Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 17, 2013

The US Internment Camps: How the US manufactures history

The US Internment Camps: How the US manufactures history

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News 

While walking across America this week, the Longest Walk 4 walked past one of the Japanese internment camps where Japanese were placed in concentration camps during WW II in the United States. The secrecy surrounding these camps -- and the spin the US government and its media put on those camps -- exposes how the US has manufactured its own history, omitting the genocide of American Indians, the kidnapping, torture, rape, murder and enslavement of African Americans, and the truth about its Japanese and Aleut prison camps within the US.

Aleut death camp
Aleut were forcibly removed from their Alaskan islands and placed in concentration camps, where many died of disease and starvation during WW II. The truth was exposed in the film, the Aleut Story. Aleut survivor Harriet Hope, interned at Burnett Inlet Duration Camp, said, "The story was never told. It was purposely held secret."

On Akimel O'odham land, Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, Japanese were placed in two other concentration camps during WW II. 

Although the Gila River Indian Community objected, the US government proceeded and built the camps in the Sonoran Desert. There were 13, 348 imprisoned. Some Japanese died en route to Gila River or shortly after in the harsh desert environment.

Here is an example of the manufactured media by the US government and its media at the time. It places a positive spin on this concentration camp, where families, children and elderly, were imprisoned, most from the Los Angeles area, and omits the horror and suffering 

This manufactured media is what constitutes US history and fills its history books.
Aleut children in prison camp

Lakota Russell Means often spoke of how Nazi labor camps were based on the concept of US Indian reservations. Means said, "Nazi labor camps, Apartheid in South Africa and Palestine and Guantanamo, were based on reservations in the US."

Aleuts were left to die in those concentration camps.

Aleut survivor Jake Lestenkof, removed to the concentration camp Funter Bay Duration Camp, said, "American citizens were starving, were dying."

Amache concentration camp is located in southeastern Colorado, not far from the Massacre site of Sand Creek, where US soldiers carried out atrocities on Cheyenne women, children and elderly. US soldiers bayoneted pregnant Indian women and shot toddlers. It is one of the heinous acts of US cruelty, genocide and crimes against humanity.

While walking across America on Long Walk 2, there was a ceremony in 2008 to "wipe the tears and release the spirits," of those who were massacred at Sand Creek.

Amache in southeastern Colorado, which the long walkers walked past this week, was one of ten internment camps created by President Roosevelt during WW II. 

Amache was surrounded by barbed wire and eight machine gun towers. It had a population of 7,318 Japanese, most of whom had been living in LA and on the west coast. They were only allowed to bring one bag and forced to sell everything else.
Carlisle Indian School, Penn. Photo Brenda Norrell

In the US, Canada and Australia, residential schools for Indian children followed the massacres. Indian children were kidnapped, then beaten, tortured, raped, and even murdered in these residential schools, operated by the governments or churches. The children who never came home are held in memory, part of this untold story of the United States and colonial governments.

Currently, the US targeted assassinations -- carried out with the use of unmanned drones and President Obama's kill list -- continue the atrocities of the US government killing innocent women, children and elderly in Pakistan and Yemen. The targeted victims, never charged or taken to trial, included US teen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki from Colorado.

Censored News reader Howard Uhal said of Amache internment camp in Colorado, "I visited this camp several years ago. Very dreary place. One of the local schools had just done a project to raise awareness of what happened at the camp. But few Americans understand the similarity between these camps and our so-called 'Indian reservations.' And even fewer realize that our so-called 'foreign policy' stems from the same kind of thinking that resulted in these relocation centers and reservation."

"Let's not forget the role of the churches. In your photo above, each Aleut grave is marked with a Byzantine/Orthodox Catholic cross. And at the cemetery of Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, each tombstone also is marked with a cross. I doubt that many of the victims had willingly converted to Christianity. It's as if the churches preferred that they be 'saved' and dead rather than 'unsaved' and alive."
Photo by Western Shoshone Long Walker Bad Bear Sampson 2013

Aleut Internment Camps, the Untold US Atrocity by Censored News
Russell Means video Feb. 2012 posted at Censored News
Granada War Relocation Center by Wikipedia
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Copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News

1 comment:

Saint Howard (a.k.a. Howard the Great) said...

Brenda, thanks for this wonderful essay.