Minidoka Pilgrimage Logo






October 10, 2023

The Honorable Deb Haaland
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Haaland:

We are Japanese American and Alaska Native survivors, who were wrongfully incarcerated during World War II at Minidoka. We are joined by Minidoka descendants and allies.

We respectfully ask you to protect the Minidoka National Historic Site from the proposed Lava Ridge wind project by adopting the No Action Alternative in the Lava Ridge Final Environmental Impact Statement and by designating the greater Minidoka Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).

If approved by the Bureau of Land Management, LS Power’s wind project would desecrate sacred ground, dishonor the military service and sacrifice of Japanese Americans and Alaska Natives and reverse nearly 50 years of progress on our road to healing.

We have worked to rebuild our lives and overcome racial prejudice. Thanks to over twenty years of National Park Service leadership and bipartisan Congressional support, we’ve turned a place of trauma into a place for healing and enjoyment.

Through Minidoka’s Honor Roll, we commemorate the military service of nearly 1,000 Minidoka incarcerees. We honor the lives of 73 soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation’s freedom, while their Gold Star Families remained imprisoned. We admire the courage of Min Yasui and resistors who fought for justice.

We support President Biden’s statement that “[p]reserving incarceration sites as national parks and historic landmarks is proof of our Nation’s commitment to facing the wrongs of our past, to healing the pain still felt by survivors and their descendants, and to ensuring that we always remember why it matters that we never stop fighting for equality and justice for all. My Administration is committed to maintaining these national parks and landmarks for future generations and to combating xenophobia, hate, and intolerance…”

We also appreciate President Biden’s Day One commitment to racial justice and his whole-of-government guidance to federal agencies to protect dispersed environmental justice communities and places of worship, as outlined in his April 2023 Executive Order, “Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All.”

We appreciate your acknowledgment of the tragic parallels between family separations of Japanese Americans and the terrible legacy from Federal Indian Boarding Schools. Many of our family members were separated when they were imprisoned in Santa Fe and Lordsburg, New Mexico, Fort Missoula, Montana and other sites.

To tell our stories and heal the trauma from the incarceration, President Bill Clinton designated Minidoka as a National Monument. In 2008, Congress passed bipartisan legislation to expand Minidoka to include the Bainbridge Island Eagledale Ferry Dock Site. Secretary Ken Salazar protected Minidoka from LS Power’s proposed transmission line in 2009.

We support renewable energy and the Administration’s commitment to fight the climate crisis without putting a disproportionate burden on people of color. In terms of siting projects on sacred lands, Bill McKibben recently wrote that “repeating the mistakes of our history at this point is truly unforgivable.”

We hope that, under your leadership, BLM will not repeat the mistakes of the past. According to BLM, its preferred alternatives in its draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) would have “disproportionately high and adverse impacts to the Japanese American community and Native American Tribes given the importance of setting and feeling …” Also, BLM’s proposed mitigation measures, including conservation easements, removal of structures in the foreground and scholarships for Pilgrimages, would not offset the visual and emotional impacts of Alternatives C, E or some combination.

We encourage BLM to adopt the No Action Alternative in the Lava Ridge final environmental impact statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision. Federal lands around Minidoka constitute Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) which is rooted in our history and important to maintain our cultural identity. We support the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office’s finding that Minidoka TCP is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

To protect the Minidoka National Historic Site and TCP, we encourage BLM to begin a public planning process to designate 237,000 acres of BLM land as the Greater Minidoka ACEC.

By designating the ACEC, BLM can honor the memories of our parents and grandparents, the lives of 200 people who died in Minidoka and leave a lasting legacy of healing for our children, grandchildren, community and nation.

Thank you for considering our request to help our nation avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and to achieve its highest ideals of equality and justice.

We can be contacted at: mi****************@gm***.com or c/o 3114 22nd Ave S. Seattle, WA 98144-6404.


Minidoka Survivors:

Mary (Tanaka) Abo
Barracks: 6-4-C
Age: 83
Bremerton WA

Alice (Tanaka) Hikido
Barracks 6-4-C
Age: 90
San Jose, CA

Frederick S. Sakura
Clinton, WA
Age: 80
Prison number: 35860
Barrack: 17-F-5
Military Service No.: RA 56 427 090

John David Sakura
Barracks: 15-8-E
Age: 87
Thornton, NH 03285

Sam Kito, Jr.
Barrack: 24-3-C
Age: 85
Sultan, WA (incarcerated from Petersburg, AK)
Military service: brother, Harry Kito, deceased in Vietnam War;
Gold Star Family
Tribal affiliation: Tlingit (Alaskan) and Japanese

Irene Teiko Saito
Prison Number: 11659D
Barrack: 28
Marie Matsuno Nash
Block 1, Barrack 8C
Age: 79
Ugashik, AK
Military Service: Father, Fred Matsuno served in the 442nd, awarded Bronze Star, Purple
Heart, commendation for the 442nd rescue of the Texas “Lost Battalion,” Congressional Gold Medal
Tribal affiliation: Aleut-Alutiq

Barbara Kito
Barrack: 24-3-C
Age: 83
Anchorage, AK (incarcerated from Petersburg, AK)
Tribal affiliation: Tlingit (Alaskan) and Japanese

John Kito
Barrack: 24-3-C
Age: 82
Anchorage, AK (incarcerated from Petersburg, AK)
Tribal affiliation: Tlingit (Alaskan) and Japanese

Linden Takuma Nishinaga
Age: 78
Torrance, CA
Sadayo Nojima
(aka Nikki Nojima Lewis)
Prison Number: 11061B
Block 44, Barrack 2A
Age: 85
Albuquerque, NM

Herb Tsuchiya
Age: 92
Seattle, WA
Military Service: 2 brothers in 442nd RCT, 1 brother US Air Force
(deceased since signing)

Fujiko (Tamura) Gardner
Block 21, Barrack 10E
Age: 91
Lakewood, WA
Military Service: Hiroshi Tamura (KIA 4/20/45), Mitsuru Tamura, Masuru Tamura

Gloria (Tomita) Shigeno
Renton, WA

Paul Tomita
Bellevue, WA

Mabel Tomita
Bellevue, WA

Eugene Minoru Tagawa
Prison number: 11820E
Block 15, Barrack 1B
Age: 81
Seattle, WA
Military Service: Washington National Guard 1961-1967

Roy Toshio Ouchida
Prison Number: 15477
Barracks: 39-2-E + 39-9-E
Age: 89
Redmond, OR
U.S. Army

John Morimi Shigaki
Prison Number: 11295E
Barracks: 42-9-D
Age: 79
Seattle, WA
National Guard
Minidoka Descendants:

Julie Abo Dominguez
Chevy Chase, MD

Maya Abo Dominguez
Pasadena, CA

Aiko Abo Dominguez
Los Angeles, CA

Andrew Abo
San Carlos, CA

Rob Hikido
San Jose, CA

Annie Hikido
Waterville, ME

Brian Hikido
San Jose, CA

Christine Hikido
San Francisco, CA

Peter Hikido
Danville, CA

Guy Michael Tanaka
Santa Monica, CA

Michael Tsutomu Tanaka
Redondo Beach, CA

Jon Takeshi Tanaka
New York, New York

Jim Tanaka
Victoria, British Columbia Canada

Sho Yamagushiku
Victoria, British Columbia Canada

Emma Tanaka
Toronto Canada

David Tanaka
Denver, CO

Clio Tanaka
Tokyo, Japan

Amber Tanaka
Seattle, WA

Richard Tanaka
Poulsbo, WA

Cathy (Tanaka) Bianchetto
Seattle, WA

Tyler Bianchetto
Seattle, WA

Alicia Bianchetto
Seattle, WA

Liz (Tanaka) Phillips
Dayton, WA

Davy Phillips
Seattle, WA

Sarah Oscar
Spokane, WA

Keisha Phillips
Spokane, WA

Jenna Phillips
Seattle, WA

Ed Tanaka
Spokane, WA

Susan Koba Churchill
Anchorage, AK

Leslie Ishii
Juneau, AK

Sam Kito, III
Anchorage, AK

Michelle Kito
San Francisco, CA

Cynthia Kito
Lexington, Kentucky

Hope Kito
Bellingham, WA

William Kito
Washington D.C.

Greg Kito
Sitka, Alaska

Kimberly Kay Louis
Seattle, WA

Dan Sakura
Chevy Chase, MD

Melna (Sakura) Skillingstead
Camano Island, WA

Cara Sakura Skillingstead
Missoula, MT

Lucy Kay Sakura
Washington, DC

George Abe
Albuquerque, NM
Tribal affiliation: Mandan,
Hidatsa and Arikara

Harvey Shirai Jr.
Tribal affiliation: Tsimshian, Tlingit
Dallas, TX

Pauline Shigaki
Seattle, WA

Alison Shigaki
Seattle, WA

Kai Morimi Randolph
Seattle, WA

Erin Shigaki
Seattle, WA

Joy Shigaki
Seattle, WA

Nancy (Fukuyama) Albright
Seattle, WA

Todd Albright
Seattle, WA

David Albright
Seattle, WA

Ann Elizabeth Murao
Davis, CA

Christine Susumi
Bainbridge Island, WA

Clarke Kido
Idaho Falls, ID

Father Fred M. Kido served
in the 442nd RCT

Connie Masuoka
Portland, OR

Eileen Yamada Lamphere
Kent, WA

James Ishii
Kent, WA

Michael Ishii
Queens, NY

Janet Sekijima
Seattle, WA

Margaret Sekijima
Seattle, WA

Ken Mochizuki
Maple Valley, WA

Kyle Kinoshita
Seattle, WA

Leslie Marr Pierce
Seattle, WA

Marlene Susumi Smick
Spokane, WA

Yutaka Sugahiro-Wong
Milwaukie, OR

Norman Bruce Sakura
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Patricia Koto
Yakima, WA

Tom Koto
Boise, ID

Ryan Kozu
Seattle, WA

Stephen Kitajo
Auburn, WA

Dale H. Watanabe
Seattle, WA

Kanako Kashima
Mercer Island, WA

Jonathan Narita
Seattle, WA

Keith Yamaguchi
Seattle, WA

Carol Reitz
Bainbridge Island, WA
Family #11872

Emily Yoshioka
Seattle, WA

Paul Kikuchi
Seattle, WA

Joel Kikuchi
Seattle, WA

Danny Kikuchi
Seattle, WA

Karen Akada
Seattle, WA

Cathy Kiyomura
Seattle, WA
Minidoka Allies:

Karen Atkinson
Albuquerque, NM

Laurel Goodluck
Albuquerque, NM

Kalen Goodluck
Albuquerque, NM

Forrest Goodluck
Albuquerque, NM

Victor Yamada
Albuquerque, NM

Kiku Kato (survivor of Tule Lake
concentration camp)
Age: 101
Albuquerque, NM

Alan Akiyama
Juneau, AK

Dennis Arashiro
Anchorage, AK

Jean Caswell,
Anchorage, AK

Jim Caswell,
Anchorage, AK

M Kay Gatlin
Anchorage, AK

Greg Hayashida
Anchorage, AK

Wendy Henson
Eagle River, AK

Ronald K Inouye
Fairbanks, AK

Suzanne Ishii-Regan
Anchorage, AK

Matthew Regan
Anchorage, AK

John Jensen
Anchorage, AK

Scott Kawasaki
Anchorage, AK

Aaron Kusano
Anchorage, AK

Jennifer Lorentz
Anchorage, AK

Kelly Marciales
Palmer, AK

Anthony Nakazawa
Eagle River, AK

Lynette Nakazawa
Eagle River, AK

Erika Ninoyu
Arlington, Virginia

Shunji Ninoyu
Anchorage, AK

Patrick Regan
Anchorage, AK

Lincoln Saito
Anchorage, AK

Martin Suzuki
Juneau, AK

A Keith Taniguchi
Soldotna, AK

Laurel Tatsuda
Anchorage, AK

George Tolbert
Anchorage, AK

Richard Yamada
Auke Bay, AK

Brian Yamamoto
Fairbanks, AK

Lesley Yamauchi
Anchorage, AK

Dixie Johnson
Juneau, AK

David Gray
Juneau, AK

Janie Homan
Juneau, AK

Karleen and Roger Grummett
Juneau, AK

Joe Masatsugu Abo (survivor Tule
Lake Concentration Camp)
Bremerton, WA

Sara Moriguchi (descendant of
Tule Lake concentration camp)

Michael B. Murray
Chair, Coalition to Protect
America’s National Parks
Washington, DC

Jonathan B. Jarvis
Director, National Park Service
Berkeley, CA

Japanese American Museum of Oregon
Portland, OR

Japanese American Citizens
League (JACL)
San Francisco, CA

Historical Museum at Fort Missoula
Missoula, MT

Kevin Emmerich, Basin and Range Watch
Beatty, NV

Bill Tashima (descendant of Heart Mountain & Poston Incarceration Sites)
Fall City, WA

Karen Matsumoto (descendant of Jerome concentration camp, Board Member BIJAC)
Bainbridge Island, WA

Diane Honda (descendant of Poston concentration camp)
Brentwood, TN

H. Leo Tanaka, MD
San Diego, CA

Shelley Takeuchi (descendant of Santa Fe Prison Camp)
Albuquerque, NM

Hana Fedorenko (descendant of Jerome concentration camp)
Seattle, WA

Yoko Fedorenko (descendant of Jerome concentration camp)
Seattle, WA

Leslie Morishita (descendant of Jerome concentration camp)
Seattle, WA

Bif Brigman
Seattle, WA

Mark Albright
Seattle, WA

Scott C. Miller
Seattle, WA

Margie Shackelford
Fresno, CA

Marsha Bennett
Ashland, OR