Japanese Americans digging for shells

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ddr-densho-2-47 (Legacy UID: denshopd-p2-00047)

Bain Collection

These individuals are digging for shells to make jewelry, which was a popular pastime for many Japanese Americans in camp. Left to right: Kumataro Nishimura, Kadju Nishimura, Jimmie Yorita, Neal Frost (son of one of the teachers at Tule Lake), and Patsy Yorita. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s. The camp was located on the old lake bed, where people found shells for making jewelry to sell to camp personnel. Shells were scarce, and digging became competitive. To beat the rush, some people got up at sunrise and dug waist-deep holes in order to find the shells. Some had homemade wire sieves for sifting the sand.


Still Image


Courtesy of the Bain Family Collection

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Copyright restricted