Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Bob Fuchigami Interview
Narrator: Bob Fuchigami
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 14, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-fbob-01-0027

<Begin Segment 27>

RP: You shared a story last night with me about, regarding the, the fact that Amache had no gymnasium facilities for basketball games and that on occasion you --

BF: Oh, when... there were things that were happening when camp first opened. The... later on they had the high school with the gym and all that. But when they first started they didn't, they didn't have a gym. But the Granada schools made their gym, high school gym, available for, for the Granada high, for the Amache high school team to play or some of the other intramural teams. So, in order to, to utilize that, that offer, the team and the, and the spectators would have to walk down there, it was over a mile, to Granada. And then they would play the game, and then the team and the spectators would have to walk back to Amache. And Amache was, was a mile square, so if some of the members of the team lived up in the upper end, they'd have to walk two miles or more. Which was... people didn't think about that at that time, but they, because that was the only way they could, they could watch a basketball game. And sometimes they would play Granada high school team, for example. And there were some other teams that, that they were able to play in neighboring towns, like Holly. And later on when they, when they were able to build the high school, they could play other teams in, not only in basketball, but they could play football and baseball and I remember where there was one community nearby, they were down the road at Las Alamos -- or Las Animas, and they had enough Japanese who were not in Amache to form a team. So there was... it was a Japanese American team from Amache and a Japanese American team from Las Animas that played baseball, I know.

RP: They competed against each other?

BF: Yeah.

RP: How ironic.

BF: Yeah. And...

RP: How far was Las Animas from the camp?

BF: Oh gosh. There was couple a towns down the road, La Junta and Las Animas, they weren't that far apart, but... they were maybe twenty-five, thirty miles? The other thing that I remember about Las Animas was that Amache's buried there. Amache for whom that camp was named. She was an Indian princess who married a fellow named John Prowers. And John Prowers became a, a wealthy cattleman. He wasn't before, I mean, he just had this little ranch. And Amache's folks, her, her father was massacred at Sand Creek and the survivors of that massacre were given like 160 acres or whatever as compensation. And, it, a lot of that land was just sagebrush and cactus and stuff like... but there were some good bottom land. And Amache, because she was married to, to John Prowers, was able to get a good piece of land along the Arkansas river and her mother also got land. And John Prowers was smart enough to not only get her, her land and her mother's land, but I think there was some other choice pieces and pretty soon he owned all that bottom land between Las Animas and, and that whole lower Arkansas region. So... and he ran cattle and became a very wealthy man and became so prominent that when they split Bent County, which is a large county, into two, they, they named that new section of the land Prowers, for John Prowers. And that's how come you have Prowers County and then when it came time to name the camp, Amache's, one of his daughters, I think, was still living in Lamar at that time and so they named the camp for Amache. And Amache eventually died and she's buried in Las Animas.

RP: Great connection.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.