LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Arigato, Faith UMC for Inviting Tribal America to Matsuri

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Dear Editor,

It was refreshing to see Native Americans invited to perform at the Faith United Methodist’s Matsuri of Faith.

Besides the fact that we Los Angelenos live on land once occupied by the Tongva tribe, Japanese Americans have another connection to Tribal America.

Many of the World War II U.S. concentration camps were built on tribal land. The most well known are the two Arizona camps—Colorado River (Poston) and Gila River—that were located on the Colorado and Pima Indian reservations, respectively.

The Paiutes lived in the area where the Manzanar camp was built, and former Manzanar Ranger Richard Potashin noted that a few local Paiutes had been hired at Manzanar during the war.

The Tule Lake camp area was once occupied by the Klamath-Modoc tribe; the Department of Justice camp in Bismarck, N.D., the Lakota/Dakota tribe; and the Leupp Citizen Isolation Center in Arizona, the Navajo tribe.

In addition, many of the Nisei draft resisters from Granada (Amache), Central Utah (Topaz) and Poston who were imprisoned at the Santa Catalina Prison Camp in Tucson, Ariz., did time with Hopi and Navajo conscientious objectors.

These are just a few of the obvious connections that tie Japanese America to Tribal America. There is still much to be explored, historically as well as spiritually.

 

Martha Nakagawa
Gardena

 

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