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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Gila River in Pinal County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Gila River Internment Center - Rivers, Arizona

 
 
Rivers, Arizona Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 15, 2010
1. Rivers, Arizona Marker
Inscription.
Rivers, Arizona
Gila River Indian Community land was selected by the United States Government as one of ten camp sites and construction was started without the permission of the community. The permit for the United States Government to use the tribal land was reluctantly granted on October 7, 1942, two months after the internees were moved in.

The Gila River Indian community brought claims against the United States in 1971 for failure to comply with the terms of the permit agreed to in 1942. Damages were finally awarded to the community in 1976.

The War Relocation Authority designated this site as Rivers, Arizona in honor of Jim Rivers, the first Pima Indian killed in action during World War I.

The center was closed in November, 1945 and Rivers, Arizona became only a name in history. The former internees, The Arizona Chapter of Japanese American Citizens, League and Friends who organized and funded these commemoratives, sincerely appreciate the permission and cooperation of the Gila River Indian Community in allowing these dedications.
Canal Camp
Soon after the beginning of World War II President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. This order directed the removal of 110,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents from the West Coast of the USA. Over, 13,000 were sent to the Gila River Internment Center made up of Canal and Butte Camps located on the Gila River Indian Community land.
Canal Camp
The construction
Close-Up of Photos on Rivers, Arizona Marker image. Click for full size.
2. Close-Up of Photos on Rivers, Arizona Marker
Top Photo:
Canal Camp 1943
Bottom Photo:
Memorial at Butte Camp 1944
of the Canal Camp began on May 5, 1942. The first internees arrived on July 20, 1942. The population of 5,400 was at its peak on August 21, 1942. The majority of the internees were from central California.

Canal High School graduated 97 seniors in 1944. The schools in both camps were accredited by the Sate of Arizona. Canal High published a bi-weekly newspaper "High Tide" and an annual year book called "Rivulet".

Over 1,100 loyal citizens from both camps served in the U. S. Armed Services. A plaque honoring those that served and those that died for their country is located at the Butte Camp Memorial.

Up to 8,000 acres adjacent to the Canal Camp were farmed growing 42 different varieties of vegetables as well as live stock. A dehydration plant, a cannery and vegetable packing shed were also located near the Canal Camp. Nearly 1,000 internees from both camps worked on the farms.

Canal Camp was closed in October, 1945. The Monument Committee gratefully acknowledges the permission granted by the Gila River Indian Community to erect these monuments on their land.
Dedicated March 18, 1995


Gila River Internment Center
July 20, 1942 November 16, 1945

Four and one half miles south of this location, remains what was the Gila River Internment Center.

The Center, composed of two camps, was one of ten internment centers established during World War II to incarcerate 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, the majority being American citizens. They were placed
Canal Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 15, 2010
3. Canal Camp Marker
behind barbed wire under armed military guards without charge, trial or establishment of guilt. A total of 16,655 internees were incarcerated during various periods from 1942 to 1945 in Gila River, Canal Camp #1 and Butte Camp #2. These camps are reminders of how racism, economic and political exploitation, and expediency can undermine the constitutional guarantees of United States citizens and permanent resident aliens alike. The injustices and humiliation suffered here must never recur.

Displays, panels and photographs can be found inside the Museum of the Arts and Crafts Center as well as monuments located at the two camp sites. These stand as constant reminders that we must be ever vigilant that constitutional rights are protected for all in our struggle for a more perfect union.

Butte Camp
Soon after the beginning of World War II President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. This order directed the removal of 110,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents from the West Coast of the USA. Over 13,000 were sent to the Gila River Internment Center made up of Canal and Butte Camps located on the Gila River Indian Community land.
Butte Camp
Internees began to arrive at Butte Camp on August 21, 1942. The population of 8,301 was at its peak on March 21, 1943. The majority of the internees were from Central Los Angles and the South Coastal regions of California.

The main center hospital was located at Butte Camp with an annex and clinic located at Canal Camp. The hospital had a 250 bed capacity.
Photo Displayed on the Canal Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
4. Photo Displayed on the Canal Camp Marker
Five churches of Buddhist and Christian denominations were established. Other services such as a canteen, shoe repair shop, etc. were also available.

Butte High School graduated 136 seniors in 1944. The high school published a newspaper "Desert Sentinal" and an annual year book called "Years Flight." A total of 872 students graduated high school from both camps in 1943, 1944, and 1945.

The center newspaper "Gila News Courier" was published up to tri-weekly with a Japanese section and was operated by the internees.

The Butte camp and the Gila River Internment Center were officially closed on November 16, 1945.

The Monument committee gratefully acknowledges the permission granted by the Gila River Indian Community to erect these monuments on their land.
Dedicated March 18, 1995

Servicemen's Honor Roll
* Japanese * * Americans *
They fight for freedom not for fame
Upon his will he binds a radiant
Vet honor claims them as her own
chain for freedom's sake he is no longer free

While their families were interred at Gila River, many U. S. Citizens of Japanese ancestry volunteered to serve or were inducted into the U. S. Military services. They fought on both the European and Pacific fronts in defense of the United States. Sacrifices were made by these Americans of Japanese ancestry to demonstrate their loyalty to the Untied States of America.

This monument honors all those who served in the U.S. Military during World War II. It was originally dedicated
Site Map Displayed on the Canal Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
5. Site Map Displayed on the Canal Camp Marker
on April 23, 1944 with 458 names. When the center was closed in November 1945 over 1,100 internees had entered the Military Services.

Died serving in the U.S.A. Military Armed Forces, Rivers Arizona

The following list names some of the service men who gave their lives. Some names may be unlisted by choice while others were not located, but they are all equally honored.

Araki, Pfc. Masashi Fujino, S/Sgt. Russel Furukawa, Pvt. Tatsumi Hasimoto, Sgt. John Hiyama, Pvt. Yeiichi Ishida, Pvt, Min Kanada, Pvt. James Kojaku, Pfc. Shaw Komoto, Pfc. Nobuo Kondo, Pvt. Henry Kurokawa, T/4 Ben Masuda, S/Sgt. Kazuo Masumoto, Pfc. George Nishi, Pfc. Takanori Ota, Pvt. George Otani, S/Sgt. Kazuo CMH Sakohira, Pfc. Todd Shikata. T/3 George Takasugi, T/Sgt. Katsumi Teramoto, Sgt. Toshiaki Wakita, Pfc. Masuo Yeto, Pvt. Misuru Yoshihara, Pvt. Makoto
 
Erected 1995 by Arizona Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.
 
Location. 33° 7.05′ N, 111° 51.133′ W. Marker is near Gila River, Arizona, in Pinal County. Marker can be reached from Casa Blanca Road 0.6 miles east of Interstate 10. Touch for map. Marker is in the parking lot for the Gila River Indian Reservation Cultural Center, now closed. Marker is in this post office area: Bapchule AZ 85121, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. In Memory of the Men of St. Peter's Mission (approx.
Gila River Internment Center Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 15, 2010
6. Gila River Internment Center Marker
1.9 miles away); Gila River Indian Reservation (approx. 6.5 miles away); Gadsden Purchase (approx. 6.5 miles away); Dedicated to Ira H. Hayes USMC (approx. 6.7 miles away); Dedicated to the Memory of Matthew B. Juan (approx. 6.7 miles away); Honoring Native American Women Veterans (approx. 6.7 miles away); Military Order Purple Heart of the U.S.A. (approx. 6.7 miles away); a different marker also named Gila River Indian Reservation (approx. 7.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gila River.
 
Regarding Gila River Internment Center - Rivers, Arizona. The Canal and Butte Camps sites are sacred to the tribe; therefore public access is restricted. "No Trespassing" signs are posted and a permit must be obtained from the Gila River Indian Tribe to visit either site.
 
Also see . . .  Gila News Courier. News letter about the interment camps. (Submitted on August 17, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona.) 
 
Additional keywords. Japanese WWII Internment Camps
 
Categories. Native AmericansWar, World II
 
Photos Displayed on Gila River Internment Center Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner
7. Photos Displayed on Gila River Internment Center Marker
Upper Photo:
Monument at Canal Camp Site
Center Photo:
Memorial at Butte Camp Site
Lower Photo:
Monument at Butte Camp Site
Butte Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 15, 2010
8. Butte Camp Marker
Photo Displayed on the Butte Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
9. Photo Displayed on the Butte Camp Marker
Servicemen's Honor Roll Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 15, 2010
10. Servicemen's Honor Roll Marker
Rivers, Arizona Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, August 15, 2010
11. Rivers, Arizona Markers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 17, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 4,640 times since then and 195 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on August 17, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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