Sagebrush trees, slant-eyed Santas and Uncle Sam: Christmas at Minidoka Relocation Center Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Blankenship, Anne
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Religious Studies
  • During the Japanese American internment of World War II, the internees of Minidoka Relocation Center celebrated Christmas with elaborate festivities every year. Christmas became intractably tied to American patriotism throughout the country and within Minidoka during the war. This paper seeks to understand why a community comprised of only a small minority of Christians would celebrate the major holiday of their captors. I show that while some Japanese Americans used Christmas as a way to show solidarity with America during a difficult time, others used the traditional artifacts of the holiday to visually display and protest their poor living conditions and loss of civil rights. The paper systematically examines the material culture of Christmas, particularly cards, gifts, trees and decorations. The analysis of gift giving reveals a complex exchange between internees and the hundreds of church groups outside of the camp that sent presents each Christmas.
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  • In Copyright
  • Maffly-Kipp, Laurie F.
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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