Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project

Support provided by:

Idaho Humanities Council

Northwest Knowledge Network

Welcome to Internment Archaeology, a central online repository of information regarding the Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeology Project (KICAP). This repository of archaeological data was built by the Northwest Knowledge Network with financial support from the Idaho Humanities Council between 2015 and 2016. It is our hope that this website will contain additional data regarding WWII incarceration facilities in the coming years.

The Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeology Project (KICAP) involved preliminary archaeological testing, minimal excavation, GIS work and public outreach at the former location of Kooskia Internment Camp, a World War II U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) detention facility and work camp for individuals of Japanese heritage. Built on the site of Canyon Creek Prison Camp, a former federal prison work camp (Sappington and Carley 1989; Burton 1999; Wegars 2001), Kooskia Internment Camp was occupied by a diverse group of 265 Japanese internees between May 1943 and May 1945. Internees were charged with the daunting and dangerous task of completing the construction of Highway U.S. 12 between Idaho and Montana. Besides being a relatively neglected and remote site of Japanese confinement, Kooskia Internment Camp represents the U.S. government's first attempt to use internees as a work force. In addition, many of the Japanese occupants of the camp were forcibly removed by the United States government from Latin American countries such as Peru, Mexico and Panama. These understudied aspects of American history demand and require more exposure and research.

KICAP is directed by Stacey Lynn Camp, associate professor of anthropology and director of the MSU Campus Archaeology Program at Michigan State University. Prior to coming to Michigan State University, she served as associate professor of anthropology and director of the Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology at the University of Idaho.