Resurrected memories of a prison camp

  • Winter sports included ski jumping and hockey. Above right: The prison camp perimeter fence with guardtowers on the road

  If we haven’t already forgotten our nation’s World War II-era internment camps, we speak of them only in hushed tones. Even in the eight Western communities where the camps once stood, their memory is lost, rolled up and stowed away like old chain-link fence.

A new exhibit touring North Dakota, "Snow Country Prison: Interned in North Dakota," delivers a chilling collection of haiku, photographs and essays in a timely reminder of how wartime "detainees" at Fort Lincoln Internment Camp endured a life apart.

The sparsely documented history of the Fort Lincoln Internment Camp has long been limited to a small collection of official photographs that idyllically depict internees busy at craftwork or at play, ski jumping and playing hockey. However, in the 14 months that a young Japanese-American named Itaru Ina lived at Fort Lincoln, he produced a collection of melancholy haiku that reveals far more than do the lenses of the government cameras. His work is available for the first time in a free 16-page companion tabloid to the exhibit.

Contact the North Dakota Museum of Art, P.O. Box 7305, Grand Forks, ND 58202; 701-777-4195; [email protected]

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