Life on the Inside: Creating a Sense of Place

Sumo wrestling tournament at Heart Mountain

Within the framework set up by the War Relocation Authority, internees developed a number of routines and practices that helped instill a sense of community.  Each detention camp was staffed primarily by internees.  Routine activities, such as cooking, cleaning, and the upkeep and improvement of facilities were performed by camp members.  Internees also ran community stores, grew food to feed other internees and to aid in the war effort, and  worked on infrastructure projects as assigned by camp administrators.

Outside of the official duties assigned by the administration, internees organized activities such as dances, festivals, and regular religious ceremonies.  Some of the activities, like Boy Scout and Girl Scout parades, emphasized American patriotism, others, such as Obon Odori festivals, were adapted from traditions rooted in Japanese culture.

For more information see the added resources section on life in camp.

Life in Exile
Life on the Inside: Creating a Sense of Place