Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mitsuye May Yamada - Joe Yasutake - Tosh Yasutake Interview
Narrators: Mitsuye May Yamada, Joe Yasutake, Tosh Yasutake
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Jeni Yamada (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 8 & 9, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-ymitsuye_g-01-0076

<Begin Segment 76>

AI: And so what do you recall of that trip down from Minidoka down to Lordsburg?

MY: Oh, yeah, that was kind of scary.

TY: Yes, it was. Scary experience.

MY: Because it was after -- that's right, because was the Bataan March --

TY: That was, it was shortly after the Bataan March.

MY: That was in March, right?

TY: And the thing was that --

MY: When we got to Albuquerque --

TY: -- the Bataan March, a lot of National -- a lot of the people in the National Guard from Albuquerque was involved in the Bataan March, and so the feeling was quite high. Anti-Japanese feeling was very high, particularly in the Albuquerque area. And so when we got to Albuquerque --

MY: There were Mexican Americans in Albuquerque?

TY: Pardon?

MY: There were Mexican Americans, I think, or Hispanic, yeah.

TY: Yeah, I'd imagine so. And a priest, Episcopal priest, minister, met us at the station. And when we got in the car, he asked us to crouch in the back of the car, remember?

MY: Yeah, crouch down.

TY: Yeah, crouch down on the floor, back seat of the car. And so I couldn't quite figure out what that was all about, but we --

MY: He didn't explain why, but we --

TY: Yeah, but we go ahead and did it. And once we got to the -- was it parish?

MY: He was a canon of the cathedral of Albuquerque. So, and then he took us, because we met his wife, to his home. To the parish house there. And then we stayed there overnight.

TY: Yeah, what he explained at that time, why he told us to crouch in the back of the car.

MY: Well, I think that was because, I went outside and the air was just so, the place was so beautiful. We had come out of camp, and the mountains, and it was just so gorgeous, I wanted to go out for a walk. And Canon Snyder or something like that.

TY: Snyder, yeah.

MY: Mrs. Snyder? And she said, "Oh no, no, no, you shouldn't do that. You can't go out. You can't go out." And so that was when they explained to us that they didn't want us to be seen. That they were afraid of our safety with, this happened. And they explained that many of the, the natives, the Native Americans and Mexican Americans, I guess, in that area were used as sort of -- they feel that they were used as kind of sacrificial lambs in the army, and that they, and that a very great number of them had died. And it was just very fresh, because it was only a few weeks later that we came along. And that was not very safe for us. And that's when he told us about that. And then the following day, they drove us back to the station. They were very protective, and put us back on the plane -- on the train, to --

TY: To Lordsburg?

MY: To Santa Fe -- was it to Lordsburg?

TY: Yeah.

<End Segment 76> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.