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Former WWII internees to attend conference
12 May 2010

BISMARCK (UTN) - Nine Americans who were caught up in the country’s World War II Alien Enemy Control Program (AECP) are scheduled to visit Bismarck over the Memorial Holiday. They will be special guests at the Fort Lincoln Planning Conference.

      The gathering is scheduled for May 30 to June 2 at United Tribes Technical College, site of the former Fort Lincoln Internment Camp.

Barracks at Fort Lincoln Internment Camp, Bismarck.

      Now in their senior years, the former internees will be joined by family members of other former internees and AECP scholars. More than two dozen guests will attend who have personal experience and professional knowledge of how it was for individuals and families to be locked up in American detention camps during WWII. The group comes together to talk about establishing a fitting memorial at United Tribes to that experience.

      The conference is funded by a matching grant from the National Park Service through the agency’s Japanese-American Confinement Sites Grant Program.

      The NPS program is charged by Congress to help preserve and interpret historic locations operated by the War Relocation Authority and the Department of Justice, where more than 110,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were detained. Over six thousand German and Japanese from 19 Latin American countries were also held at DOJ camps, as well as thousands of German and Italian men, women and children from the United States.

      Fort Lincoln was a DOJ internment camp from 1941 to 1946. It held approximately 1,800 Japanese and 1,500 Germans, as well as a small number of Italians, Romanians and others from European countries.

      Fort Lincoln was originally constructed as a military post at a location now south of the Bismarck airport. The tribes of North Dakota acquired the facility as surplus government property and began education and training programs for American Indians in 1969. United Tribes Technical College is now one of the nation’s premier tribal colleges, granting two-year associate degrees and certificates in more than 20 technical-vocational fields.

      Matching funds for the event have been provided by United Tribes; Hesono O Productions, Sacramento, CA, www.fromasilkcocoon.com/; and the German American Internee Coalition, New London, NH, www.gaic.info/. Other organizations involved are the National Japanese American Historical Society, Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project, and the North Dakota Museum of Art.

      Members of the public are invited to participate. The designated conference hotel for out-of-town guests: Radisson Hotel Bismarck, 605 E. Broadway Avenue.

      For more information contact Wes Long Feather 701-255-3285 x 1218, wlongfeather@uttc.edu or Dennis Neumann 701-255-3285 x 1386, opi@uttc.edu.

Fort Lincoln Planning Conference
Final, detailed agenda available at conference

Meetings Location: Jack Barden Student Life and Technology Center
United Tribes Technical College

Sunday, May 30
7:30 – 9 p.m.  “Remembering Ft. Lincoln” (Community Invited)

  • Welcome/Introductions/Conference Orientation & Logistics
  • Conference Agenda Preview
  • Photo/Artifact Exhibit/Memento Sharing

Monday, May 31 (Memorial Day)
8 a.m. Breakfast/Review Agenda
9:30    General Session #1 “Snow Country Prison” - The Ft. Lincoln Experience

  • Overview of Alien Enemy Control Program
  • Introductions of Former Internees/Family Members of Former Internees
  • Stories from Former Internees

Noon  Lunch
1p.m.  Camp/Campus Tour: A Place in Time: Past, Present & Future

  • Consider memorial possibilities/locations

2:30    Break
3 – 5   Breakout Session – Start with “Sky’s the Limit!”

  • Small group discussion and idea sessions
  • Brainstorm/envision possible ways to memorialize the AECP experience

7 p.m. Film Showings - Narratives, Documents, & Memories

  • Titles to be announced

Tuesday, June 1
8 a.m. Breakfast/Review Agenda
9 a.m. General Session #2 – Inside and Outside the Box

  • Discussion, share ideas, concerns and recommendations
  • Dialogue, questions and answers

10:30  Break
11 a.m. Breakout Session – Cross Section Discussion

  • Small groups synthesize concepts/ideas

Noon  Luncheon (speakers TB A)
1:30    General Session #3:  Building Consensus: Our Memorial

  • Discussion/Recommendations

5:30    Dinner Event (TBA)
7- 9     Authors Book Signings: Barnes & Nobel Booksellers, 565 South 7 St.

Wednesday, June 2
8 a.m. Breakfast/Review Agenda
10-11   Summary of Recommendations/Comments/Action Plan
11a.m. Sharing the Planning Results with Tribal Elders/Media/Others

  • Lewis Goodhouse Wellness Center
Noon  Concluding Luncheon/Appreciations


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