Our welcome to the 2018 Poston Pilgrimage

Saturday, April 7, 2018
Four air-conditioned chartered buses, two large vans, and several cars transported over 250 attendees of the 2018 Poston Pilgrimage, the premier event for the Poston Community Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit group. The buses departed from the Blue Water Resort & Casino parking lot in Parker, Arizona and traveled south on the Mohave Road for 20 miles to reach the first destination: the Poston Memorial Monument and Kiosk site. Photo credit: Johnny Hill, Jr.
Those in attendance to the 2018 Poston Pilgrimage were pleasantly *surprised* to be greeted by ROYALTY. Photo credit: Reid Nishikawa
...Colorado River Indian Tribe (C.R.I.T.) Royalty!  Miss Colorado River Indian Tribe-Andrea Eddy is pictured on the left and Little Miss Colorado River Indian Tribe- Marley Neolge Welsh is in the centerAND not only C.R.I.T. Royalty---- but Miss Indian Arizona, Mariah Jordan Sharpe, of Mohave and Chemehuevi descent and member of the Colorado River Indian Tribe is shown on the right, greeted the attendees, while the Mohave Singers, the Curtis Martin Group, performed for the crowd. Photo credit: Manataba Messenger
Marlene Shigekawa, Poston Community Alliance board member and project manager, welcomed the attendees. Photo credit: Marty Kobata
Reverend Saburo Masada, a Jerome concentration camp detainee, lead the group in prayer and blessing of the bricks. Photo credit: Marty Kobata
C.R.I.T. councilman, Johnny Hill, Jr., blessed the bricks in native Chemehuevi language. Photo credit: Marty Kobata
C.R.I.T. Chairman, Dennis Patch tells the of the shared history of the Japanese concentration camp and the Colorado River Indian Tribe. He spoke of how the tribe had made gains from the infrastructure created for the camps.  He told how the tribe continues to benefit today due to the incarcerated Japanese farmers who figured out how to condition the soil and how to farm and irrigate the land successfully. The colonists who moved into the camps after the end of World War II, were grateful for the household goods and furniture left by some of the detainees, as well as the permanent school buildings for their children. Photo credit: Marty Kobata
From Miss Indian Arizona's facebook page, Mariah Jordan Sharpe wrote, "Saturday morning I was in Parker for the Poston Pilgrimage where I was amongst individuals who were in the Japanese Internment Camps located in Poston, Arizona. It was such an honor to be amongst living treasure and to hear their stories in person! " Photo credit:  Reid Nishikawa


Visiting Le Pera Elementary School

.....April 6, 2018 in Poston, Arizona.....
 The former site of Poston camp 2 during WW II
Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
Old school gym at Poston camp 2.  
Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
Arrival at Le Pera Elementary School. 
Photo credit: Dianne Kiyomoto
Meeting in the Le Pera Elementary School Office with Principal Brian Wedemeyer before the early morning school assembly. Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
I learned of the very first visit by the former Poston detainees, involving the local Baptist Church. The event has been preserved on video. Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
Excellent introduction by the school principal, Brian Wedemeyer.  He spoke to his students about what happened during WW II when people of Japanese ancestry from the west coast states were incarcerated at Poston, Arizona. Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo

Grades K-8 in attendance. Everyone wanted to attend!
Photo credit: Dianne Kiyomoto
 Marion (Nakamura) Masada attended the Poston camp 2 elementary school when she was 9 years old. She became a Girl Scout and loved to read books.
Photo credit: Dianne Kiyomoto
  Bob Shintaku, born in Poston, Arizona, spoke of his painful experience being introduced to his first school class in Texas after leaving the camp. He spoke of being treated as a living example of the poster below. Photo credit: Dianne Kiyomoto
 Listening to a very emotional story. 
Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
Reverend Saburo Masada
Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
  Dianne Kiyomoto helps to answer the children's questions. 
Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
Waving back to the children as they leave the assembly.
Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
All smiles now. Assembly done.
Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
Tour of the school campus. Outdoor hand-washing station.
Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
Leaving the school and the children behind.
Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo
Next up: The Poston Pilgrimage begins tomorrow!
Kimberly's selfie

 The Poston Community Alliance purchased some children's books for the La Pera Elementary School Library with donations for the Poston maps from Pilgrimage attendees. Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo

Marlene Shigekawa donated a copy of her book, "Welcome Home Swallows" a touching story of a Japanese-American family torn apart by WW II. 
Photo credit: Kimberly Mayo