Cameras remained contraband at the camps located within the military district called the Western Defense Command. But Wyoming was outside that zone, and by the spring of 1943, cameras were permitted. The WRA recognized that allowing internees to take pictures was a way of helping them reclaim some sense of a normal life and some of their dignity.
The virtual exhibit “Documented Rights” raises some interesting challenges for scholars and museum professionals alike. It also reminds us that the struggle “for personal rights and freedoms” means something different for Indigenous people. While NARA should be congratulated for its attempt to do some justice to representing the Native experience, “Documented Rights” sheds light on the difficulty of doing so without replicating settler-colonial/archival patterns of organizing, categorizing, and flattening those histories.