Castle Rock looms in the distance as participants in the 2004 Tule Lake Pilgrimage visit the camp jail. (Photo by J.K. YAMAMOTO)

It is with sadness the Tule Lake Pilgrimage Committee announces that after meeting last week, it will not be organizing an in-person pilgrimage in 2023, nor a virtual pilgrimage.

Tule Lake’s pilgrimage is usually planned for the 4th of July weekend on even years, but COVID-related pilgrimage cancellations in 2020 and 2022 led to considering an off-year pilgrimage in 2023. However, due to continuing concern over COVID-related health risks, the planning committee made the unanimous decision to postpone an in-person pilgrimage until 2024.

“What makes the Tule Lake pilgrimage so special is being part of a community of 400 Japanese Americans traveling together, sharing meals together and living together for four days, experiencing site visits, informal discussions and workshops, and moments of serendipity with former strangers. It’s a memorable gathering where we celebrate and honor Tule Lake’s past and present,” pilgrimage chair Hiroshi Shimizu said.

“The closeness and intimacy that makes our pilgrimage so special also creates greater risk from COVID and other illnesses,” he lamented. “Regrettably, our all-volunteer pilgrimage committee lacks capacity to implement and manage safety protocols for a large group.”

The committee expects another “best ever” pilgrimage next July 2024, and will announce pilgrimage and registration dates in December 2023. At that time, those who were registered for the cancelled 2020 pilgrimage will be notified of procedures for re-registering for 2024.


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