Colorado’s federal delegation proposes historic designation for WWII internment facility

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Photo Courtesy: History Colorado

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado could soon have a new National Historic Site if our state’s U.S. senators and representatives can get a proposal through congress.

U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and John Hickenlooper (D) and Colorado U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D) and Ken Buck (R) held a virtual community roundtable discussion today about the Amache National Historic Site Act.

Bennet and Hickenlooper introduced the legislation this week in the Senate to establish the Amache National Historic Site, a former Japanese American incarceration facility one mile outside of Granada, as part of the National Park System (NPS).

Neguse and Buck introduced the companion bill in the House on April 14. Earlier this week, Neguse, Chair of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a legislative hearing on the bill. 

Guests will include: Tracy Coppola, Colorado Program Manager, NPCA; Mitch Homma, Amache Descendant, Amache Historical Society II & American Baptist Historical Society Vice President; John Hopper, Amache Preservation Society Founder; Karen Korematsu, Korematsu Institute; Derek Okubo, Amache descendant; Stacey Sagara Shigaya, Sakura Foundation and Sakura Square LLC Program Director & Descendant of Heart Mountain and Topaz/Tule Lake incarcerees; and Rick Wallner, Canyons & Plains of Southeast Colorado Regional Heritage Task Force President. 

Amache was one of 10 internment facilities for Japanese Americans during WWII. Manzanar, in California, and Minidoka, in Idaho, have received National Historic Site designations thus far. Two-thirds of the people at Amache were American citizens, most of whom had never been to Japan. Many others were first-generation Japanese elders who had immigrated from Japan and were denied U.S. citizenship for decades. At the height of its population nearly 10,000 Japanese-American internees were detained at Amache. 

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