This was unpopular in camp and a subject of unrest.
This segment begins with a crop-duster landing at the airport that sits on the old camp site. Jimi Yamaichi then discusses the pay for internees at the Tule Lake Internment – Segregation Center. At first there were three pay scales. Professionals received $19 a month. Average workers were paid $16 and laborers toiled for $12 a month. This was unpopular in camp and a subject of unrest – the change was made to all average workers and laborers were paid $16 a month. In the hospital internee surgeons were paid $19 a month working next to caucasian doctors earning $400 a month. this was the way it was. Anglos school teachers taught for $200 a month and their Japanese-American counterparts received $16. There were not many Japanese-Americans with teaching degrees because in the 1930’s they were not hired so many with college degrees, teaching, engineering, law went back to work on the family farms and businesses. In camp these folks would teach their specialties without a teachers certificate because this was the way it was.
Many Japanese-Americans on the West Coast many lost all they had.
Before World War II the USA was coming out of a depression. In 1939 many started to borrow money and invest in their farms and businesses. With the start of the War and roundup of Japanese-Americans on the West Coast many lost all they had and were sent to internment camps with no more than their alloted two suitcases, and some had less. At the end of the war internees were given $25 and a one way train ticket to “home”. Many left camp with all they had in the world. Jimi Yamaichi remembers the challenges the destitute faced stepping outside the Tule Lake Internment – Segregation Center barbwire fences, beyond the guard towers and into a world of anti-Japanese sentiments.
There was little that internees could do about the dust.
The site of Tule Lake Internment – Segregation Center was a recently reclaimed Tule Lake by the Klamath Reclamation Project starting in the 1900’s. Jimi Yamaichi accepted dust as a way as life. There was little that internees could do about the dust. It was everywhere, no crack was too small, no clothes were too clean. Today the winds still blow and dust can fly but not like it was in the Tule Lake Interment – Segregation Center.
Eureka Game Wardens wondered where these painted sea gulls were coming from?
This is from an interview with Jimi Yamaichi by Cindy Wright in March 2004. Cindy, at the time, was general manager of the Tulelake – Butte Valley Fairgrounds and Museum. jimi shares the fact that some women spent much of their day looking for seashells in the dry lake bottom of reclaimed Tule Lake. And there were men who would sit and pass the time of day in the holes the women dug. They would catch sea gulls and paint them. Game wardens in Eureka were wondering where these sea gulls with colorful markings on their body were coming from?
©2013 Anders Tomlinson and jimi Yamaichi, all rights reserved.