11 Leisure time at Kooskia

Leisure time at Kooskia

Marco Seiferle-Valencia

Title: Full scrapbook page, page 22: leisure time at Kooskia



Take a few minutes to just look at the image above.


What do you see in the image?

What questions do you have about what you see?

How does this connect to things you already know or are learning about?

Read the article that accompanied the image to learn more…

Source: https://www.lib.uidaho.edu/digital/kooskia/items/kooskia859.html

Context Given:

A collection of photographs showing what the men of the camp did during their leisure time, including playing musical instruments, table tennis, and attending meetings. Photo taken from 12-3/4 x 15-1/4 Photograph album of the Kooskia Japanese Internment Camp.

Collection description given: “The Kooskia Internment Camp Scrapbook documents the sights, tasks, scenes, and events of Japanese men detained during the camp’s two years or operation (May 1943 – May 1945). The camp was located in a remote area of north central Idaho, 30 miles from the town of Kooskia; it was administered by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for the U.S. Department of Justice.”


Some other words for expanded context…

Whose stories are included here?

Who is telling the story?

Expanded Context:

Readers are likely to only be vaguely familiar with Japanese internment camp, though we have found most audiences are eager to learn more, especially upon finding out that Kooskia internment camp is only about 2 hours from Moscow, ID. Kooskia is a lesser-known camp, but has been a source of rich archeological discovery by archeologists at the University of Idaho. Dr Priscilla Wegars elaborates more on the history of Kooskia:

“The Kooskia (pronounced KOOS-key) Internment Camp is an obscure and virtually forgotten World War II detention facility that was located in a remote area of north central Idaho, 30 miles from the town of Kooskia, and 6 miles east of the hamlet of Lowell, at Canyon Creek. The Kooskia Internment Camp was administered by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for the U.S. Department of Justice. It held men of Japanese ancestry who were termed “enemy aliens,” even though most of them were long-time U.S. residents, denied naturalization by racist U.S. laws.

Immediately following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, numerous Japanese, German and Italian aliens were arrested and detained on no specific grounds, without the due process guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution, and were sent to INS detention camps at Fort Missoula, Montana; Bismarck, North Dakota; and elsewhere. The INS camps were separate and distinct from the ten major camps under War Relocation Authority (WRA) supervision. The WRA camps, including Minidoka (now the Minidoka National Historic Site) near Jerome, in southern Idaho, housed some 120,000 American citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who were unconstitutionally removed, relocated and imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II.

Although there were a number of Justice Department internment camps throughout the United States during WWII, the Kooskia Internment Camp was unique because it was the only camp of its kind in the United States. Its inmates had volunteered to go there from other camps, and received wages for their work. A total of some 265 male Japanese citizens; 24 male and 3 female Euroamerican civilian employees; 2 male internee doctors, one Italian and one German; and 1 male Japanese American interpreter occupied the Kooskia Internment Camp at various times between May 1943 and May 1945. Although some of the internees held camp jobs, most of the men were construction workers for a portion of the present Highway 12 between Lewiston, Idaho, and Missoula, Montana, parallel to the wild and scenic Lochsa River.

The Japanese internees at the Kooskia camp came from Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawai’i, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Washington.”

Additional Sources:


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Leisure time at Kooskia Copyright © 2023 by Marco Seiferle-Valencia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.