text image) Probably not the social section
because George had been a big football star in college.
Sophia: [whisper] Of course no one saved the article.
At the time it was a big scandal. Most of Rebecca's brothers and sisters found out about their marriage from reading the newspaper. Her brother John was told by his neighbor George Abe.
Sophia: You can imagine, it didn't go over well.
• (image) car photo with woman
Karen: Rebecca and George took a risk in challenging the codes of their day. They were among the very first to intermarry in the area.
Sophia: There was knowledge of mixed marriages, but not around their neighborhood.
• (text image) ....and that was just the beginning
• (text image) 1995
(mountie hats back on)
Sophia: Now that you're all comfortably seated, we will go into a little history. We will show a short film produced by the National Film Board of Canada and CNN. It is one of their first collaborative efforts.
[hats off, change to NFB hats]
• (text image) Film Rolling
Sophia: NFB Voices
• (image) internment guy standing
During W.W.I., the Canadian Government used the War Measures Act for the first time to declare over 80,000 people, living within its borders, to be "enemy aliens". These were the people who had immigrated to Canada from countries that were at war with Britain and Canada. They had to register, periodically report to the police, reveal all their activities and whereabouts, refrain from all travel outside the country and prove their employment. Failure to do so made them liable to arrest and
• (image) line of men in open of Castle camp
incarceration in one of 24 internment camps set up across Canada.
Karen: By early 1915, it was agreed that Canada's first national park would soon become the site of Canada's first internment camp.
• (image) slide of internment guy #5691
Sophia: When Great Britain entered the First World War, the Government of Canada, for the first time in its history, invoked the War Measures Act and issued an order which required all persons coming from countries at war with Britain be registered with the authorities and regularly report to the police. Since most Ukrainians came to Canada from Austria-Hungary, at war with Britain, they suddenly found themselves labeled and treated as "enemies", subject to arrest and internment. Over 80,000 persons, most of them of Ukrainian origin, were registered as "enemy aliens" and had to report to local authorities on a regular basis. As "enemy aliens", they were deemed to pose a threat to the internal security of Canada.
• (image) guards at Cave & Basin
Karen: The official reason for internment was fear of the possibility that these people may engage in spying or other subversive activities, or that they may return home to join the army against the Allies. Not a single instance of hostile involvement, spying or sabotage by the immigrants was ever discovered and not a single charge was ever laid. The real reason to send them to camps was economic. 1913 saw a period of economic recession. Many unemployed roamed the streets looking for work. Most of those interned at that time were young men who immigrated to Canada in search of a better life, but were unable to find jobs. Some had families.
• (text image) 10,000 Ukrainians volunteered to serve in Canada's armed forces in WWI
Many municipalities felt it was a burden on them to support these unemployed or to provide them with food.
• (image) internees sitting in snow
Sophia: Immigrants were arrested and sent for internment in many ways. The police would arrest the immigrant men as they marched down the streets of Winnipeg, hungry and shouting "work or bread". They would arrest and intern a large group marching toward the United States border to find work there. In many instances, they would arrest them at their homes or on the job in mines if they argued with other workers. These immigrants became a ready-made scapegoat for the economic problems of the country and in a number of cases the Canadian-born workers pushed the immigrants out of their jobs, by having the police arrest them as "enemy aliens".
The following is a selection from a CNN Special Report produced in the states:
[NFB hats off]
[Karen puts on CNN baseball cap ]
• (image) headlines from newspaper
Karen: World War II. On March 31, 1942, a number of broadsides appeared on notice boards in certain communities on the western seaboard of the United States. They bore the ominous title: “Civilian exclusion Order.” These bulletins warned all residents of Japanese descent that they were going to have to move out of their homes. No mention was made of where they would have to go. Heads of families were directed to report for instructions at neighboring “control stations”.
• (image) family on steps in camp
About 125,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were scattered along the coastal states at that time. Seven out of ten of them had been born there, and so were full-fledged citizens of the United States. Yet, no distinction between alien and native was made among those summoned to control stations.
Each person who responded to a summons to the Civil Control Station had to register the names of all family members and was told to show up at a certain time and place, a few days later. All of them were allowed to bring only the baggage they could carry by hand for a trip to an unknown destination. Names had become numbers. Each family was given a number, numbered tags to put on their luggage, and one to hang on their coat lapels.
• (image) Relocation Center
Sophia: "Henry went to the control station to register our family. He came home with twenty tags, all number 10710, tags to be attached to each piece of baggage, and one to hang from our coat lapels. From then on, we were known as family number 10710. I lost my identity. I lost my privacy and dignity."
• (image) Family in camp
Karen: Most families were given between 3 and 7 days to dispose of or figure out what to do with all of their possessions. Their farms, cars, crops, businesses, homes and all other property. Many sold what they had for small sums, others left it entrusted to neighbors or others.
Sophia: "It was difficult to describe the feeling of despair and humiliation experienced by all of us as we watched the Caucasians coming to look over our possessions and offering such nominal amounts, knowing we had no recourse but to accept whatever they were offering because we did not know what the future held for us."
• (image) Man reading and woman in camp quarters (staged)
Karen: One woman, with three day's time to make a decision, sold a twenty-six room hotel for $500.
Sophia: "I had just bought a set of new tires and a new battery for my pickup for $125. That's the amount I was asking from prospective buyers. A man bought our pickup for $25."
Karen: One homeowner, in despair, wanted to burn his house down.
Sophia: "I went to the storage shed to get the gasoline tank and pour the gasoline on my house, but my wife said, Don't do it, maybe somebody can use this house; we are civilized people, not savages."
• (image) chickens in camp
Karen: The farmers had to clear out in a matter of days. The Mother's Day crop of flowers, the richest harvest of the year, was about to be gathered; it had to be abandoned. An owner of one of the largest nurseries in southern California, unable to dispose of his stock, gave it all to the veteran's hospital adjoining his land.
Sophia: "My neighbor was denied a deferral for a few days in order to harvest his crop. He bitterly plowed it under. The next day the FBI charged him with an act of sabotage and put him in jail."
• (text image) There are many such stories.
Karen: Assured by authorities that they could store property and reclaim it after the war, many put their chattels in impromptu warehouses, homes and garages and outbuildings only to have the stored goods vandalized or stolen before long. Others lost land to those who had agreed to lease it, or had their cars sold by the Federal Reserve Bank after they were assured they would be stored.
[Karen’s hat off]
• (text image) End/Fin
[mounty hat on Sophia]
Sophia: We hope you enjoyed the film. We will now take a short intermission and return later to the topic of your stay here.
[ both hats off]
• (text image) Last to Leave or "a little wiser you know"
[be real down to earth conversational] in tone
So, Rebecca and George Domoto already lived the trauma of racial prejudice from their families and society at large, but it must have felt the most acute during World War II. They were included in the evacuation and internment of 125,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry on the Pacific Coast.
• (image) car with baggage
Sophia: This action was opposed by the Navy and the FBI, BUT received the approval of all the higher departments of government. The President issued the necessary executive order No. 9066 on February 19, 1942. Congress approved, and the Supreme Court, bowing to the Army's argument of necessity, validated the removal of Japanese Americans.
Karen: Somehow the Domoto family escaped these Assembly Centers. They were some of the last ones to evacuate. Those west of Highway 99 were sent first, and those east were sent later. Rebecca was not required to go, but volunteered to go with her husband George and his family.
• (text image) one of 219 volunteers in the country
Since the Domoto's were the last to leave, they had already heard what it was like from people already in the camps. They were boarding in Sanger, and with two or three of the family members, and a few other families as well
Sophia: and with George's knowledge of the fruit shipping business
Karen: they decided to rent a freight car on a train and ship their belongings to the camp.
• (text image) Yoshi Domoto
Sophia: "Rebecca had a decent washing machine and we took a refrigerator and some odds and ends. We all used that washing machine. We had it on the outside of the barracks and we washed there, and we had a couple of refrigerators that we managed to get in. We thought for sure they were going to take them away from us, but they didn't. We had a little more time than most people, and we got a little wiser, you know."
• (text image) Japanese Intern Camps list
• (text image) Welcome to Camp
[wardens hats back on]
Now, a little bit more about your new home.
• (text image) W.W.I
Sophia: 8,579 of you are men, 81 are women and 156 are children. Of the men, 5,954 are loosely labeled "Austrian" but most of you are Ukrainian.
• (image) castle mtn and camp
24 camps for prisoners of war, plus prisoner-receiving stations, have been established across Canada . Of you men, only 3,138 are persons classified as bonafide prisoners of war, the rest - 5,441 - are civilians. Amongst you are: Croats, Serbs, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Poles, Rumanians, Jews and others, but the vast majority, about 5,000 by estimate, are Ukrainian.
• (image) map of ukrainian camp
Your living quarters here consist of 26 bell tents •tent slide (camp)
for spring and summer use, including a mess tent, and 4 barracks housing 100 men each at the Cave and Basin site here in the bitter cold of winter.
• (image) Winter Barracks Cave
Weather conditions in the Rockies are unpredictable. In winter you will be working in temperatures of 55-60° Celsius below freezing. In the summer the temperatures are often quite lovely.
• (text image) W.W.II
Now, a little bit more about your new home. Half of you are women, and one quarter are school aged children. There will be schools for the children.
• (image) school children
Your living quarters here consist of 504 barracks. Each family of four will be allowed a large space of 20 x 24 feet. Comfortable beds which are steel-framed army cots and straw mattresses are provided.
• (image) barracks map
You will also have electricity. Privacy will be provided if you hang your sheets across the narrow room as a divider.
• (image) map of japanese camp
There are communal mess halls and laundry facilities.
• (image) winter barracks
Now, a little about the weather. In the late spring the temperatures in the valley drop to freezing. In the summer the temperatures often rise above 110 degrees fahrenheight.
• (text image) W.W.I
Sophia: Later there will be two ways to leave this camp.
• [walking out of camp stockade]
One will be to be paroled or discharged into any of the local mining industries in this area (as your contribution to the war effort), or to the Canadian Pacific Railroad or an individual farmer. Some of you will stay in camps long after the war is over. All of you, under the War Elections Act of 1917, will be disenfranchised after leaving these camps for a period of 2 years, just in case you decide to vote in a Liberal government as a result of your treatment in these camps which have been provided for you by the Conservative Borden government.
• (text image) W.W.II
Karen: Later there will be two ways to leave this camp. One will be to join the armed forces, but you may find yourself buried in a foreign land if you take that trip.
• (image) women by open car door
Karen: Or you may leave in order to practice your skills and professions as a contribution to the war effort, most probably in the east where you will be safer.
• (text image) Citizens or "the only difference being"
• (text image) "I admit I cannot say these men are a menace to the state" Royal NWMP Com. AB Perry.
Karen: ..."Well, the people just couldn't believe it. I found it hard to believe that they put a relocation center in Manzanar. But I figured they had to put it somewhere.
• (text image) slide Al Aigner, 1976
I don't know why they put the Japanese in there because they're all Americans. I just don't understand that."
[Sophia: put internee hat on] light Ukranian accent...
• (text image) slide Jacob Kondro of Dalmuir, Alberta to E.A. Cruikshank
Sophia: Dear Brigadier General E.A. Cruikshank,I do not understand why my 17 yr. old son and I are being imprisoned as traitors. I am a naturalized citizen and have been a resident of Canada for 8 yrs. "I do not think that Canada would take her own people and put them in an internment camp...Please let my son go." (tazh ya tseho zovsim ne rozymiu. Chomy vone tse nam robliat? Shto mi yim zrobili?)
[Sophia: take internee hat off]
• (text image) Dorothy Cragen
Karen: "I'd like to say that as an American, I was very much opposed to the Japanese being placed in a camp. This is probably due to the fact that I had a feeling that if they could do this to the children of Japanese Americans, then they could do the same thing to me."
[Sophia, officer cap on]
• (text image) slide Gen. W.D. Otter, 26 June 1916
Sophia: Dear W. Ridgway Wilson,
Upon looking up the records of these men, I find that the only reason given for their internment was being destitute, a cause in itself which is not sufficient for their arrest, and one can only assume that municipalities have been quietly getting rid of their unfortunate at our expense...
• (image) German prisoner in barrel
Why such men were sent to working camps I cannot imagine or understand."
[Sophia, officer cap off]
• (text image) Camp Life or "home sweet home"
• (image) Map of Gila Camp
Karen: Gila Center is an Indian Reservation of more than 15,000 acres. It is a genuine desert, no grasses grow. According to official records, Rebecca and George arrived at Canal Camp on August 7, 1942.
• (text image) family # 40883
Each family was given a number. Theirs was 40883.
• (image) Castle Mtn. camp
Sophia: "These men must be employed in remote portions of the Park where they will not come in contact with the population of this province......to give them work and supply them with food and clothing much better than that which can be obtained by our own people would be monstrous."
R.B. Bennett, Calgary lawyer and member of the Conservative Borden Gov't.
• (image) Gila Camp photo
Karen: Rebecca and George were not allowed to have a camera in the camp. A few photos of their family in the camp were taken illegally by friends of theirs who were in the military and who had come to visit. They all complained about the food and the treatment and everything else, but they got along fine with everyone.
• (text image) Privates Hotchkiss and Short
[put officer hats on]
Sophia: The Banff garrison at the Cave and Basin was as demoralized as the internees. The guards not only put in long days and marched with the men 12 miles to and from work detail sites, but their quarters were even more congested than those of the prisoners and they lacked a canteen and recreation room. They were held personally accountable for the prisoners at worksites. They came to resent the stressful work and demands placed upon them. Nearly 1/4 of them volunteered for overseas service.
• (image) prisoners and guards having a snowball fight
Private John Grindlay, 31, died of complications brought on by influenza in February of 1916. He lay delirious in his bunk for a week before being taken in an open ambulance to the local hospital. • [snowball fight] Private J.H. Brearly, calmly walked into the bush and sliced open his throat with a razor in May of 1916.
• (image) snowball fight]
His body was discovered only after his wife reported him missing.
[take officer hats off]
• (image) Camp photo/teacher
Karen: Since Rebecca was Caucasian, she got regular wages and didn't have to work for $19 a month like George. She got a teaching job in the camp elementary school, he taught Physical Education. George and Rebecca were in the camps about 9 months.
• (image) Ice Palace slide
Sophia: Banff Crag and Canyon, February 3, 1917
"The extreme cold weather the first few days of this week caused a temporary cessation of out-of-doors work in preparation for the winter carnival. A gang of aliens had been employed in the ice palace construction, but it was decided that it would be inhuman to ask the men to turn out Monday morning so they were left in the compound and the work came to a temporary stop.
• (image) Gila camp slide
Karen: In Gila, where the summer temperature reaches 130° F, the sun beating down on paper-thin roofs turned living quarters into sizzling ovens, sometimes causing the floors to melt. The rough-hewn wooden barracks had been speedily hammered together, providing only the minimum of protection from the elements. Though lined on the inside with plasterboard and almost totally wrapped with an overlay of tarpaper, they afforded poor protection from the freezing winter weather as well.
• (image) hot springs slide
Sophia: In some cases, several internees were local, recently unemployed immigrants who had just been released from their mining jobs. Ironically, their guards were also recruited from the local unemployed - the only difference being their nationality. 20 Banff citizens and 20 Calgary citizens joined as guards in "home defense". For this, they received a regular soldiers pay of $1.10 per day.
• (image) Manzanar slide
Karen: The spectacle of guard towers and gun-toting sentries in the middle of a vast primitive expanse of nothingness must have come as a rude shock, especially to Japanese-American so called evacuees who had been assured in the assembly centers that the relocation centers were to be resettlement communities, not prison camps, and the "evacuees" would be free to go to the neighboring villages to shop. It was not so according to Rebecca and George.
• (image) Cave and Basin camp
Sophia: Banff Crag and Canyon, December 23, 1916
“A number of the interns took advantage of Brig. General Cruikshank’s inspection at Banff to complain that the guards were ungentle in handling the prisoners.
• (text image) The majority of the foreign scum should be ‘gentled’ with a pickax handle.”
• (text image) Labor, or "the marvels you can do"
[put construction hats on]
• (text image) Hague Conventions dictate that: "Prisoners of war must be given the same scale and quality of rations as the troops of the Government which captured them."
[General 's voice, slowly thinking...]
Karen: "You know, the marvels you can do if you just have the labor". "What we had is what's needed in the world today - we had slaves."
Sophia: Canadian Col. J. Anderson-Wilson in a 1973 interview
• (text image) It was difficult to keep food fresh and to keep it from spoiling. Internees later told stories of worms in the butter (maggots), and of having to eat frozen meat in winter.
Internment camps were designed as labor camps. Canadian Order in Council #301, Nov. 6, 1914, defined its duties this way:
"(a) To make such provision as may be necessary for the maintenance of aliens of enemy nationality interned as prisoners of war, and to require such prisoners to do and perform such work as may be prescribed."
• (text image) 107 internees died in the camps
• (image) dead man on stretcher
• (text image) 1914.
Karen: The inevitability of the automobile age was obvious to Parks Commissioner James "B. for Bunnie" Harkin. As the author of the North American bible for the creation of national parks, Harkin was destined to turn railroad parks into automobile parks.
• (image) "Resorts in the Rockies"
Karen: He compared selling scenery with selling other Canadian natural resources. In his calculations, mountain scenery was worth $13.88 an acre, whereas wheat land was only worth $4.91. And scenery could be sold again and again. Harkin knew that to sell scenery Canada would have to build good roads into and through the parks.
• (text image) Local politicians asked for national parks to be built in their constituencies, as long as costs were born by Ottawa. A politician responsible for creating a park that middle-class Canadian tourists had enjoyed would be favored, and those memories might translate into votes come election time.
[pause to read]
• (image) Marching into woods slide
Sophia: It was Parks authorities' plan to have the interned aliens complete the motor road from Banff to Lake Louise (now the Bow Valley Pkwy) and to construct a new road around the foot of Lake Louise to the base of the glacier. •[Internees working on road slide]
By August 1915, 4 miles of road had been cleared and grubbed using only picks, shovels and wheelbarrows. In addition, internees cut down trees on either side of the railroad tracks to create a railroad "right of way" that prevented sparks flying from the train igniting forest fires.
• (image) The Challenge of the Rockies postcard
At the winter Cave and Basin site, internees busily engaged in a number of improvement projects in and around the Banff town site: brushing the buffalo paddock so that visitors on the train could see the buffalo, herding moose to other pastures, clearing the recreation grounds, working at the woodpile and rock crusher, cutting new roads, repairing sidewalks and building a bridge over the Spray River, building an ice palace and toboggan slide for Banff's first Winter Carnival, extending the links on the golf course to 18 holes.
• (image) golf course
Banff residents were naturally pleased and looked forward to the rumored arrival of several 100 more men from nearby camps as supplying and provisioning the aliens and their guards was expected to be a great boon to local businesses.
• (image) Canadian Rockies postcard
Karen: Banff Crag and Canyon, June 19, 1915
"The military authorities are arranging the question of supplies for this camp, while the Parks Department is looking after housing and tools. Banff people are expected to benefit very much, financially, by the arrangement"
• (text image) "Conditions here are very poor..."
Sophia: Endorsing the plan in the Crag & Canyon, local businesses stood to profit from provisioning the camp. The paper, at the same time, reminded the public that these men were
Karen: "enemies of our country"
Sophia: and that camp authorities should
Karen: "make them work good and hard, with long hours, and guard them well."
Sophia: Banff Crag & Canyon. June 12, 1915.
Karen: However, by November 13, 1916 conditions for Canadian boys at the front in Europe worsened and Calgary seemed to be benefiting from the camps more than Banff. Town sentiments began to turn against the internees.
• (image) Contemporary mountain slide
Sophia: Banff Crag and Canyon, Nov. 13, 1916
The camp this winter will not be nearly so large as that of last winter, the number of aliens at present not exceeding 250, while the guards will number some 120 men. As the town does not derive any pecuniary benefit from the interns - the Calgary Conservative association has a stronger "pull" than the local faithful followers, and so Calgary dealers secure the contracts for camp supplies - their diminished number will not be greatly deplored, especially as the majority of our citizens are of the opinion that the scenic outlook is not vastly improved by the presence of the slouching, bovine-faced foreigners.
• (image) guy on tractor
Karen: "I was in charge of a gang of Japanese-Americans - about 15 worked for me doing plumbing. I forget what they paid them. They received a very small amount, around $15 a month, or something like that. I got paid regular wages."
Sophia: Donald Brandon, 1976
• (image) agricultural fields
Karen: The Japanese Americans in Gila Camp were recruited for labor to save the massive agricultural disaster facing the nation.
[Karen: take construction hat off, put on fruit hat]
There was no one to pick the crops rotting in the fields. They were quite resistant at first, especially after learning that they would be guarded by Military Police to prevent escapes. They were used to avert an agricultural disaster of national consequence. Volunteers were trucked to the cotton fields to put in long exhausting hours on the burning desert floor. Massive amounts of workers from Mexico were also imported.
[Karen: fruit hat off]
• (image) Japanese American with cabbages
Karen: For their efforts, Japanese Americans received stinging repudiation, not praise, from Arizona farmers. Because Poston and Gila camps represented the 3rd and 4th largest "cities" in Arizona, the state legislature acted swiftly against the possibility of these so called potential spies and saboteurs being heedlessly let loose on rural communities.
• (text image) The Banff "Good Roads Committee" promoted events such as Indian Days and advocated development of the golf course and recreation grounds. Groceries were not sold in Park campgrounds, so that campers had to come into Banff to buy.
[pause to read]
Sophia: The Brewsters made their millions on the roads of Canada's western national parks.
[Sophia: take construction hat off]
[both put ladies' hats on]
[turn stands toward each other]
• (image) Craig & Canyon article slide
Banff Crag and Canyon, September 2, 1916:
"Of the many beautiful motor trails radiating out from Banff, the one par excellence is that leading to the internment camp at Castle Mountain, and the person who makes the trip with Dr. Harry Brett misses none of the delights of the trail. The road winds, twists and turns in a bewildering manner, each turn disclosing some new scenic beauty until the brain grows dizzy in the endeavor to retain an impress of each.
• (image) barren field & Castle Mtn contemporary slide
Karen: ...further along the trail is the internment camp, a veritable white city. the camp is ideally located beneath the shadows of Castle mountain, laid out with all due attention to the laws of hygiene and cleanliness.
• (image) barbed wire slide
Pure water is piped down from a stream up the side of Castle mountain and every attention is given to the health and well-being of the inmates of the camp.
• (image) contemporary mountain slide
Sophia: The officers from Commandant Major Spence down to the non-coms have a true conception of the meaning of the word hospitality, which they dispense with lavish hands, and a dinner in the officers mess tent leaves nothing to be desired by the most fastidious Epicurean.
Karen: To reach the very limit of enjoyment, the night should be spent at the camp, if one is
• [five officers slide] [Sophia: oh!]
Karen: fortunate enough to receive an invitation from the officers. The evening can be most pleasantly spent in watching the fantastic shadows which play over the heights of Castle mountain.
Sophia: A substantial breakfast in the officers mess, [Karen: oh!] followed by the run to Banff in the fresh, cool air of the morning makes one think that this old world is a mighty pleasant place to live in.
[smiles to audience, pause] then hats off
• (text image) Escapes or "on the verge"
[officers hats on]
Sophia: The Banff/Castle Mt. camp was the laughing stock of internment operations.
In 1915, six months into operation, 29 men escaped and only 3 were recaptured. In total, 68 escaped, 24 were recaptured.
• (text image) "Conditions are not just what they should be at the camp." Crag & Canyon, 21 August 1915
The first successful escape happened within 1 week of the camp's opening, when Joseph Jelinick went missing while collecting firewood. 8 others slipped away in one week in August: 4 from the Spray Bridge construction site, 3 during a severe nighttime storm, and one in the swirl of smoke from burning garbage.
• (image) Indian Days
Karen: Mike Pendziwiater [penze-vee-otter] (prisoner #505): Was on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the winter of 1916. While on sanitary detail one morning, he went missing and then turned himself in a few hours later. The following week he walked away again - this time under a hail of bullets - and returned to the compound in the early evening.
• (text image) General Otter
Sophia: The guards lack experience, the prisoners are being punished by being hung from their wrists, and the commandant is "apparently at odds with everyone, prisoners, troops and civilians." Gen. Otter, Private diary August 24, 1915
[officer hats off]
The Wars End
Sophia: The Camps Close
• Camp with carriage
Sophia: The first World War ended in November: at that time twenty-two hundred prisoners were left in 4 camps in Canada. The majority were German, although less than 500 were Austrian.
Sophia: In January , internees who were considered "dangerous, hostile or undesirable" would be repatriated, including the sick and insane. Two months later, this process began and by Feb. 1920, over 1,900 men, 60 women and children had been deported.
• (image) Carriage road slide contemporary
Sophia: March: Government of Canada passes an Order-In-Council that allowed former internees to claim all outstanding camp wage earnings, along with any confiscated money and valuables. Very few claims were submitted because of buracratic difficulties, lack of knowledge of the English language and the fear of further contact with government officials. In 1951 it was recommended that the remaining funds be turned over to Consolidated Revenue and the Internment Operations records be destroyed.
• (image) Free Press in camp
Karen: The loyalty of the Japanese Americans to the United States and their uncomplaining patience under the most extreme adversity is truly remarkable. For aliens and citizens alike, just one generation from Japan – despite all of the charges and suspicions against them– there was not one single instance of sabotage or espionage.
• (image) choir slide
Toward the end of the war, when the government prepared to dismantle the camps, most of the inmates were fearful of returning home to face hostility and uncertainty. Goods and homes had been seized, and recovery would take time. Even the President was quite aware of the prospect of trouble. He ordered "Nothing sudden and in not too great quantities."
• (image) Japanese Hunting Licenses
Sophia: Their release from the camps had come about because of a lawsuit that made its way to the Supreme Court charging that the War Relocation Authority had no right to detain a loyal American citizen innocent of all the various allegations the Army had used to justify internment. The battle was won on December 18, 1944. All nine of the Supreme Court Justices agreed that the War Relocation Authority had no right to detain loyal American citizens in the Relocation Centers.
• (image) camp/cars
Karen: This broke the dam. Within forty-eight hours the commanding officer of the Western Defense Command announced that the West Coast mass exclusion orders would be revoked, effective January 2, 1945. The Japanese Americans were free to go home again.
If you were assured employment in some hopefully non-hostile community, and if the excruciatingly slow security clearance came through in time, the evacuee was offered freedom and given a one-way ticket, twenty-five dollars and an admonition to "make yourself inconspicuous". The Japanese American Joint Board established in early 1943 was to pass on each applicant's eligibility for departure which was dependent on a staggering number of considerations. Leaves were conditional and revocable.
• (text image) Legacy (Personal Aftermath)
In Dayton, Ohio, George worked for a battery factory. Rebecca worked at Wright Field which was the Air Service Command. She was primarily in charge of buying and selling supplies.
• (text image) Rebecca & George in Dayton
Sophia: "I don't remember when I first met her there. I know that she had a desk job, and I don't know if she bought, but I know that she supplied. All the Air force depots around the country called in orders for supplies and equipment which came through there. I bought and supplied propellers. I know at one time she did too."
Karen: Life in Dayton was not easy for the Domoto's either. There was a lot of prejudice there too, and while George was working at the battery factory, he had been stabbed one time. It wasn't a horrible wound, but it certainly must have shaped the way they felt."
They came back to California in about 1946.
Sophia: "I remember it was in the spring, because she was working in the victory garden. She was always singing. She would go along hoeing with a cigarette between her fingers singing that line from that song... "I'm just a prisoner of love...."
Karen: Life after the war was not altogether a happy one for Rebecca and George. From all accounts they were happy with each other, but while prejudices gradually grew less harsh, Rebecca's bouts of mental illness have been blamed on her experiences. She and George decided never to have children because they didn't want their children to ever have to experience what they had been through. Having a "mixed" child in those days was very difficult. Rebecca's family slowly came around, but it took a long time. I never met my great uncles family until I interviewed them a few years ago, long after Rebecca and George had died.
• (image) memorial slide
I never got to know my great aunt very well. My mother didn't even know she existed. My mother found out half way through elementary school when her teacher, a friend of her aunt's, got a letter from Rebecca while she was in the internment camps and read the letter aloud at school. When my mother came home to dinner that night, she asked her father who aunt Rebecca was. Well the brown stuff hit the fan at that point, as her father was quite upset that she had married a Japanese man. Even though one of his closest friends next door growing up was Japanese, he drew the line at mixed marriages and the war really fueled his racist attitudes. My mother had a difficult time with her fathers feelings.
In 1993, my mother went in search of the Gila Internment Camp in Arizona. It was well hidden and unmarked, currently located on an Indian Reservation. She found it only by asking an ambulance driver in a small cafe for directions. Park service information did not know where the camp had been located. She found very few remaining pieces of the Japanese American city, but gained a greater understanding about her aunt's life. She later wrote to the park service to let them know where it was, so they could tell others who inquired about it's location. She received a letter admonishing her for trespassing on Indian land.
• (image) Seeing the sights postcard
Sophia: Throughout the war, Commissioner Harkin forever extolled the virtues of the national park system and of how parks would provide much needed sanctuary and salvation after the guns fell silent. Sadly, this vision did not apply to the ainternees. In making the wonders of Banff, Jasper, Yoho, and Mt. Revelstoke more accessible, the internees had known only exhaustion, despair, suffering, fear and desolation. They also learned about the darker side of Canadian life and their place on the margins of society. For several years thereafter, the words from Canadian Tourism ads:
Read the following:
• (text image) These are your mountain parks....Come and enjoy them!
would haunt many immigrants who, despite their wartime treatment, had decided to make Canada their home.
• (image) contemporary mountain
The first time I journeyed to the camp in 1994 to stand at the foot of Castle Mountain, on the edge of that long line of whitewashed stones, and looked up at Castle under a big, blue Alberta sky, I wondered at the deep paradox of being imprisoned between these peaks. These same mountains I have come to know for the pleasure they offer me while hiking their trails and summit peaks.
• (image) ribbon on barbed wire on tree
And I felt sorrow in this place of dislocation I stood on, not so much from a sense of guilt, but from the uneasy feeling that this was how we accomplished all of this here in Canada some 8 decades ago, and it is still largely an untold story, an unacknowledged debt. These men had their lives utterly changed by this mountain culture they knew as home for 2 years, and they too left an indelible mark upon the landscape and the town, even if it was against their will. I made a promise on that site before leaving, that I would tell their story.
• (text image) [And?]
• (image) blank
Silence = Death
In Germany they came first for the communists
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist.
Sophia: Then they came for the Jews,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Karen: Then they came for the Catholics
And I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Sophia: Then they came for me,
And by that time, no one was left to speak up.
Karen: When they didn't allow women to vote,
I didn't speak up because I wasn't a woman.
Sophia: When they told me I could get AIDS,
I didn't worry, because I didn't think a woman could get it.
Karen: When they wanted to move the homeless out of my city,
I didn't speak up, because I had a place to live.
Sophia: And when they came for me,
No one was left to speak up.
Karen: When they said blacks didn't deserve to be treated the same as whites.
I didn't speak up, because I was white.
Sophia: When the Japanese gift shop burned down,
I didn't speak up because I wasn't Japanese.
Karen: When a woman in a wheelchair couldn't use the bus,
I didn't speak up because it didn't affect me.
Sophia: When my boss bragged about beating up on his wife, to keep her in line
I didn't speak up, because I'm a man.
Karen: When I was told that my next door neighbor was abusing his children,
I didn't speak up, because he seemed like such a nice man.
Sophia: When my friend told me she'd been raped,
I didn't speak up because it could never happen to me.
Karen: When Anita Hill was being interrogated by the all white, all male panel for the supreme court hearings,
I didn't speak up, because I couldn't be sure that she was telling the truth.
Sophia: And when they came for me,
No one was left to speak up.
Karen: When they came for the demonstrators for pro choice,
I didn't speak up because I wasn't pregnant.
Sophia: When they came for those who wanted freedom of expression,
I didn't speak up because I didn't have anything to say.
Karen: When they came after all the people with AIDS,
I didn't speak up because I hadn't been tested.
Sophia: When the police pulled over a black man for no reason, while he was driving his car,
I didn't speak up, because it was none of my business.
Karen: When they rounded up all the Latinos in my neighborhood for questioning
I didn't speak up because I wasn't Latino.
Sophia: And when they came for me,
No one was left to speak up.
Karen: When they came after all the gay rights activists,
I didn't speak up because I was straight.
Sophia: When they decided to raise the taxes on the poor,
I didn't speak up, because I had enough money.
Karen: When they voted against unemployment benefits,
I didn't speak up, because I had a job.
Sophia: When my community arts organization lost all it's funding, because a project they funded insulted city officials,
I didn't speak up, because I never went there.
Karen: When the elderly woman next door got evicted, because her social insurance check got lost,
I didn't speak up, because I didn't know her.
Sophia: And when they came for me,
No one was left to speak up.
Karen: When the news media exploited the LA riots for a ratings race,
I didn't speak up, because I always believe the news.
Sophia: When my favorite TV program exploited women and stereotyped blacks,
I didn't speak up, because I didn't see anything wrong with a good joke.
Karen: When Jesse Helms said he doesn't think any govt. should be funding art,
I didn't speak up, because I never got those grants anyway.
Sophia: When President Bush created the gulf war, and Canada joined forces,
I didn't speak up, because I didn't know what was going on in politics anyway.
Karen: When my rent got doubled because the developer wanted to tear down my apartment,
I didn't speak up, because I didn't think I had a chance.
Sophia: When the artist got arrested for displaying, "quote/unquote" explicit material,
I didn't speak up, because I just figured it would turn out all right anyway,
Karen: And when they came for me,
No one was left to speak up.
• thank you slide