Public Comment Is Critical For Tule Lake General Management Plan

The following is an announcement from the National Park Service.

Dear Friends,

It is with great pleasure that the National Park Service offers to you for review and comment the General Management Plan and Environmental Assessment (GMP/EA) for the Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The plan provides long-term guidance for how the National Park Service will develop and manage the unit, and how the stories of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II will be told at Tule Lake.

The National Park Service will hold 13 public workshops at locations in California, Oregon, Washington, New York, and online (information provided below). This is an opportunity to talk with National Park Service staff working on the Tule Lake Unit and discuss the plan. These meetings represent the “public review” stage for the plan. Anyone interested in attending is welcome.

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Proposed Solar Ranch Near Manzanar: Another Threat To Japanese American Historic Sites

Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey
spoke out against LADWP’s proposed
solar farm near Manzanar at a
meeting in Downtown Los Angeles
on November 16, 2013.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: Ellen Endo/Manzanar Committee

by Bruce Embrey

LOS ANGELES — After decades of annual Pilgrimages, lobbying and finally, an act of Congress, the Manzanar National Historic Site was created in 1992. The first of ten War Relocation Authority concentration camps built to incarcerate more than 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, Manzanar became the first site of conscience that tells the story of this shameful chapter of American History.

But not even ten years after the grand opening of the visitor’s center at Manzanar National Historic Site in 2004, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) wants to build a 1,200-acre, 200-megawatt industrial solar facility within a stones throw of Manzanar. This industrial energy plant is widely opposed by many in Owens Valley, including the Big Pine Paiute Tribe, the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, the Owens Valley Committee, and other concerned organizations, individuals and businesses. All have called for LADWP not to build the power plant next to the Manzanar NHS.

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So Far, So Good For National Park Service Staff At Tule Lake

One of the small group discussions during a public meeting on July 24, 2013, in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, where the National Park Service solicited community feedback regarding the development of the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor In The Pacific National Monument. NPS staff member Anna Tamura, who is featured in this story, is shown here, top left.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — Being part of the Manzanar Committee, and having served on the Manzanar National Historic Site Advisory Commission from 1994-2002, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with most of the National Park Service (NPS) employees who have served on staff at Manzanar since it became a unit of the NPS back in 1992.

Since that time, something I’ve said over and over is that the general public, the people of the Owens Valley, and in particular, the Japanese American community, have been extremely fortunate to have such amazing, dedicated, quality people working at Manzanar.

On July 24, I had the opportunity to meet some of the NPS staff working at the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor In The Pacific National Monument, including Superintendent Mike Reynolds, and Anna Tamura, Planning Lead for the Tule Lake Unit, Pacific West Region, who is working to develop the General Management Plan (GMP) for Tule Lake (see National Park Service Is “At The Ground Floor” In Planning For Tule Lake).

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Playwright and Activist Hiroshi Kashiwagi Decries “Another Fence At Tule Lake”

The following letter to the editor by playwright/poet and former Tule Lake incarceree Hiroshi Kashiwagi was submitted to the Herald and News, the daily newspaper in Klamath Falls, California, not far from the site of the former Tule Lake Segregation Center, in response to their story on the controversy about the proposed perimeter fence that would enclose the airstrip at the site (story linked below). It is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

Hiroshi and Sadako Kashiwagi.
Photo: Kashiwagi Family Collection

by Hiroshi Kashiwagi

I am the playwright/poet Hiroshi Kashiwagi. I am also a Tule Lake survivor, a No-No Boy and a renunciant—a recovered American.

It seems like we’ve lived with a fence all our lives, beginning at Arboga Prison, and then at Tule Lake Concentration Camp. I mean a barbed wire fence with guard towers and search lights at night, and sentries with guns that could explode in our faces.

Then, after we were released from Tule Lake, there was a symbolic fence, an imaginary one, to ward off the disdain and contempt of those in our own community toward us because we were confined at Tule Lake Segregation Center as “disloyals” and “troublemakers.”

Now, yet another fence at Tule Lake. This time a real one to cut off access to the camp site, the source of our painful memory, a sacred place we return to again and again for remembrance, for solace, for healing.

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