Minidoka blues

I’m visiting my parents this week in southern Idaho, and today they graciously indulged me with a trip over to the Minidoka Relocation Camp east of Jerome.  Between 1942 and 1945, the camp interned over 13,000 Japanese-Americans from western Washington, Oregon and coastal Alaska.  Growing up in this area made this trip particularly difficult; despite being one of the largest camps in the War Relocation Authority system, there is hardly anything left, and its mere presence in the valley is the quintessential dirty secret for residents who know enough about it to try to pretend that what was once here never was.

minidoka rlc entrance

minidoka rlc remains

minidoka rlc landfill

minidoka rlc tribute

Here’s a link to the full photoset of the pictures I took.  And here is a link to “The True Point of Beginning,” an essay I wrote a few years back that tries to wrestle with some of the images and emotions tied to this place and others like it.


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