SESSION 1.2: Making Native Space: Reading Japanese Canadian World War II Road Camps Alongside Specters of Indigeneity on the Hope-Princeton Highway in British Columbia

Desiree Valadares, University of California, Berkeley

Abstract

The year 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of the start of the internment period (1942-1949) when more than 21,000 Japanese-Canadians were forcibly removed from the west coast of British Columbia. A 1942 Order-in- Council gave the British Columbia Security Commission the right to evacuate, detain, and remove men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry and relocate them to temporary homes (karizumai) scattered across the Okanagan Valley, the Kootenays, and farther inland. The War Measures Act was enacted for a second time (following the 1914 internment of Ukrainian-Canadians during World War I) to disperse and allocate Japanese- Canadian families to one of four projects: male Japanese Nationals to provincial road camps; nisei (first generation Japanese-Canadians) to Ontario road works or industry; fishing and farming families to Southern Alberta and Manitoba to sugar beet fields; and lastly, women, children, and the elderly to ghost towns and former mining towns in remote locations in the British Columbia Interior. On April 1st 2017, the British Columbia Register of Historic Places recognized more than 56 sites, buildings, and landscapes as part of the Provincial Recognition Program’s Japanese-Canadian Historic Places Project to promote the study, management, preservation, and interpretation of these sites and their associated material culture. Included in the recognized places are World War II internment camps, self-supporting sites, and road camps, in addition to fishing, mining, and logging communities that confined Japanese-Canadians from 1942- 1949. In this paper, I discuss recent efforts by the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in British Columbia (“75th Anniversary Internment Bus Tour”) to uncover the profound materiality of WWII internment sites in Canada. I argue that ongoing commemoration of surviving architectural and landscape traces provides an enduring testimony to the conditions that characterized daily life in these spaces of displacement that confined “civilian enemy aliens” on the basis of their ethnic and racial identity, presumed loyalties, and alleged treasons.

 
May 3rd, 10:45 AM May 3rd, 12:15 PM

SESSION 1.2: Making Native Space: Reading Japanese Canadian World War II Road Camps Alongside Specters of Indigeneity on the Hope-Princeton Highway in British Columbia

IB 1015

The year 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of the start of the internment period (1942-1949) when more than 21,000 Japanese-Canadians were forcibly removed from the west coast of British Columbia. A 1942 Order-in- Council gave the British Columbia Security Commission the right to evacuate, detain, and remove men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry and relocate them to temporary homes (karizumai) scattered across the Okanagan Valley, the Kootenays, and farther inland. The War Measures Act was enacted for a second time (following the 1914 internment of Ukrainian-Canadians during World War I) to disperse and allocate Japanese- Canadian families to one of four projects: male Japanese Nationals to provincial road camps; nisei (first generation Japanese-Canadians) to Ontario road works or industry; fishing and farming families to Southern Alberta and Manitoba to sugar beet fields; and lastly, women, children, and the elderly to ghost towns and former mining towns in remote locations in the British Columbia Interior. On April 1st 2017, the British Columbia Register of Historic Places recognized more than 56 sites, buildings, and landscapes as part of the Provincial Recognition Program’s Japanese-Canadian Historic Places Project to promote the study, management, preservation, and interpretation of these sites and their associated material culture. Included in the recognized places are World War II internment camps, self-supporting sites, and road camps, in addition to fishing, mining, and logging communities that confined Japanese-Canadians from 1942- 1949. In this paper, I discuss recent efforts by the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in British Columbia (“75th Anniversary Internment Bus Tour”) to uncover the profound materiality of WWII internment sites in Canada. I argue that ongoing commemoration of surviving architectural and landscape traces provides an enduring testimony to the conditions that characterized daily life in these spaces of displacement that confined “civilian enemy aliens” on the basis of their ethnic and racial identity, presumed loyalties, and alleged treasons.