Hanako Wakatsuki, chief of interpretation at the Minidoka National Historic Site, led a question-and-answer session after Wednesday evening’s screening of “Minidoka—An American Concentration Camp” at The Community Library in Ketchum. The hour-long program traced anti-Asian sentiment in America as early as 1924 and the Asian Exclusion Act. Just two months after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, moving Japanese-Americans to one of 10 confinement centers against their will for the duration of the war. A total of over 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated nationally. Idaho’s 33,000-acre camp in the high desert imprisoned over 13,000 Japanese-Americans, including as many as 9,397 at one time. The movie described daily life as no picnic, with small barracks, Army cots, outside latrines and barbed wire. At war’s end, inmates were given $25 and a one-way bus ticket to rebuild their lives. Eventually, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 granted reparations of $20,000 and a formal apology to every surviving citizen of Japanese descent incarcerated during World War II.

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