Interior Moves Forward with Efforts to Preserve and Interpret World War II Japanese American Internment Sites

Last edited 09/05/2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior today announced that the National Park Service is awarding funding to help preserve and interpret the U.S. confinement sites where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. The 17 grants, totaling nearly $2.9 million, are part of Interior's ongoing efforts to capture and tell a more inclusive story of American history.

“If we are to tell the full story of America, we must ensure that we include difficult chapters such as the grave injustice of internment of Japanese Americans during World War II,” Secretary Salazar said. “The internment sites serve as poignant reminders for us - and for the generations to come - that we must always be vigilant in upholding civil liberties for all.”

The incarceration of thousands of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them American citizens, followed Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

“These places, where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly held, testify to the fragility of our constitutional rights in the face of fear and prejudice,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The National Park Service is honored to help preserve these sites and tell their stories, and thus prevent our nation from forgetting or repeating a shameful episode in its past.”

The awards, under the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, now in its fourth year, will support projects in 11 states. This year's grants total $2,890,368 and bring to nearly $9.7 million the funds awarded since Congress established the grant program in 2006.

Grants from the Japanese American Confinement Sites program may go to the 10 War Relocation Authority camps established in 1942 or to more than 40 other sites, including assembly, relocation, and isolation centers. The program goal is to teach present and future generations about the injustice of the World War II confinement and inspire a commitment to equal justice under the law.

This year's successful applicants comprise a variety of undertakings, including a documentary film about an isolation center on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona; the expansion of an online encyclopedia that focuses on all aspects of the Japanese American internment experience; the return of a former barracks building to its original internment camp site at Granada in southeastern Colorado; and a program to engage high school students in Hawaii in the study of World War II confinement and similar justice and equality issues that resonate today.

The award amounts range from $24,132 for the University of Idaho to further excavate the Kooskia Internment Camp site in northern Idaho, to $714,314 to a group in Delta, Utah, to build a museum and education center for the Topaz Relocation Center outside of town.

Congress established the Japanese American Confinement Sites program in 2006 and authorized up to $38 million in grants for the life of the program.

This year's winners were chosen through a competitive process that requires applicants to match the grant award with $1 in non-federal funds or “in-kind” contributions for every $2 they receive in federal money.

A list of the winning projects follows. Projects marked with an asterisk (*) indicate that the grantee is from one state and includes a project site in another. For more details about these projects, visit:


Project: “Japanese-American Leupp Citizen Isolation Center Project”
Applicant: Developing Innovations in Navajo Education Inc., Flagstaff, AZ
Award: $290,000
Site: Leupp Citizen Isolation Center, Leupp, AZ


Project: “Telling the Stories of Japanese American detainees on Angel Island during World War II”

Applicant: Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, San Francisco, CA
Award: $25,573
Site: Angel Island Detention Station, Marin County, CA

*Project: “Passing the Legacy Down: Youth Interpretations of Confinement Sites in the Western United States”
Applicant: Japanese American Citizens League, San Francisco, CA
Award: $150,130
Sites: Manzanar National Historic Site, Inyo County, CA; Minidoka National Historic Site, Jerome County, ID; Tule Lake Relocation Center, Siskiyou County, CA

Project: “Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker”
Applicant: Venice Community Housing Corporation, Venice, CA
Award: $50,000
Site: Manzanar National Historic Site, Inyo County, CA

Project: “Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps”
Applicant: East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, Richmond, CA
Award: $138,586
Sites: Multiple


Project: “Amache Barrack Relocation and Rehabilitation”
Applicant: Colorado Preservation, Inc., Denver, CO
Award: $241,124
Site: Granada Relocation Center (Amache), Prowers County, CO


Project: “ ‘Just' Youth: Taking the Lessons of Hawaii's WWII Confinement Sites to Our High Schools”
Applicant: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Award: $64,795
Sites: Honouliuli Internment Camp, Honolulu County, HI, and other Hawaii sites


Project: “Minidoka Guard Tower Reconstruction”
Applicant: Friends of Minidoka, Boise, ID
Award: $280,378
Site: Minidoka National Historic Site, Jerome County, ID

Project: “Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project”
Applicant: University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
Award: $24,132
Site: Kooskia Internment Camp, Idaho County, ID


Project: “The Legacy Center Archives”
Applicant: Japanese American Service Committee, Chicago, IL
Award: $75,268
Sites: Multiple


*Project: “Minidoka Oral History Project”
Applicant: Oregon Nikkei Endowment, Portland, OR
Award: $168,460
Sites: Minidoka National Historic Site, Jerome County, ID, and other sites


Project: “Japanese American and Enemy Alien Confinement at Crystal City Family Internment Camp, Texas”
Applicant: Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, Inc., Austin, TX
Award: $25,580
Sites: Crystal City Family Internment Camp, Zavala County, TX


Project: “Topaz Museum and Education Center Construction Project”
Applicant: Topaz Museum, Delta, UT
Award: $714,314
Site: Topaz Relocation Center, Millard County, UT


*Project: “Honoring a Legacy, Forging a Future: Preserving the Stories and Collections of World War II Veterans and Internees”
Applicant: Wing Luke Memorial Foundation. (Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience), Seattle, WA
Award: $170,833
Site: Minidoka National Historic Site, Jerome County, ID

*Project: “Enhancing Access to Heart Mountain Collections at Washington State University”
Applicant: Washington State University, Pullman, WA
Award: $77,769
Site: Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Park County, WY

Project: “Japanese American Confinement Sites Encyclopedia-Phase II”
Applicant: Densho, Seattle, WA
Award: $362,450
Sites: Multiple


Project: “Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation – Website Project”
Recipient: Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, Powell, WY
Award: $30,976
Site: Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Park County, WY


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