Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Talking on the same channel about Tule Lake

This is cool: the Tule Lake Committee, which organizes Fourth of July weekend pilgrimages to the Tule Lake incarceration site, turns out to have a successful Facebook page. A tremendous mix of people and ideas have appeared on its "wall": longtime pilgrimage organizers like Stan Shikuma, and last year's participants sharing thoughts, and newbies inquiring about camp history, and people with parallel Internment-era interests sharing related bits of news, and lots of others. Recently, they include page creator Nina Neen; local researcher Dana Shew in Oakland; a contributor noting writer Martha Nakagawa's latest, on memorial efforts regarding wartime incarcerations in Bismarck, North Dakota; and, remarkably, Frank Clark and Shelley Cannady, who say they respectively grew up in and near the remains of the Tule Lake camp site, and grew up to be, respectively, a history teacher and a professor of landscape architecture. There's a good new conversation starting on that page in which people who had family members variously inside the fence and outside the fence are exploring their family histories together.

Also, the site has lots of photos from pilgrimages, including this one of Jimmy Mirikitani, the eccentric sometime street artist made famous by Linda Hattendorf's film The Cats of Mirikitani. The picture has to be from a memorable moment of the 2009 Pilgrimage: while singing onstage in the public "Thousand Cranes" cultural program, Jimmy fell down and bumped his head, hard. Linda rushed out and helped him up. Rather than let her walk him offstage, he leaned back and let her hold him upright while he insisted on finishing his song. It said volumes about the relationship between those two. (He went straight to the hospital from the stage. Doctors checked him out -- no damage done.)

Anyway, good for Facebook -- or good for Nina Neen -- for getting a new Tule Lake conversation going.

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