WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument
Tule Lake became a monument along with other segments in Hawaii and Alaska by Presidential Proclamation in December 2008. Tule Lake includes sites in the Tule Lake Basin where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WWII.
In 1943 the U.S. Government developed a loyalty questionnaire that contained two deeply-flawed questions. One concerned willingness to serve in the U.S. armed forces; the other was a disavowal of allegiance to the Japanese Emperor or other foreign government. Those who refused to answer “yes” to either of the two questions or gave qualifying statements such as “if my rights are restored” or “if my family is freed” were labeled “disloyal” and segregated to Tule Lake.
Converted to a high-security Segregation Center in 1943, Tule Lake became the largest of the 10 War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps, imprisoning 18,789 people. It was also the last WRA camp to close remaining in operation seven months after World War II ended.
Another section of Tule Lake monument is Camp Tulelake, a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp. During WWII, after the CCC program ended, the camp was used before segregation to imprison several hundred Japanese American men who protested and refused to answer the loyalty questionnaire. It was used again shortly after segregation to house Japanese American strikebreakers brought in from other WRA camps to harvest the crops that Tule Lake strikers were leveraging to demand better living and working conditions. Between 1944 and 1946 the camp housed German and Italian Prisoners of War who worked for local farmers in the Klamath Basin.
A New Park is being developed so please help us by checking back here often to learn about the planning and public feedback process. As we move forward with development, there will be news about restoration of parts of the Tule Lake site and activities around the history of the wartime incarceration.