Kunitaro Takeuchi (1887–1972) was a Japanese native who migrated to Hawai’i in his early twenties, right around the turn of the century where he married his wife Hana, had a family, and worked as a photographer. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, signed on 19 February 1942, authorized the apprehension and incarceration of people believed to be conspirators and sympathizers to the Axis powers during World War II. This order primarily targeted people of Japanese, Italian, and German descent, many of them being US citizens. In May 1942, the Takeuchi family was forced out of Hawai’i as “Group 3” of Nisei and Issei (first- and second-generation Japanese Americans) identified for holding at internment camps. Kunitaro Takeuchi, then in his mid-fifties, was imprisoned at the Santa Fe Internment Camp for the duration of the war. The 80-acre Department of Justice camp, where St. Francis Drive and West Alameda Street are now located, held 4555 men and operated from 1942-1946, nearly a year after the war was over.
There, Kunitaro Takeuchi carved these pieces, among many others, and collected cigar boxes full of rocks from the camp area. He received many rocks as gifts from others at the camp as well. The New Mexico History Museum is honored to care for these pieces of history that remind us about the sacrifices Japanese Americans made during this period of unjust persecution in our national history.
Did you know? The New Mexico History Museum has seventy saddles in our collection that range from the 17th through the 20th century. Some of them were pack saddles meant to carry heavy loads, while some of them were made for show. We have saddles made in the colonial Mexican tradition, some made by Native people, and some created by well-known saddle makers, such as this one by Austin “Slim” Green (1916-2008).
This hand-tooled leather stock saddle was made in the 1970s
Egan of the Rancho Encantado (previously Rancho del Monte) area near Santa Fe.
Originally from Oklahoma, Slim
Green moved to northern New Mexico following World War II and further refined
his talents working with leather. Slim Green was a co-founder of the Rodeo de
Santa Fe, taught Tesuque elementary kids leather craft, and produced
custom-made saddles for people all over the country. We’re lucky to have one of
Making History is the New Mexico History Museum’s monthly series of hands-on activities that further illuminates the Museum’s collections as well as New Mexico’s heritage of historic technologies and crafts. The Making History Program is family friendly and open to everyone.
With the Museum being closed due to the COVID-19 mitigation efforts, this month’s Making History Program has gone online in two parts.
Join museum Educator Melanie LaBorwit as she demonstrates how to make pots for your seedlings using a newspaper in Part 1, and in Part 2, Melanie will show you how to give nourishment to your feathered neighbors by making a bird feeder from an orange and some twine.
Enjoy these activites to enhance your garden and check back next month for a new making opportunity.
This Mescalero Apache beaded hide awl case, ca. 1880, was used to store the bone awl. The awl was used as a tool to weave basketry, and or sew glass trade beads on hide. It was owned by the Southwest photographer, Ben Wittick, who used objects such as this one, as props in his studio where he photographed Native Americans in the late 19th century. Visit this artifact at the New Mexico History Museum’s exhibition Looking Back, when it reopens to the public and in the meantime, stay safe.