Tule Lake is now a National Monument
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Tule Lake Preservation Efforts: A Snapshot
The Tule Lake Segregation Center tells a cautionary tale to Californians and all Americans of how fragile our rights truly are and the need for continuing vigilance to protect our civil liberties and civil rights. Tule Lake’s significance and unique and tragic role in American history is reflected in its National Historic Landmark status (2006) and its National Monument status (2008).
On December 5, 2008, the Tule Lake Segregation Center NHL area and Camp Tule Lake, a former CCC camp, were designated as part of the Tule Lake Unit of the Valor in the Pacific National Monument by Presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act, thanks to advocacy on the part of the NPS, the Conservation Fund and the JACL. The National Park Service appointed David Kruse to serve as Superintendent of the new Tule Lake Unit and will begin budgeting for Tule Lake in 2012.
Monument Dedication: The National Park Service and The Tule Lake Committee presented a dedication ceremony for the Tule Lake Unit of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at the grounds of the Segregation Center NHL during the pilgrimage conducted by The Tule Lake Committee over the Fourth of July weekend in 2009. Over 400 people attended the pilgrimage, including NPS’ Pacific West Regional Director Jon Jarvis (now Director of the NPS), Fish & Wildlife Regional Director of the Pacific Southwest Regional Director Ren Lohoefener, S.F. Japanese Consul General Yasumasa Nagamine, members of the Modoc County Board of Supervisors, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, the Mayor of Tulelake, CA, the National Director of the JACL, and representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Rep. Wally Herger, U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui.
Jail preservation: To assist the Tule Lake N.M. during this crucial transition year, the Tule Lake Committee has worked with the NPS to obtain grant funds to enable work on the new site to progress. In 2009, the Tule Lake Committee was awarded a matching grant from the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program to complete a Historic Structures Report on the stockade jail structure. We are working to raise the matching funds so that the NPS can complete the Report and begin the work to preserve the stockade jail.
Tule Lake/NPS Website: The Tule Lake Committee was awarded a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program to develop a template and add text and content to the National Park Service website for the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Tule Lake Unit. The Tule Lake Committee has identified and gathered materials for the site, including materials concerning incorrect and euphemistic terminology. The website is now live at http://www.nps.gov/tule/index.htm
Save America’s Treasures: The Tule Lake Committee was awarded a prestigious Save America’s Treasures matching grant to rehabilitate a historic Carpenter’s Shop used during the operation of the Segregation Center. To help with the SAT match, the Tule Lake Committee received a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program to begin work on a Historic Structures Report for the Carpenter’s Shop. The Tule Lake Committee is currently working on identifying more funding sources for the SAT match.
Oral Histories: The Tule Lake Committee received a grant from the California Council on the Humanities to use oral histories to tell the stories of protest at Tule Lake, and is working with Densho to record and make those interviews available on-line at the NPS Tule Lake website and at the Densho.org website. The Tule Lake Committee is also partnering with Densho and the National Japanese Historical Society to complete additional full-life oral histories of persons who were incarcerated in Tule Lake and renounced their U.S. citizenship.
2010 Pilgrimage to Tule Lake: Tule Lake Committee is in the middle of organizing it’s 18th pilgrimage to the site of the Tule Lake Segregation Center. The pilgrimage will be held this July 2 through 5, 2010 in Tule Lake and Klamath Falls. Following the format of the past several pilgrimages, it will be a four day event, that includes a round-trip bus journey to the site, a day of organized tours to the Tule Lake site, a morning of intergenerational discussion groups, afternoon of workshops and discussions groups, a memorial service to honor the memory of those incarcerated at Tule Lake, and an evening cultural performance to which the Tulelake and Klamath Falls regional community are invited. This year is the third year that we are waiving the all-inclusive pilgrimage fee of $395 for former inmates of Tule Lake who are 80 and older, to encourage those who were older teens and young adults, especially”no-nos” and renunciants, to attend the pilgrimage. In the past two pilgrimages this helped encourage Nisei participation; in 2009, we had 50 Nisei survivors attending with members of their family. For many Nisei survivors, particularly “no-nos” and renunciants, the pilgrimage was the first time since WWII they spoke publicly about their wartime experiences.
Tule Lake N.M. activities: The new Tule Lake N.M. is temporarily housed at the local Butte Valley Fairgrounds Museum where an NPS ranger offers information and site tours at the museum’s existing Tule Lake Segregation Center exhibit. The Tule Lake N.M. is beginning to identify various interest groups and constituencies to examine “Key Stories and Themes for the Tule Lake Unit of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument” to begin the extensive General Management Plan process for the future of the Tule Lake N.M. The first foundational meetings were held in Klamath Falls and Oakland, CA in February 2010.