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Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage Held

Manzanar National Historic Site

National Park News

An estimated 1,200 people attended the Manzanar Committee’s 43rd Annual Pilgrimage on Saturday, April 28th.

Drummers from UCLA’s Kyodo Taiko kicked off the event as representatives from each of the ten camps carried in Pilgrimage banners. Dr. Mitchell T. Maki, lead author of Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress, was the keynote speaker.

The Manzanar Committee honored Rose Matsui Ochi with the 2012 Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award in recognition of her decades of work to preserve Manzanar and its history. The Pilgrimage program concluded with the traditional interfaith service and Ondo dancing, after which park rangers offered walking tours of the site.

On Saturday evening, nearly 300 college students, former internees, and others participated in intergenerational discussions at the Manzanar At Dusk (MAD) program at Lone Pine High School. The MAD program was co-sponsored by Manzanar Committee, the Lone Pine Unified School District, Lone Pine High School, the Cal Poly Pomona Nikkei Student Union, the UCLA Nikkei Student Union, and the UCSD Nikkei Student Union.

Other weekend events included a Friday evening reception at the Eastern California Museum sponsored by the Independence Chamber of Commerce and the Friends of Eastern California Museum. The museum’s exhibits include Shiro and Mary Nomura’s Manzanar collection, a special exhibit entitled “Personal Responsibility: The Camp Photographs of Toyo Miyatake,” and the Anna and O.K. Kelly Gallery of Native American Life. The Manzanar History Association hosted book signings by Children of Manzanar editor Heather Lindquist, as well as the annual Selected Artists from the Henry Fukuhara Annual Alabama Hills and Manzanar Workshop art show and sale, which was on display through May 20th.

With the exception of one medical transport, there were no incidents. While the weather was cooler than in past years, NPS staff provided water stations at the event and around the site. The park staged an ambulance with two paramedic teams, and had two additional medical teams available on-site. Two special use and filming permits were issued.

The Manzanar staff was assisted by 19 volunteers as well as two employees from Devils Postpile National Monument, two from Death Valley National Park and two from the Bureau of Land Management.

This year’s Pilgrimage marked the 70th anniversary of the camp’s opening and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Manzanar National Historic Site. The Pilgrimage takes place each year on the last Saturday in April. All are welcome.


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