Participants at the Twin Cities Teacher Training Workshop included (back row, from left) Miki Kirihara, Gloria Kumagai, Lil Grothe, Sharon Ishii-Jordan, Joyce Miyamoto Faber, Karen Tanaka Lucas, Carolyn Nayematsu, Greg Marutani, Cheryl Hirata-Dulas, Tom Pfannenstiel and (front row, from left) Lucy Kirihara, Yusef Ali, Sylvia Farrells, Edwin (Bud) Nakasone, Abdisalam Adam and Sally Sudo.

By JACL

From their initial commitment to host the Teacher Training Workshop to its conclusion, Education Committee volunteers from the Twin Cities JACL Chapter handled all of the April 24 event’s details with efficiency and commitment, much like the soldiers who attended the Military Intelligence School at Fort Snelling.

Tom Pfannenstiel, site coordinator at Historic Fort Snelling, supported the workshop and “closed” the facility so that the chapter could set up wherever they needed and the teachers in attendance would be able to focus on the day’s important sessions.

The chapter’s cadre of volunteers appeared the day before the workshop to set up the space with a number of displays created by the chapter’s Education Committee that are used whenever they are invited to make a presentation at a school or various social studies conferences.

They then appeared early April 24 to set up the morning’s refreshments and handle the registration table, and they managed the breaks with plenty of snacks and coffee for the teacher participants, followed by a catered lunch. Clean-up duties commenced at the end of the day, where volunteers left the facility in its immaculate condition.

The workshop’s first panel included Edwin (Bud) Nakasone, who served in the MIS; Lucy Kirihara, who along with her family was incarcerated in Minidoka; and Sylvia Farrells, whose family was in Hawaii during World War II.

A second panel featured Abdisalam Adam and Yusef Ali, both from Somalia, who offered their community’s experiences following the Sept. 11 attacks. They acknowledged the significance of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and how the JACL worked to get it passed in Congress and eventually signed by then-President Ronald Reagan.

The teachers also viewed a short film about Historic Fort Snelling, where a slave, Dred Scott, married. They also learned how the fort created an internment camp for the Dakota Indians during the U.S. Dakota War of 1862.

Another workshop highlight came when Nakasone led participants on a special tour of the fort, sharing his more personal experiences with the group while he was stationed there during the war.

Before the teachers left the workshop, they received the JACL Curriculum Guide, a DVD containing excerpts of interviews from Densho’s extensive oral history videos, a copy of the JACL terminology handbook, the MIS Curriculum Guide assembled by the Twin Cities Chapter and they were among the first to see the MIS Photo Exhibit that originated from the National Japanese American Historical Society.

According to Greg Marutani, one of the workshop’s facilitators, “The Twin Cities Chapter, in particular the Education Committee volunteers, demonstrated their organizational skills and their commitment to ensuring as many educators as possible in the state have the opportunity to learn about the MIS, which in turn will bring the story of incarceration [into] view.” He added, “The chapter’s website (www.tcjacl.org) has an exceptional education component.”

This Teacher Training Workshop was made possible through a grant from the Japanese American Confinement Sites of the National Parks Service.