Call To Action: STOP The Fence At Tule Lake

Over the last year, the Federal Aviation Administration has moved closer to building a fence to protect the airstrip at the site of the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument that would destroy the historic character of the site.

The Tule Lake Committee has launched a petition campaign to STOP The Fence At Tule Lake on Change.org and on Facebook.

Barbara Takei of the Tule Lake Committee writes:

The FAA proposes to construct a eight foot high, 16,000 foot long fence to close off the Tule Lake site, to protect the airstrip built on the campsite firebreak road. A “STOP the Fence at Tule Lake” Facebook campaign is being generated by Frank Abe and Lorna Fong; they’ve also started a petition on Change.org to let the chief of the FAA, Michael Huerta, of the opposition to the FAA’s fence proposal.

We need your help. For those of you who use Facebook, please SHARE it with your Facebook friends and urge them to sign the petition at https://www.facebook.com/StopTheFence.

If you don’t use Facebook, please forward the petition on to others in your address book; we want to generate a big response to let the director of the FAA, Michael Huerta, know how important this issue is to Japanese Americans and others who don’t want the history of Japanese Americans to be fenced off and destroyed.

Thanks for your help on this critically important issue.

The following statement by the Manzanar Committee was issued on June 2, 2012 (but not published on our blog until July 6, 2012). It is being re-published to provide background, as well as to reiterate our position on the issue.


A view down one of the streets of the Tule Lake
concentration camp,
November 3, 1942.
Photo: Francis Stewart
Photo courtesy Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

LOS ANGELES — On June 2, the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee announced its opposition to a proposed perimeter fence at the Tulelake Municipal Airport, operated by the County of Modoc.

The proposed fence would enclose the perimeter of the airport, which was part of the Tule Lake Segregation Center during World War II.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) documents, “…the purpose of this fence is to minimize the potential for aircraft-wildlife strikes (primarily deer), and minimize the potential for pedestrians and vehicles to inadvertently encroach on the airport’s runway (pedestrian-vehicle deviations).” Read more of this post

National JACL Board Reaffirms “American Concentration Camp”


Photo: Power Of Words II Committee/JACL
(click image above to view/print)

by Mako Nakagawa and Andy Noguchi

We welcome and congratulate the National Japanese American Citizens League Board, under intense community interest, as it reaffirmed the three National JACL Council votes to fully implement the recommended terms American concentration camp, incarceration camp, and illegal detention center. By doing so, it rejected suggestions from some national JACL leaders to drop American concentration camp in order to form a coalition with the American Jewish Committee and others who have lobbied against the JACL using the term.

The National JACL Board, chaired by JACL President David Lin, and composed of 15 members, addressed this controversy on Saturday, February 23, at its quarterly meeting in San Francisco. Craig Tomiyoshi, Vice President of Public Affairs, presented the JACL Board position of fully implementing the National Council policy.

Northen Calfornia-Western Nevada-Pacific JACL Governor David Unruhe also shared a strong resolution from his District urging no omission of terms. Andy Noguchi, NCWNP JACL District Civil Rights Co-Chair, represented the concerns of Power of Words advocates.

Read more of this post

Cast in Bronze: Terminology Symposium in San Francisco, October 22, 2011

By Soji Kashiwagi

The main reason for holding a day-long symposium on terminology and the use of U.S. government euphemisms during World War II was not, according to event organizers, to take on the role of the “word police” and tell members of the Japanese American community what they should or should not say regarding what happened some 69 years ago.

In fact, Mako Nakagawa, the Seattle-based author of the Power of Words Resolution which was passed by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) National Council in 2010, said that those who lived through the experience “…have earned the right to call it whatever they want.”

Instead, the event’s focus turned toward educating those in public institutions and museums who cast words in bronze that, as Lane Hirabayashi describes, “…are not strictly or historically accurate like ‘internment,’ or ‘relocation,’ on plaques, memorials, exhibits, and installations in Interpretive Learning Centers.” Read more of this post

Deporting “Troublemakers” Redux

Barbara Takei (left), shown here with Manzanar Committee member Joyce Okazaki (center), and Mako Nakagawa (right), during the
2011 Manzanar At Dusk program on April 28, 2011, at
Lone Pine High School in Lone Pine, California.
Photo: James To

Editor’s Note: Like Soji Kashiwagi, Tule Lake Committee leader Barbara Takei recently shared her thoughts on the National Defense Authorization Act that was recently signed by President Obama, more specifically, two companion bills. Her commentary piece is published here with permission.


Time of Remembrance observances are coming up in another few weeks, a good time to do something to assure, “never again.”

This year, in the context of the National Defense Authorization Act that provides for indefinite military detention of the accused, we need to be more vigilant than ever, especially with two companion pieces of legislation introduced this session of Congress. The two bills, S. 1698 and HR 3166, resurrect the spectre of the little-known government denationalization and deportation program that the Department of Justice used to strip nearly 6,000 Americans of their U.S. citizenship while they were imprisoned at the Tule Lake concentration camp during World War II. Read more of this post