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One Planet: Manzanar, Diverted documents the legacy of colonization, racism, & environmental injustice in CA's Owens Valley

Manzanar Cemetery in Independence, California
Manzanar Cemetery in Independence, California

On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we're discussing Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, an award winning documentary that explores the history of Native Americans who were forced out of their ancestral lands in what is now called Owens Valley, which is 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Their forced removal made way for white settlers and 11,070 Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in the Valley’s Manzanar camp from March 1942 to November 1945.

In the film, we meet intergenerational women from Native American, Japanese American, and rancher communities who form an unexpected alliance to defend their land and water from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which bought out much of valley to supply fresh water to the growing population in Los Angeles.


Ann Kaneko, award winning independent documentary filmmaker, and director of Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust

Jin Yoo-Kim, Korean-Bolivian-American independent film producer, and producer of Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust

Web Resources:

MANZANAR, DIVERTED: When Water Becomes Dust

Los Angeles Times: How to remember the Japanese incarceration, 80 years later

Los Angeles Times: Owens Valley tribes honor a legacy of ‘beauty and suffering’ with historic site nomination

Malihe Razazan is the senior producer of KALW's daily call-in program, Your Call.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.