Surveying the Material World of the Gila River Incarceration Camp


Global Museum, Fine Arts 203
Refreshments will be served

Over the past two decades, archaeological projects examining the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans have steadily increased, with ongoing research at Manzanar, Amache, Minidoka, Heart Mountain, and the Kooskia Internment Camp. My own work focuses on the Gila River Incarceration Camp in southern Arizona, where my grandparents were imprisoned during the war. Working with the Gila River Indian Community Cultural Resource Management Program, I conducted preliminary surveys of the Gila River Camp, focusing on garden and pond features. We documented more than 300 such features, ranging from small concrete basins to elaborate decorated ponds. These material remains speak to the ingenuity and perseverance of the Japanese American community confined at Gila River, literally transforming the desert landscape. However, careful examination also suggests that there is much more to be learned. In this talk I will provide
an overview of the project at Gila River, highlighting our survey results, and the questions they have raised about life within the incarceration camp.

Koji Lau-Ozawa is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. His research focuses on the archaeology of Japanese migration, and in particular on the Gila River Incarceration Camp. Before attending Stanford, he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh (2011) and his MA from San Francisco State University