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Historical Archaeology

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 585–599 | Cite as

“Caring for Their Prisoner Compatriots”: Health and Dental Hygiene at the Kooskia Internment Camp

  • Kaitlyn Hosken
  • Kristen Tiede
Original Article
  • 120 Downloads

Abstract

Between 1943 and 1945, the Kooskia Internment Camp (KIC) in north central Idaho was home to 265 Japanese American men. As detainees of the U.S. Department of Justice, these individuals were treated as foreign prisoners of war and were therefore subject to the conditions of the 1929 Geneva Convention, which guaranteed the right to adequate health care. In 1943, the internees created a petition demanding improved health care and recreational opportunities. The remains of oral-hygiene products recovered archaeologically at Kooskia, such as toothpaste tubes, dentures, and mouthwash, and a review of wartime advertisements for these products suggests that dental health was a means of both assimilation into mainstream American culture and maintenance of Japanese ethnic character. This article examines the petition and dental artifacts as acts of “survivance” and “residence” by the Japanese American internees at Kooskia.

Keywords

Kooskia Japanese internment dental survivance 

Extracto

Entre 1943 y 1945, el Kooskia Internment Camp (KIC) en el centro y norte de Idaho fue el hogar de 265 hombres estadounidenses de origen japonés. Como detenidos del Departamento de Justicia de los EE. UU., estos individuos fueron tratados como prisioneros de guerra extranjeros y, por lo tanto, estuvieron sujetos a las condiciones de la Convención de Ginebra de 1929, que garantizó el derecho a recibir una atención médica adecuada. En 1943, los internos crearon una petición para demandar mejores servicios de salud y oportunidades recreacionales. Los restos de productos de higiene oral recuperados arqueológicamente en Kooskia, como tubos de pasta de dientes, dentaduras postizas y enjuagues bucales, y una revisión de los anuncios publicitarios del tiempo de guerra de estos productos, sugieren que la salud dental era un medio tanto de asimilación a la cultura estadounidense como de mantenimiento del carácter étnico japonés. Este artículo examina la petición y los artefactos dentales como actos de “supervivencia” y de “residencia” por parte de los internados estadounidenses de origen japonés en Kooskia.

Résumé

De 1943 à 1945, le camp d’internement Kooskia (KIC) situé au centre-nord de l’Idaho hébergeait 265 hommes japonais américains. En tant que détenus du département américain de la Justice, ces individus étaient traités comme prisonniers de guerre étrangers et conséquemment assujettis aux conditions de la Convention de Genève de 1929, garantissant l’accès à des soins de santé adéquats. En 1943, les détenus ont rédigé une pétition exigeant l’amélioration de leurs soins de santé et de leurs activités récréatives. Les restes de produits d’hygiène buccale récupérés à Kooskia dans le cadre de fouille archéologique, dont des tubes de dentifrice, des dentiers et du rince-bouche, ainsi qu’une revue des publicités de l’époque pour lesdits produits suggèrent que la santé dentaire représentait à la fois une méthode d’assimilation dans la culture américaine globale et de préservation du caractère ethnique japonais. Le présent article aborde la pétition et les artefacts dentaires comme des mesures de « survie » et de « résidence » des détenus japonais américains de Kooskia.

Notes

Acknowledgments:

We would like to express our gratitude to several people and organizations for guiding us through the publication process. First, a big thank you to Jodi Barnes for leading the charge on organizing this issue and for her copious editing assistance. To Mark Warner, we thank you for facilitating student travel for conference presentations and for your repeated offerings of advice and encouragement. To all of the friends and family members subjected to numerous rounds of revisions, we owe a great deal of appreciation as well. Finally, we wish to thank Stacey Camp, Priscilla Wegars, and the cooperative efforts of the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Idaho Department of Sociology and Anthropology for their unrelenting support of the Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project. Without their extensive research and collaboration this paper would have never been possible.

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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaitlyn Hosken
    • 1
  • Kristen Tiede
    • 2
  1. 1.AnchorageU.S.A.
  2. 2.PendletonU.S.A.

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