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United Tribes to receive grant in Japanese Confinement Sites Program
27 August 2009

DENVER - The National Park Service has awarded 19 new grants totaling $960,000 to help preserve and interpret many of the historic locations, mostly in the western U.S., where more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were detained during World War II.

      These first-ever Japanese American Confinement Sites Grants will help fund a wide variety of projects in a dozen states. Included is a grant to United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, North Dakota, to conduct a planning conference for a memorial and other interpretation at the college, which was formerly the military post Fort Lincoln used in the U. S. Justice Department’s Alien Enemy Control Program.

Entrance to Fort Lincoln (now United Tribes) during the internment period 1941-46.

      Other projects include the construction of a new interpretive learning center at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming and the preservation of a stockade and jail at the Tule Lake Relocation Center in California. The Tule Lake stockade was used to imprison internees who spoke out to protest the injustice of their World War II incarceration.

      The grants range from $5,000 for work at the Arboga Assembly Center in Marysville, CA, to $282,253 for the new Heart Mountain center in Park County, WY.

      Although the matching funds support preservation and interpretation efforts in 12 states, many of the projects are national in scope. This includes a project to collect and digitize the “stories less told” of Japanese Americans who were held against their will at the detention sites.

      The $18,919 United Tribes grant is for a Fort Lincoln Planning Conference in late May or early June 2010. The conference is a joint project of United Tribes, National Japanese American Historical Society, Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project; Henoso O Productions, German American Internee Coalition, and the North Dakota Museum of Art.

      Congress established the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program in 2006 (under Public Law 109-441, 16 USC 461) to preserve and interpret the places where Japanese Americans were sequestered after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The law authorizes up to $38 million for the life of the grant program to identify, research, evaluate, interpret, protect, restore, repair, and acquire historic confinement sites. The program aims to teach and inspire present and future generations about the injustice of the wartime program and demonstrate the nation’s commitment since then to equal justice under the law.

      Congress appropriated $1 million for grants in the current fiscal year. They were awarded in a competitive process, matching $2 in federal money for every $1 in non-federal funds and “in-kind” contributions raised by groups working to preserve the sites and their histories.

      After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced removal of more than 110,000 men, women and children, most of them American citizens of Japanese ancestry.

      Locations eligible for the grants include the 10 War Relocation Authority camps that were set up in 1942 in seven states: Gila River and Poston, AZ; Amache, CO; Heart Mountain, WY; Jerome and Rohwer, AR; Manzanar and Tule Lake, CA; Minidoka, ID, and Topaz, UT. Also eligible are more than 40 other locations in 16 states, including civilian and military-run assembly, relocation and isolation centers.

      More information: Kara Miyagishima, 303-969-2885, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Intermountain Region, 12795 W. Alameda Pkwy., P.O. Box 25287, Denver, CO, 80225.