Revelstoke Museum explores Japanese internment in Eagle Pass

Nathan Kunz

Revelstoke Review

With help from recently uncovered information, the Revelstoke Museum and Archives was able to tell a more rounded history of Japanese Internment camps in the region.

Recently obtained photographs and documents along with articles from the Japanese-Canadian newspaper The New Canadian from within the camps helped give the presentation a more accurate depiction of what life was like within the camps.

Curator Cathy English says seeking out different perspectives is important in truly understanding the past.

“History that is easily available can be quite one sided, and I think it’s important to look at other voices,” says English. “We’ve now got these voices of the people that were interned there and the people who knew them there and different perspectives than the official government position or the local newspaper position. I think it’s very important to share those perspectives.”

A presentation, held yesterday as part of the museum’s “Brown Bag History” series, explored the history of Japanese Internment camps put in place by the Canadian Government during the Second World War in the Eagle Pass area.

Held in an upstairs room of the museum to a crowd of around 40 visitors, explored Japanese life during the forced relocation period between 1942 and 1949 in the Eagle Pass area.

Guest presenter Tomoaki Fujimura says that the passing of information to future generation helps ensure history isn’t forgotten.

“If we don’t know the past, we wouldn’t be able to go (towards the) future. We see with people getting older, the information might disappear,” says Fujimura.

Fujimura is currently working on construction of a commemorative roadway sign near Three Valley Gap which will inform tourists on the history of internment camps and Japanese history in the area. The project, set to be completed by the end of September, is part of the 75th anniversary of the camps.

English has hosted the bi-monthly lunch presentation series since 2003. She says presentations such as Wednesday’s offers an opportunity to open up discussions of the past with the community, which is beneficial to exploring the past.

“I think that’s how we learn more about a subject—by exploring it in different ways.”

The next installment of ”Brown Bag History” will be held on May 23 at the Revelstoke Museum & Archives and will explore Revelstoke in the Victorian Era.


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Curator Cathy English, who hosts the bi-monthly “Brown Bag History” presentations, stands in a wing of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives following the event. (Nathan Kunz/Revelstoke Review)

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