APEX Hour at SUU

10/8/20: Exploring the Archeology of the Amache Japanese Internment site with Dr Bonnie Clark

Episode Summary

In this week’s episode, Dr Bonnie Clark of the University of Denver joins host Lynn Vartan to talk about her years of work at the Amache Internment site in Colorado. They discuss the landscape, the gardens, and the community building that has come from this kind of living archeology study. Enjoy!

Episode Notes

Transcript and video of Dr. Clark's discussion on campus can be found at: https://www.suu.edu/apex/2020/10-08-clark.html 

Episode Transcription


Lynn Vartan: Hey everyone, this is Lynn Vartan and you are listening to the APEX Hour on K-SUU Thunder 91.1. In this show, you get more personal time with the guests who visit Southern

Utah University from all over, learning more about their stories and opinions beyond their presentations on stage. We will also give you some new music to listen to and hope to turn you

on to some new sounds and new genres. You can find us here every Thursday at 3pm or on the web at suu.edu/apex, but for now, welcome to this week's show, here on Thunder 91.1.



Lynn Vartan: Okay. Well, welcome everyone. This is such a pleasure, because we are doing a show remotely and we have our guests zooming in. It's been another great day for APEX here on SUU's campus and you're listening as you've heard to KSUU Thunder 91.1. Today, I am joined by Dr. Bonnie Clark, who is an archaeologist, anthropologist, and great study of the Colorado landscape. She gave a wonderful presentation earlier. And we're going to talk more about it. So welcome into the studio, Dr. Clark.



Bonnie Clark: Thanks. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be on the radio.



Lynn Vartan: That's so cool. I think that you said earlier, this might be one of your first few first radio experiences.



Bonnie Clark: Well, I have to say I was interviewed for Colorado public radio, a couple of times, but you know that's not live so it is a different experience. And it didn't intersperse it with, you know, like, you know, hits like "If You Like Pina Coladas."



Lynn Vartan: Right. That was the song that was playing just to now and it was really fun. Well, to get started and Dr. Clark, I would love for you to tell us a little bit about what you do. And of course, the big project that you've really been dedicating your life and your research to over the last few years.



Bonnie Clark: So I am a historical archaeologist, so I do the same things that other archaeologists do. So I go out in the middle of nowhere and we walk around and we look for the physical evidence of people's behavior and sometimes we might open up excavation units and dig through the dirt to find that and sometimes we're looking up on like, you know, cliff walls to look for rock art. So I do all the same things that other archaeologists do, but I do them for more recent time periods when we also have written records. And right now, my project I've moved so far into the present that I am working on a site where I have survivors. So I work at the site of the Japanese American incarceration camp in southeastern Colorado. And so I have the absolute privilege of being able to work with people who remember their time in that camp, as well as the descendants of people who were there, so that adds this whole new twist to archaeology and makes it a little closer to one of the other branches of anthropology, which is cultural anthropology ethnography.



Lynn Vartan: So how did you get in, not specifically to this project, but even to archaeology in general? I'm always curious. I mean, were you somebody who was kind of excavating in your backyard and digging around or just a within some incident or how did, how did you get drawn as a young person to this work?



Bonnie Clark: You know, I am in many ways, a sort of accidental archaeologist, I mean, I think like a lot of people. I used to, you know, my brother and I used to hide things for each other in the sandbox and they would dig them up. And that was kind of fun.

But, uh, I had a very kind of different path when I got my undergraduate degree at the University of Utah and I kind of bounced around between a couple of different majors and I just happened to sort of stumble on anthropology and really loved it.

But I was kind of drawn more to the cultural anthropology side of things, although I did, you know, it took a couple of archaeology classes and I really enjoyed them and then when I graduated in 1990, there was a big pipeline project that was passing actually it was the current river pipeline. It came very near Cedar, we spent some time living at Cedar with the crews and so I started doing archaeology because I could get a job. I was being paid and it was really in the doing of archaeology that I fell in love with it. And I realized that basically I was getting paid to hike and look for, like, cool things that people had forgotten about. And then when I learned about historic archaeology, where I could add in that kind of kind of critical look at historic documents as well, I was totally sold.



Lynn Vartan: Oh, that's so cool. Well, I was just so curious in hearing some of the talks. I mean, you have to do lots of sketches, you have to interact with people a lot socially. And I just wondered if you could kind of comment on this skill set that maybe people don't think of, you know, in terms of archaeological work. I mean, people think of, you know, going and digging, but

your work is filled with so much more. Of course that, but also that I mean you do a lot of drawing and you do a lot of social interactions, and I, I just wondered about some of those other skills, if you could kind of share the ones that you've learned along the way.



Bonnie Clark: Well, I will, I will say, I'm not much of an artist. But I have had to learn how to do scaled drawings both doing maps and then artifact illustrations, you know, just so that I can know what's on there and I had a former student of mine who was working on a project revisiting some sites that I had recorded back when I was working for current river and she said, "I looked down and I realized that you had drawn the map." And I said, "Was it ugly but accurate?" And she said, "Yeah." I said, "Yeah, that's my maps." So, I mean, you don't have to be absolutely perfect at everything. And that's one of the reasons why we work in teams because then we bring in and we draw from the expertise of other people. So, but, but really, kind of, you know, listening and actually learning to take a step back and really kind of listening in an active way. And, um, you know, sort of that is really important. And so much of my work has kind of filled with these sort of like a lot of times field stories things that happened at the time. And so one of the things that is a really important skill is that I think, important for every kind of active learning is that reflective piece. So that is that you you document that then you also sort of sit back and think, "What did I just see? What does it mean?" And so when I'm in the field. I always have my field journal with me, but I also, um, so I jot things down during the day. But I sit down every night and I write down sort of what happened. And then at the end of the week. I do the same thing. I read through the whole week and then I do a kind of reflective piece at the end of the week. And then that also helps me prep for next week. So I like, well, the same time I'm writing all that down, then I'm writing a list of what I need to be thinking about next week.



Lynn Vartan: That's so cool. I never thought of that. Do you do set aside a block of time, like is it kind of part of your schedule to sit down at the end of the week to do that?



Bonnie Clark: It is and when I'm doing fieldwork. I often do that on the if I can, if I'm with somebody else if I've got like one of my crew chiefs who can drive, then I often do that on the drive. And then we're also kind of talking and processing on that too. So that's a really important kind of work time for us.



Lynn Vartan: If that's something that it because that's sort of writing, journaling, tracking, is that something that came natural to you? Is that something you kind of had to work into being able to do, or was it sort of an unnatural thing?



Bonnie Clark: Well, I've actually always been a journaler, but um, this is a different kind of journaling, because you know these journals actually, like they're part of the record at the site. And so I often tell my students like, "Don't complain about the person sitting next to you," who's digging. You know, like in your field journal. I don't want to know about that and people in the future don't want to know about that. So if you want to, if you feel that you need to express that, then have a separate journals. So this is like your journal about what's going on. Um,

But that, but it's, you know, journaling is an important part of a skill for almost all anthropologists who end up I think, any field researchers and so I certainly, I learned in part by watching what other people did and really a lot. I'm kind of teaching other people how to do it. So I do, you know, in many of my classes and not just archaeology classes, but almost all of my classes that have a field or expeditionary learning component. I have my students, keep journals.



Lynn Vartan: I see. Okay, well, I'd love to start talking about Amache and for anybody listening, can you give us just sort of a few minutes, just snapshot, what is and where is Amache?



Bonnie Clark: So Amache is one of the 10 confinement sites where the families of Japanese ancestry were placed during World War II. There were also some other camps, Justice Center camps, and those were sort of individual people. But when you think about families, grandmas, and kids, the whole thing that happened at these 10 camps. So one of them is Topaz which is, you know, not quite 200 miles north of Cedar out in the desert, and then Amache is also in the desert, but it's the high Colorado High Plains desert so it's actually, I joked with my friends that if they need to drive to Kansas and then turn around, because it's really only about 12 miles from the Kansas border. And so it has that big open prairie feeling.



Lynn Vartan: And how long were people living there for those who maybe aren't as fresh on their history? How long was that place occupied?



Bonnie Clark: So people are first sort of getting rounded up in the fall of 1942, just as the US is getting involved in World War II. They get to the camps in the sometime during the summer and then they're there until, most of them until the end of 1945, which is when it became clear that the war was going to be over. And there was a woman who's case before the Supreme Court was brought up and it was the only one of the cases that actually any of the Japanese Americans won and they said that people who were like her conceded to be loyal to the United States could not be held any longer. But at first they couldn't go back to the exclusion zone. They couldn't go back to the Pacific Coast, which is where they were taken from, so lots of people we moved into the middle part of the country and places like Utah and Colorado their Japanese American population rose a lot because of that. So people had been here, they've made connections and they didn't have places and they, many of them didn't have any place to go back. So it's a really a very Western story and it's a tough story and it's one of the questions that people sometimes asked me is how did I get in interested in in Japanese American history and what I have to say is that this is our history, like we made this together. Because if people had stood up for their fellow citizens, this wouldn't have happened. So it's an American, it's one of our democratic tragedies and it's one that we have to keep them in mind because it's a dangerous precedent.



Lynn Vartan: Yeah, absolutely. And of course, one can't help but make some parallels to some of the things that we see in here, even now, and worry about the potential of repeating these horrible things.



Bonnie Clark: Well, I have to say the various different Japanese American organizations and particularly the Japanese American Citizens League, yhey are like the Anti Defamation League, they are on the lookout for people who are being scapegoated because they know what that's like. And they know how dangerous it is. And so like after 9/11 when there was talk about rounding up Muslims, they were very vocal in reminding people that we had done that before and that it was a bad idea.



Lynn Vartan: Right. You mentioned the exclusion zone. And I think it's really interesting, most of the people who were in these camps were in these locations were essentially from the very, very, very Pacific Coast up and down California, Central California as well. And can you talk to us a little bit about that and also why were the 10 sites chosen? I know there's some very interesting thoughts and theories behind why those sites.



Bonnie Clark: So, um, yeah. So essentially what happened was, it was sort of a fight between the Navy and the army and the Naval Intelligence after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese military and they actually been kind of because there was the Japanese had been involved in a war in Russia. And so they were kind of more of a military force at the time. And so they've been, you know, there was intelligence going on and the Navy really noted that the Japanese immigrants who have chosen to come to the US and and also their citizen children who made up two thirds of that population were working suitably loyal and that they were like, they did not pose a any kind of security threat, but there were louder voices that had been, you know, kind of building for a long time, of kind of anti Asian sentiment that things like anti like laws that they couldn't own land, which had been passed in California. And then once it happened in California. It happened in Oregon and Washington. And so, but but because you know the, basically, you know, there's this concept that a lot of you know geographers and and social scientists talk about, which is a diaspora. You know, the people who are from a place and who are kind of spread across. So the Japanese diaspora at the time was really a Pacific Rim diaspora. So that's why I mean, the vast majority of Americans of Japanese descent were living along the rim of the Pacific. And so that's, but then of course, there's a closer proximity to the troops and movements in the ocean. And so that was the sort of band that was drawn on a map and then everybody had to, everybody was rounded up who who was Japanese ancestry, who lived in those, including you know like old ladies and in one really heartbreaking case, kids who were in orphanages were all put together in mans and are in the children's village.



Lynn Vartan: Right, right. And these locations, you know, tend to be pretty desert generally, and pretty horrible landscape. At first it seems.



Bonnie Clark: Yeah, you know, well, so essentially they needed to be sort of land that wasn't really being used, um, they needed to be far away from munitions plants or any other kind of industry that was related to the war, they needed to be away from any large population centers but they had to be on railroad lines. So they looked and they also didn't want them to be at least have land that was productive enough that people could farm and so that they weren't putting a stress. I mean, we were already in a time of food shortage and rationing. And so they wanted these camps to not be too much of a drain on the American food supplies. So those were sort of what they had. And so it was really kind of left overland a lot of fun and much of it had been was generally undeveloped and not super habitable. So like in Amache down along the Arkansas River, which is the valley that it's in, it's pretty good soil and they can get water and irrigated off of the river, but Amache is is a little further south on there and it's basically on this giant stabilized sand dune and so it was really only good for anything but but grazing and probably not a whole lot of, you know, animals per acre up there. So it was a parcel that they found, and they also wanted to spread them out. So, you know, most states, with the exception of California, most states only had one if they had a camp at all. So, um, You know, so like Utah has one, Colorado has one, Wyoming has one, Oregon has one, Idaho has one, you know.



Lynn Vartan: I see. Cool. Well, that gives us a great kind of landscape to build off of. And it's time for our first musical break and maybe when we come back we can get into some more specifics about what you're finding that lead you to there. But first, we have a song. And so this song that I'm going to play for you is called "All I Need." And it's from an artist called Indigo Sparke and check it out, see what you think. You're listening to KSUU Thunder 91.1. 



Lynn Vartan: All right. Well, welcome back everyone. This is KSUU Thunder 91.1. My name is Lynn Vartan and you are listening to the APEX Hour. I am joined by Dr. Bonnie Clark, who is an archaeologist, and has done her work most recently at the Amache facility in Colorado and we're going to talk a little bit more about how the occupants of that site living there transform their world and how she has been able to find out about all of those stories through her work. So, welcome back. Dr. Clark. 



Bonnie Clark: Thank you. Thanks for having me.



Lynn Vartan: So I would love to know, I mean, I, I've been hearing a little bit, you know, in different class visits here and there, but you just found some amazing things, you know, with regards to the soil, you know, and how these Japanese Americans grew gardens, fruits, and vegetables, but from this incredibly inhospitable landscape. So I'd love for you to talk a bit about your findings and Particularly with regard to that, how, how those families really transform that landscape and that soil.



Bonnie Clark: Well, and I will say it was kind of the gardens that really drew me to one of them, one of the main things that drew me to the site to begin with. When I had read a sort of report of some preliminary work that had been done out there and I and I am, I've always been interested in sort of landscape archaeology, so to think about sort of the way that people live in relationship to nature and so through the, the way that those kinds of, you know, feedbacks happen. And so, and I knew that, you know, 60% of Japanese Americans before World War II made their living growing things. So these are some people with some mad skills and they had been actually growing and also not very hospitable places in California. They were often and kind of left overland and I knew that they had done things like they were growing celery and nobody ever grown celery at a large scaling in Colorado before and so I really, as we started to set out on the project, I wanted to keep an eye out for the ways that they were transforming the landscape. One of the main ways is through planting trees because the area was entirely bulldoze the high plains trees don't naturally grow up there. But there were, you know, there's thousands of trees up there and so as we start to look at the trees, I would look at the tree and then I would see there's a little ring of rock around it and I was like, "Oh, you know what, there's probably other things that are being planted," and that, you know, went quickly. It took us a while, but we've kind of learned to recognize what these gardens looks like because they're, you know, a garden 70 years on doesn't always look like a garden, right, and so, um, and so there's so many of them that are obvious. And I think that there's a lot more. I mean, we know there are probably thousands of gardens up there and there's probably more and so some that are really, you know, we might have like one little rock that doesn't belong there on the surface. And then when we dig. It's like, oh, wow, look there's this whole garden going on underneath it. And when we do that, what we do is this really intensive garden archaeology approach where Where I tell my students all the time that the soil out there is an artifact. And what I mean by that is an artifact is something that is either made or modified by humans. So this is not the soil that was there when they showed up because the soil that they were there was just sand. It had almost no to nutrient value to it. It's not the kind of stuff that is good for growing anything, the water just runs all the way through. And so what our soil chemistry analysis tells us is that there's higher levels of all the kinds of nutrients that are good for growing soils. So there's higher nitrogen, there's higher phosphorus, there's higher organic carbon, there's higher calcium. There's iron and not all of them, but we see these numbers, and it's almost always though higher in these gardens than it is in outside areas. And then when we really look at as both were excavating very carefully, but also as we are processing soil and sometimes even just in the lab later on. And what we've discovered all these little soil amendments like crumbled up eggshell which adds calcium and also helps to deter pests. We find little pieces of iron slag that we think come from the blacksmith shop and but I and, I also had a student, graduate student who was the one who first identified it and she did some research and concrete, which is what all the barracks were built out of the barracks foundations, on the burst themselves wooden structures, but the foundations were concrete, concrete, iron out of the soil. So the people who put this iron flag back in new and, in particular, you want iron rich soil. If you're going to grow roses and we've actually have a lot of rose pollen that we've recovered and there's one still rose that is hanging on that is still growing out at Amache.



Lynn Vartan: Oh my gosh, that's amazing. That's so cool. So they just they found ways to make it work. I mean, what a testament of resilience in that way.



Bonnie Clark: Yeah, absolutely. And I have to say, I had a, when I first started working on it, I had lots of collaborators from again, soil scientists who kind of helped talk me through it and one woman in particular, Erica Marines Liotta who is from the University of Madison, Wisconsin, and she looked at the pictures from the Amache agricultural fair and she's like, "There's no way those people could grow those kinds of crops and flowers and vegetables in this soil if it was not a mountain."



Lynn Vartan: Right, for sure. And one of the other things that I've been fascinated to learn about is you can learn- I'm like what was going on? I feel like you learn where the hotspots were or maybe like there was a party zone kind of that it seemed that developed. I wonder if you could talk about that so that depiction that you unearthed. And that's just so fascinating to me to be looking in 2020 and have this image of this little evening party zone in this place.



Bonnie Clark: Well, and here's the thing is that, I've also, you know, I've done enough archaeology, I can tell you, I know where the party spots are, you know, for like the last 10,000 years. I mean, really, when people have parties. There's a bunch of stuff that happens. And there's physical evidence of it. Um, and so we had one in one block. It was actually the first garden that we ever excavated in the public space of this of this block. So it's a, it's a garden that I've really realized had like, probably two lives that had like, during the day because from the first artifacts that we found with this cute little plastic Beretta, like a little girl's, and we have pictures of families in this garden that we that we found later on. But somebody who found out we were interested in that garden actually sent us pictures from his scrapbook, but then we also found. Um, so we'd heard that from someone who had been like a young teenager in the block that his block which was mostly people from LA had lots of single women who had been independent and had been like waitresses and had like lived the life in LA, and they were urban and savvy and cosmopolitan, and they smoke cigarettes and threw parties and it was the very next weekend after I'd heard that story that were excavating in this garden and we come across this file of blood red fingernail polish and all I could think of was like the ladies of nine L like hanging out in the garden. And having a party and we also found evidence of just probably like the last party. Yeah, I'm in this block, but we found the base to a sake jug. We found a couple of cups that were appropriate for sake drinking and they had been there and they were like, right at the base of this tree that provided shade to like the nine out part spot.



Lynn Vartan: That is so, it's so beautiful to think about. I mean, I know it's, it's a traumatic time but to think about these this beautiful story and this party and how we can kind of glimpse into it and even find nail polish. That's just amazing. Do you have any favorite, I mean, that's probably a favorite story, but do you have any other kind of stories or areas that that sort of have that type of feel to them?



Bonnie Clark: Well, um, so one of my really favorite things was that we found the foundation to what we thought was probably a traditional Japanese bathing tub. So it's like a hot tub. So you're clean before you get into it. But then there's an area where you kind of undress and you wash and then you get into this tub and so because we had this foundation and it was full of coal, which is what you would use to sort of heat. The but I but then I did a bunch of work. I actually, I got to go to Hawaii. There's such a you know a huge concentration of Japanese, Hawaiian sites and and it was a place where I could go and see what these kinds of the foundations for these traditional tubs would look like. So I found some that were working. And then I also found some at some archaeological on some plantation sites. And so I knew that what we needed to have was a place to get underneath there and clean that call out if that's what we really had, um, And so, which we actually found the very last day in the field, which was fantastic, but we clearly like one area had all the coal like bigger chance. And it also had cool things like Like bottle caps and we found a little piece of a cup and and like bobby pins and stuff. So it was like the little stuff that you would live. So basically, people are sitting in the tub and they're drinking Coca Cola or, um, you know, having a little snack and then we end up area. Next, it was more just sort of like the ash that kind of had flowed out from there. And then we found this bundle of toiletries And this, you know, kind of soaking in these tubs is very traditional, it goes back, you know, thousands of years in Japan. It was something that rural families in particular, many of them didn't have running water. And so this was an important place where people could kind of so can have some family time and I'm or even some me time and so as we were working with that with two amazing things happen. One was that a gentleman who is a professional photographer and he was a little kid and camp. I was about to kind of explain to my crew how a photo works, and he just jumped in and he like my pantomime, the whole thing. Like, here's where you stand. And here's where you wash off. And then you get in the tub and then he pointed out something that I've really been puzzling about but I didn't know the answer to, which was that there were two different materials that were used for the foundation and he says, "I think that you needed this stronger area over here to hold the weight of the tub and this other was a less robust foundation and that could have just held like where the dressing area." And then it was and that was totally how it turned out. Because then when we dug we found the toiletries in the area that he predicted and we, you know, found all the big chunks of the charcoal in the other. And then one night. We sat down to talk about oh four rows with we had four volunteers that summer for other volunteers who had been in camp as little kids, and one of them remembered being with her mother and her auntie. And that it was open to the air and they sat there and they looked at the stars, and she said it was this really pleasant experience and a kind of bonding experience. And when she talked about that. It's like suddenly all the work that had gone into making that made sense to us. And it's also, you know, they're not many moments and people look back on that were like really super pleasant moments in camp. When we were able to help her kind of reclaim that, and she helped us confirm that in fact there, we should be finding those out the site because she remembers being soaking in one of these times.



Lynn Vartan: Beautiful. Thank you for that story I'd love to get into the community aspect of it. And when we come back, but it's already time for our next musical moment. I have another song for you. And this song is called "Miroloï" and the artist is Christos Soto's Z-O-T-O-S, check it out, see what you think. You are listening to KSUU Thunder 91.1.



Lynn Vartan: All right. Well, welcome back. So that song, it was called "Miroloï" and the artist is Christos Zotos. And just a reminder that if you're interested in any of the music that you hear on the APEX Hour is on our website at suu.edu/apex. We have a Played on APEX Hour Spotify list. So all the songs that I played on the show are there and it's a open public playlist that you can subscribe to and check out all the new music and you can also find all of the information about our events there so that's suu.edu/apex. Welcome back into the studio, Dr. Bonnie Clark.



Bonnie Clark: Thanks.



Lynn Vartan: All right, well, I want to talk about some of the community aspects you talk about, how this is kind of a new way of looking at archaeology, we think about archaeologists going way back in the past, but you're very much dealing with a living history, a living, breathing history and people who were there, or had family members there and that that has kind of changed things for you. So I'd love for you to get into a little bit on the community aspect and what that means for this project. I know your volunteers tend to be family members and you really want people just come back to, to the place and and wonder if you could just talk about all of that aspect of it.



Bonnie Clark: Well, I have to admit that and this is where, you know, starting a project like this by going out and talking to people about why this place matters and. And what about it matters made us you know we've connected to lots of people who cared about this place and and the gentleman that I was talking about earlier. Gary, the photographer. He was volunteering at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, and I was there for a community meeting and somebody told Gary that I was there and he came and found me and he said, "I was at Amache as a little boy and I'm a photographer. Would you like, can I come out and take pictures for you?" And I was like, "Wow, that's amazing." And I was really kind of surprised I didn't expect it.

Really because, you know, I've been at this meeting for everybody was talking about how terrible camp was right. You know, it's hot, and it's dry, and it's windy and, you know, and we knew that we'd been taken from our homes and it was hard, and it was stressful, you know, um, and I thought, why would anybody want to come back. And um, but Gary wanted to come and he asked if he could bring his grandson. And I was like, "Wow, that's great." So to see that inter-generational by bringing his grandson and so Gary's been back twice with two different grandsons and watching that. Because when Gary was telling us about how the photo worked, he's also telling his grandson right he's sharing this heritage with him. And there's this concept in anthropology about both tangible and intangible heritage. So when I do archaeology, I'm finding tangible heritage. But when you're doing it with the community, you're also eliciting that intangible heritage that makes the tangible make much more sense and just enriches it and gives it more, we understand its significance and it's us so much more. And so I really like being able to do work where we're kind of can do that iterative thing. And where we find things in the field and then it raises questions and then we ask our community in our community comes back and maybe they have different, you know, ideas and and we continue to kind of have that happen. So the community aspect of it is really important. It's just been so valuable for us. And it's been valuable for our partners. And I think it's why they keep coming back. Why they bring their kids where they send their grandkids to come work with us. And because again this is a heritage. I mean, many people just wanted to put it behind them. It is embarrassing basically to have to be singled out and you know, and, and many Japanese Americans were like, you know, it happened. And we just don't want to talk about it. So there was a sort of a generation that didn't talk about it. Being able to go back and experience that place allows them So, you know, I don't know, like the the horror movies that scared me the most are the ones where you really never see the monster. It's just like whatever scary thing is in your head and so folks get to come and they get to kind of slay those dragons, a little bit because It's like life was hard, but it was also life you know kids drink. Kids sat in a hot tub and drink Coca Cola and they played basketball against each other and they fell in love and they grew gardens and to sort of see that resiliency that we see in the ground, it helps people and it reminds them how strong their community is.



Lynn Vartan: Fantastic. Well, and I imagine that there's that sharing with the next generation, too. So, you know, was a generation that maybe didn't speak about it, but through this work and through the gentle treatment of this land by you and your team, it sounds like people are able to kind of come and start dealing with those memories and maybe even sharing them. And I think you told one story about somebody understanding their family, even better, having seen that place. And I wonder if you could maybe talk a little bit about that sharing that multi generational sharing and then something you were speaking about about place based memory and how memory is triggered in these places and what you've experienced with that.



Bonnie Clark: Yes, so the memory that I shared about one of our volunteers kind of being out there and we're talking about it and it was really being out there that she that it came to her. So I've done a little bit of research. And so essentially when we, when something happens, the place that it happens is part of the the frame for it in our, in our brain. And if we don't ever get back to that place, it's sometimes hard to remember that thing. But when you're back there, these sort of memories can come flooding back in and I've seen it happen, time and time again. And it's really, really powerful. And so, um, and so for people to sort of, you know, this kind of shadowed whispered past for them to be out there and to say "Yes, this happened. This is where my family was. It's this spot and Grandma planted that tree, and it was real. It happened." And so it's, so it's powerful for the people who were there and it's powerful for the people who weren't there, but who are either maybe for the first time they're hearing their grandpa or grandma talk about life and camp and so, I do see, I see a lot that when we get multiple generations out there. I see that share that sharing and so, you know, the folks who were there, or who heard stories of can part sharing those with the younger generations. And then if those young folks are the like the volunteers or the interns that have been working for us, then they also have learned new things that then they get to share with their family, which is really cool because so they can talk about, say, like, here's this. So there's a sort of strategy game called go and we often find the blue tokens. And so, you know, I remember one of our volunteers, our high school volunteers, was like showing this to her grandma, like, "Look, look, we found where it happened. It was right under the shade tree."



Lynn Vartan: And tell me about your volunteers for us. It's a lot of high school, college students, and particularly of Japanese American descent with family directly connected to this place.



Bonnie Clark: So we have, and I have to say it's been supported both through some states through the grant through the History of Colorado, the State Historical Fund, but also through individual donors from the Japanese American community who feel really strongly. So some of our crew members are actually there they are interns and they're being paid to be there. So we either pay them or we pay their tuition and they can take it as a class. And so, and we have like at least one of those set aside every year, one for a local high school student who lives in the town of Grenada and goes to Grenada High and then we have one that's earmarked for descendants of high schoolers, who are descended from people who were at Amache and in the last few years, we've actually been able, we've recruited even more folks. And then I've been able to go back to my community members and say, "I would really like to be able to hire everybody" and I've been able to do that which is great. And so these students, they do really great work. They often, again because they're there then then during our, our, you know, community open house day when we invite members of the community come that often, then that's when we see their older relatives will come and join them. So we might have, you know, so these kids get to, again, share what they've learned with their family and their family shares with them. And then of course there's a lots of other people around to And so, so that we've got those folks and then I've got my college students, you know, some of which come from my own university and others that come from universities all over the country. Then we got graduate students who are doing their thesis work. I've got volunteers who so I asked my volunteers to come for at least a week because so that we can get them trained up and so those volunteers are sometimes, you know, second or third generation. And then we have volunteers who are again camp survivors and we've just been lucky we have these two ladies who have been with us for five field seasons. Well, and, you know, It's so fun to have them there and one of the things that that is great is that we get to learn about living tradition to right and one of the most fun things is that every year on the Fourth of July, one of these ladies teaches all of my crew how to make spam sushi. So we make like a just a massive amount of spam sushi and feed the whole crew.



Lynn Vartan: Wow. Oh my gosh. Well, and the work is ongoing. This is not a project that's complete, you are still going to be out there doing it and you have a lot more to discover, it sounds like.



Bonnie Clark: We sure do.



Lynn Vartan: Cool, well as our time pending comes to a close, and it zoomed by, and I would love to give you a chance to talk about your new book that's coming out. So I'd love for you to tell our audience a bit about it and where they can find it and the depth of it because it really sounds like it can appeal to so many different interests.



Bonnie Clark: I will, thank you. So the book is going to be, it's it's available for pre order already. It's called "Finding Solace in the Soil: An Archaeology of Gardens and Gardeners at Amache" and it's the University Press of Colorado, which is actually associated with the Utah State University Press. Um, and so it is a book that draws together from these, you know, kind of community memories and and photos that people have shared with us of gardens. It brings in the archaeology, so that soil analysis that I talked about. But also, you know, what we find from the pollen and what we find from the seeds of plants. And it brings in some of the history of Japanese gardens going all the way back to sort of where, where did the first Japanese gardens come from.

And have to kind of think about their spiritual import and then I've got a lot of archival data about you know what people's professions were and you know how we can think about what is it different if you have a bunch of nurse, you know, people who know how to grow plants in your block as opposed to people who are all farmers. And so I bring in some of that information. I kind of try to weave it all together into this story and I even have for people who are you know gardeners and an interested in that. I have a list at the back of all the different plants that we found out at Amache. So, you know, people could grow their own Amache inspired garden after they read this.



Lynn Vartan: Oh my gosh, so cool. I mean, that's what's really cool, it's really going deep into the gardening. The gardens of Amache, but also Japanese gardens in history and just, it's a great way to look into this landscape. So, and we'll put a link to it on our website as well and and it's coming out really soon. You must be so excited about that.



Bonnie Clark: Oh, I am and I'm mostly excited because, you know, I've had some of these, my community members who I've spent a long time talking with and and people who spent a lot of time reading the manuscript and giving me feedback. And I'm just going to be so excited to be able to give them a copy, a signed copy of the book. So that's the thing I'm most excited about is to get it back, to get this history back to the people who were so generous to share their stories with me.



Lynn Vartan: That's wonderful. Well, I always close by asking a silly question. Well, it's not silly, but it's just kind of an off topic question and it's just basically something that's turning you on this week. And so it can be anything. It can be a book you're reading, it could be a TV show. It could be a movie. It could be a favorite food that you've been eating, it could be a high, it could be anything at all. But it's just kind of a little extra personal insight for our guests. So Dr. Bonnie Clark, what's turning you on this week?



Bonnie Clark: I am loving the fall colors. I actually just, because you know I did my APEX event. And then in between there,

I went and I got on my bike and I rode around the neighborhood, and they're the, I don't know what it's like in Cedar right now, but here in Denver, the colors are just right at their peak and it was just beautiful. Especially to see the sun stream through the colors and the way they light up, it just, it makes my heart light.



Lynn Vartan: Oh, that's beautiful. What a beautiful way to end. Your last slide in your presentation was a sunset with beautiful colors. So we're ending with a beautiful image of fall colors. So on that note, I would love to just say thank you to you for doing the show with me. I learned so much. Thank you for your time today, and your awesome presentation. I've learned so much about Amache and about your work and about the community building that can come through an archaeological project that's been fantastic. And we'll put up all the links on our website and you can find more about Dr. Clark's work on our website in about a week or so we'll have her archive page put up. So thank you so much. Bonnie, it's been absolutely a pleasure.



Bonnie Clark: Well, and likewise. I've so enjoyed my virtual visit. I sure wish I could be there in person. I love Cedar. It's a great town. So, good job for choosing such a great school, you guys.



Lynn Vartan: All right, well thanks, everyone. We will see you very soon.



Lynn Vartan: Thanks so much for listening to the APEX Hour, here on KSUU Thunder 91.1. You can find us again next Thursday at 3pm for more conversations with the visiting guests at Southern Utah University and new music to discover for your next playlist. And in the meantime, we would love to see you at our events on campus. To find out more, check out suu.edu/apex. Until next week, this is Lynn Vartan saying goodbye from the APEX Hour, here on KSUU Thunder 91.1.