Photo by bearspawprint
American Boxcar for the Japanese
German Boxcar for the Jews, Roma, and others
American Boxcar for the “ndn problem”
American Japanese “Internment Camp”
German concentration camp
American re education camp
For a large segment of the population Manzanar and other “relocation camps” is a difficult reality to accept – for others who favor a national registry of immigrants, a return to Jim Crow laws, discrimination, and racism it’s no big deal – after all if you weren’t swaddled in the flag as an infant you’re either suspect or you don’t belong.
“Relocation Camps”, a euphemism for gulags, an attempt to whitewash one of many dark moments in American History.
I knew an elderly couple in Seattle who had been “relocated” – a couple who were better citizens than a lot of native born.
A couple who understood and exhibited the value of a work ethic who entirely through their own efforts were able to establish a small successful business ultimately losing everything due to the “patriotic” fervor that swept the land.
They arrived on the shores of the land of liberty with little seeking a better way – a few short years later they had less than what they originally arrived with and had to begin again.
History has a way of repeating itself – demagoguery never dies, it never really goes away.
It merely slumbers for a time waiting for the right moment, the right climate, and the right person to emerge.
Manzanar gave rise a few short years later to the McCarthy era – the same elements of fear mongering and “patriotism” were employed.
Fast forward a few decades and history is beginning to repeat itself – no one ever learns, it’s either one extreme or the other with no thought given to a middle road, a middle road seeking an essential balance that is lacking – and those who say let’s wait and see repeat the same mistakes others have in the past having ignored the lessons provided by history.
There is an irony that the Owens Valley where Manzanar was established was originally inhabited by the Paiute, another people found to be lacking and confined to their own gulag.
As indigenous people we don’t have to wait and see, we know what’s coming, and no amount of rhetoric will change that.
Others may weather the storm, but those who do will be a finite number and in a better position than we are to – we won’t be among that number, nor will any other disenfranchised demographic.
Sure, we will survive but the conditions of our survival will become more difficult – we’re not a voting or donations bloc of significance – we stand in the way of “progress” in our belief that what we have left is indeed actually ours as the dark days ahead draw ever nearer.