In 1942 over 22,000 Canadians of Japanese descent were stripped of their rights and property and interned in camps throughout the interior of BC. The 3rd largest camp and the only one remaining at the end of WW II, was in New Denver, BC. Today, it is home to the Nikkei Memorial Internment Centre, a National Historic Site that houses original internment shacks, historic photos, letters and artefacts. “Telling the Stories of the Nikkei: The history of the Japanese Canadian Internment in New Denver” is a multi-faceted community based project that blossomed out of the Lucerne School in New Denver BC. Grade 11 and 12 students learned about the former internment site with their Social Studies and English teachers, Terry Taylor and Gary Parkstrom. As part of this curriculum, they created short films honouring the history and elders of Japanese ancestry who still reside in New Denver. In addition to this, filmmakers Moira Simpson & Catrina Megumi Longmuir (who taught the film workshops) created several companion films including a documentary about the student projects, and films with community members and elders who share their stories about the internment. Telling the Story of the Nikkei, while deeply rooted in the tiny community of New Denver, encompasses global themes of injustice, racism, displacement, and ultimately human capacities for resilience and forgiveness.

Students of Lucerne School get a tour of the Nikkei Centre with Nobby Hayashi


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