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"Until we can talk about the experience and make a connection with our grief and anger, we will each still be unconsciously trying to get out of our own personal camp. Our experience was unique, but it's an example of the broader experience of racism, how it permeates lives, and how we each attempt to survive it. It's about trauma and suffering, but it also is about our strength."
- Dr. Satsuki Ina, PhD


"I remember the soldiers marching us to the Army tank and I looked at their rifles and I was just terrified because I could see this long knife at the end . . . I thought I was imagining it as an adult much later . . . I thought it couldn't have been bayonets because we were just little kids."
-from "Children of the Camps"

Children of the Camps is a one-hour documentary that portrays the poignant stories of six Japanese Americans who were interned as children in US concentration camps during W.W.II.

The film captures a three-day intensive group experience, during which the participants are guided by
Dr. Satsuki Ina, a university professor and therapist, through a process that enables them to speak honestly about their experiences and the continuing impact of internment on their lives today.

Dr. Ina, who was born in the Tule Lake interment camp, has developed and conducted this
workshop for more than ten years for other former child internees.

The workshop participants openly share their pain as they watched their parents endure, how their families were torn apart, and ultimately how they survived in a world that had accused and ostracized them at a young age simply because of the color of their skin.

Through the telling of their personal stories, we witness an unfolding of the long-held trauma of their early childhood experience. The once secret and darkly shrouded private suffering becomes clearer and better understood, thus clearing the way for self-acceptance and new possibilities.

More generally, the documentary sheds light on the deeply damaging
personal impact of racism and offers an opportunity for viewers to understand the consequences of growing up as a scapegoated minority group member.

Woven through the program are Dr. Ina's insights, historical photographs and film footage, and an overview narrated by award-winning poet and author Lawson Fusao Inada.

 



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