Following a day-long workshop for Treasure Valley educators on Thursday, the 7th Annual Civil Liberties Symposium continues today at Boise State—the first time the event has been held in Boise. Today's highlight is expected to be the arrival of up to 280 so-called "pilgrims," Japanese-Americans, many in their 80s or 90s, who lived in the south-central Idaho Mindidoka internment camp.
"Imagine meeting a 100-year-old woman who lived and gave birth to a child at Minidoka," said Dr. Russ Tremayne, history professor at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. "In years past, we have had tears and emotions like you cannot believe. This year will be no different. The pilgrimage is so vital."
It's estimated that between 10,000-13,000 Japanese-Americans were interned at the camp during World War II. At the time, it was considered the seventh-largest city in Idaho.
"It absolutely boggles my mind, the more I think about it," said Tremayne. "Putting tens of thousands of Americans in prison camps, without trial. A total miscarriage of our Constitution."
The pilgrims are expected to travel to the Mindoka site on Saturday and their visit wll end with a memorial service on Sunday, June 24.