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Contact: Eileen Martinez, 808-422-2771 X 124
n Friday, July 3, nearly 700 people attended a dedication ceremony for the new Tule Lake Unit of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument on the site of the former Tule Lake Segregation Center in Newell, California.
The dedication event was held in conjunction with the Tule Lake Pilgrimage, an annual return to the site. Of the 400 persons attending this year’s pilgrimage, 159 were former prisoners, over age 70, and many of these had not returned to the site since the camp closed in 1946. Approximately 200 local residents and neighbors also attended.
Speakers at the dedication included Pacific West Regional Director Jon Jarvis, Fish and Wildlife’s Pacific Southwest Regional Director Ren Lohoefner, the Consul General of Japan, the Mayor of Tulelake, local county supervisors, and Congressional staff. The dedication ceremony was followed by an interfaith Buddhist and Christian memorial service.
Tule Lake was unique among the ten war relocation centers (more commonly known as internment camps) in that it was the camp where the most resistance to the unjust incarceration occurred. In 1943, Tule Lake was converted to a high security “segregation center” and placed under military control. Persons from the other nine camps who were deemed “disloyal” were moved to Tule Lake.
World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, created by Presidential Proclamation on December 5, 2008, consists of nine sites in California, Hawai'i and Alaska. The Hawai'i unit includes the site formerly known as USS Arizona Memorial and other Pearl Harbor sites. Portions of the Tule Lake Unit are within the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, so the unit will be co-managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.