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'Alternative Facts': The Lies of Executive Order 9066' documentary premieres in Boise

The documentary, 'Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066', will premiere on Monday, Feb. 21, at the Idaho State Museum

BOISE, Idaho — The anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt signing executive order 9066 is this weekend, but it's not an anniversary to celebrate.

The order gave the U.S. army the authority to forcibly remove 120,000 Japanese-American civilians from their homes along the West Coast to internment camps all over the country; more than nine thousand of which ended up in the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho.

This wasn't the first time the Federal government had removed a collection of people from their homeland, but it was the last. Although the practice of persecuting a marginalized group has lived on today.

Saturday marks the Day of Remembrance. A day to remember the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. However, Jon Osaki is wanting something else to be remembered this weekend.

"The justification for the incarceration orders was that Japanese-Americans were committing acts of espionage," Osaki said.

Osaki is the filmmaker behind "Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066", which will be shown for the first time in Southern Idaho this weekend.

"The truth of the matter is that the military, through the help of the FCC, realized pretty quickly that none of that was true," Jon Osaki said.

The documentary addresses the false information and political influences that led to the WWII mass incarceration, along with the efforts to justify and cover up the treatment of Japanese-Americans.

"They seized this as an opportunity to essentially take over their land," Osaki said, "it's really about people acquiring power in this country, and using marginalized communities to do that." 

The film also examines the parallels of present-day attitudes towards immigrant communities and similar attempts to abuse the powers of government.

"I think we have to constantly talk about that, and that a lot of our history in this country is not pretty, and I think we have to be willing to confront that or we're not going to make progress in addressing this dynamic," Osaki said.

This weekend will be the first time the film is screened in Idaho, and there are two chances to see it for free:

  • Sunday at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls 
  • Monday at the Idaho State Museum in Boise

The one-hour film will be followed by a panel discussion with director Jon Osaki and local community leaders.

Each ticket includes admission to the film screening, panel discussion, and the Museum's Day of Remembrance exhibit. General Museum admission is not included with the ticket.

The film is presented in partnership with Friends of Minidoka, Minidoka National Historic Site, Boise State University, Idaho State Museum, and the Boise Valley JACL.

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