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Friday, December 9, 2011

A Plan To Visit A Place In My Family's History - Photo Essay plan.

In 1942 my grand-parents, my uncles and my mother were rounded up and sent to live in Slocan. Under Order-in-Council P.C. 1486, my grandparents and family and thousands of other Japanese-Canadian citizens were sent to internment camps outside the 100 mile exclusion zone that surrounded the coastal areas. This was a dark time and during that time, my family's assets were seized, sold at rock-bottom dollar and my family never saw a penny of it.

Many second and third generation internees are now of an age where they are passing from our lives. The fourth and subsequent generations will only know this as a publication in a school history textbook (maybe two or three paragraphs at most).

Many internees are choosing to visit the past, but my mother finds it too painful to show my children (who are half Caucasian and half Japanese) the legacy of "shame and betrayal" that encompassed a good portion of their grandmother's life while growing up. We need to not forget. We need to be able to keep this injustice at the forefront so that we never, ever do this again to any other ethnicity.

I take my inspiration from David Suzuki, Nobby Hayashi and all those who have come forward in an attempt to bring this ignominious period in Canada's history to light. To not just let it sit buried in some textbook somewhere to be glanced over then forgotten. It is my legacy to take my camera to some of Canada's forgotten internment camps to document it for posterity before time and forgetfulness put those historical sites on the chopping block for budget cutbacks.

I am lucky that I, despite my youth, (most 3rd generation children are in their late 50s and 60s some are now in their 70s and experienced the internment first-hand) was affected by this tragedy, my connection was a direct one to that of an internee, yet I am in my 40s and it is our job, the third generation legacy, to remind our children that they need to understand what it was that their previous generations fought for with Redress.

Never forget; always remember...Never, ever let it happen again.

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