Silent Stories of Tuna Canyon to Come Alive

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Students and community members form the planning committee for the discussion on the Tuna Canyon Detention Center.

Students and community members form the planning committee for the discussion on the Tuna Canyon Detention Center.

Tuna Canyon became an enemy alien detention station on Dec. 16, 1941, days after Pearl Harbor, with the installation of barbed-wire fences and watchtowers. Only days before it was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp built during the Depression in 1933.

The Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition is hosting its first multicultural panel, “Discovering History in Your Own Back Yard.” The descendants of Japanese, Germans, and Japanese Peruvians who were detained there will tell their personal stories on Sunday, March 30, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima.

Over 50 government camps held “enemy aliens,” including Tuna Canyon detainees who were the fathers of panelists Min Tonai, Sigrid Toye, and Rev. Dr. Yoshi Tsuyuki. Grace Shimizu’s story comes from Latin America. She will also make comparison to today’s political climate.

CSU Northridge students will join the community by participating in the question-and-answer period that follows.

Sponsors of the program are the San Fernando Valley JACL and SFVJACC.

The Los Angeles City Council has designated Tuna Canyon as a cultural/historical monument. Although a lawsuit has been filed against the city by the site’s developer, Snowball West Investments, to have that designation rescinded, there is a growing momentum to learn about Tuna Canyon and its place as part of the eventual mass removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast during World War II.

For more information or reservations, email [email protected] by March 28.

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