"This travesty of justice could easily happen to any other group... Educating people about the incarceration of one group will help prevent its happening to other minorities in our American democracy."
- "Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians"

The Children of the Camps Project was initiated by Dr. Satsuki Ina with the following primary goals:

  • To develop a documentary that explores the ongoing emotional, familial and psychological consequences of the WW II internment camp experience for those who were "children of the camps", and that documents their personal journey to healing from the wounds of racism. Former internees report lifelong struggles with chronic depression, psychosomatic illnesses, low self-esteem and the stresses of over-achieving. Consonant with Japanese American values, these individuals have internalized their suffering in an effort to secure their acceptance in their own country.

  • To facilitate a healing experience for the Japanese American community by holding workshops where former internees and their families can view the documentary and further explore the personal and intergenerational impact of the internment experience, perhaps for the first time. As a response to cultural constraints and fear of repercussion, many have buried their pain and endured the psychological consequences of this unresolved trauma.

  • To educate the general public regarding the long term effects of the World War II internment trauma on Japanese Americans, the harmful impact of institutionalized racism in general, and the need for understanding and healing of both victim and perpetrator. The project will achieve this through:
    • national broadcast of the documentary on PBS through April 2003;
    • public screenings in local communities;
    • distribution of the video to schools, universities, mental health agencies, as well to individuals for personal use.

  • To train mental health providers regarding the interplay of culture and oppression on the psychological well-being of ethnic minorities as exemplified by the coping strategies of the Japanese Americans in response to the WW II internment experience. Research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health has reported the continued underutilization of mental health resources by Asian Americans. A training program will demonstrate culturally sensitive strategies that can serve to increase the perceived value of seeking mental health care and limit premature termination of treatment by Asian Americans. Training programs will be offered at social service agencies, professional conferences, and graduate programs.

  • To learn more about how to schedule a workshop or screening in your community, see the workshops page.

    For a detailed mental health rationale for this project, see Dr. Ina's remarks from the Tule Lake Reunion Symposium, or download/view a copy of the Children of the Camps Teacher's Guide by Dr. Ina.

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