The Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities make our nation more vibrant through their diverse cultures, languages and religions. There is no single story of the AANHPI experience, but rather a multitude of contributions that enrich the country. The American story as we know it would be impossible without the strength, voice and legacies of AANHPI individuals who have helped build and unite this country.
As we celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month, we also acknowledge the shameful parts of our history including the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II as well as the many challenges these communities face today.
Throughout the month, we encourage you to take the time to reflect on our nation’s history, visit a historic district near you or learn more about what the Department is doing to preserve and protect these communities to build a more inclusive and equitable future.
Despite exclusionary immigration policies and discrimination, early Asian immigrants built successful ethnic enclaves throughout the United States. In the Sacramento delta, the small settlements of Locke and Walnut Grove were once thriving nihonmachi’s (Japan towns) and Chinatowns that were the homes of immigrants during the Gold Rush. The Stedman-Thomas Historic District of Ketchikan, Alaska was home to a diverse community of Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and Filipinos who helped build the region’s fishing industry. By the mid-1900s, generations of Asian Americans built enduring communities throughout the United States. Today, these neighborhoods areas are full of traditional foods, shops, and celebrations.
Visit a historic district or site near you to celebrate the rich culture, history, language and heritage of the community.
During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, forcibly relocating over 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes and communities into incarceration centers. This order stripped people of Japanese descent of their civil rights, representing a shameful chapter in our nation’s history.
Today, the National Park Service helps preserve and interpret several sites including the newly designated Amache National Historic Site that share the stories of Japanese American incarceration. These sites provide important spaces for reflection, helping to ensure that we never stop fighting for equality and justice for all.
The Department is committed to supporting AANHPI communities by protecting important archeological areas, preserving the loss of Native Hawaiian language and providing infrastructure investments to facilitate conservation, resiliency and economic growth. We recognize the unique impacts that climate change and coastal erosion have on our island communities.
Additionally, the Department’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations recently announced $1 million in NATIVE Act funding through the HŌʻIHI grant program for Native Hawaiian Organizations that aim to build more sustainable tourism models and protect the natural and cultural resources of local communities.
To learn more about AANHPI Heritage, visit the National Park Service’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage website.