Priscilla Wegars

Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Road Workers at the Kooskia Internment Camp

The Kooskia (KOOS-key) Internment Camp is an obscure and virtually forgotten World War II Immigration and Naturalization Service detention facility that was located on the present Highway 12 between Lewiston, Idaho and Missoula, Montana, parallel to the wild and scenic Lochsa River. Unrelated to the War Relocation Authority’s Minidoka Concentration Camp for West Coast families in southern Idaho, near Hunt, the Kooskia Internment Camp held “enemy aliens” of Japanese ancestry from Idaho, other states and Mexico as well as Japanese kidnapped from Peru and Panama. “Digging in the documents” has yielded photographs, letters, and other records. These, combined with internee and employee interviews, illuminate the internees’ experiences.