Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Tom Ikkanda Interview
Narrator: Tom Ikkanda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: July 18, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-itom-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: What, give us an idea of your activities at the reservoir.

TI: Well, most of the reservoir work that we did was... we had screens, screens across the stream, which we had to go out several times a day to clean. That was our main job, getting clean water in the camp.

RP: And did you also, would you spend a night up there for your shifts?

TI: No. My, our crew was only in the morning to evening.

RP: Morning to evening?

TI: Yeah.

RP: There was another crew that replaced you?

TI: Yes.

RP: Was there ever any guards up there, the military police?

TI: We think they wandered around there once in a while. They never bothered us, 'cause I guess they knew we were working there.

RP: Did you ever catch anybody trying to swim in the reservoir?

TI: No, never did. That water's too cold.

RP: It still is.

TI: Yeah.

RP: But occasionally, would fish get into the reservoir, too?

TI: You know, I don't recall any fish getting in there.

RP: You have the screens.

TI: I think because of the screens.

RP: Some guys talked about actually catching fish with their bare hands, too.

TI: Oh, yeah. That's, that's further down.

RP: Was it?

TI: Yeah. Where they had a, they had a kind of little swimming hole and reservoir right down the Shepherd's Creek, just before it hits the road there. And I think that's where they were talking about seeing the fish.

RP: Sometimes they would divert the water into an irrigation...

TI: Irrigation, yeah.

RP: And then there would be all these fish just stranded out there?

TI: Yeah, yeah. Right. Of course, we didn't go down there. We only had to stay up above.

RP: Were you responsible also for checking the diversion gates, too, where the water was diverted from Shepherd Creek?

TI: No, we never did. Just the upper end only.

RP: Just the upper end.

TI: Yeah.

RP: And was worms, were worms the choice bait for you?

TI: At the beginning, yeah.

RP: What did you switch to later?

TI: Oh, getting salmon eggs from Sears-Roebuck.

RP: Any occasion to use any of the insects as well?

TI: Oh, yeah.

RP: Grasshoppers?

TI: Yeah, we had grasshoppers. That worked. There were small grasshoppers.

RP: Now you were out of camp during the day, and up, right out in the desert there. Do you remember seeing any wildlife at all, coyotes, tule elk, any other animals, snakes, things of that nature?

TI: Oh, we saw snakes, yeah. Only wild animals... well, no, they weren't wild. People used to bring sheep across there, herds of sheep. We see those, but we never really saw any deer, nothing like that.

RP: And the sheep, the sheep would cross above the reservoir?

TI: Yeah. That's when we, they kept us real busy cleaning the screens.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.