Salazar Announces $2.9 Million in Grants to Preserve Japanese American Confinement Sites

Last edited 09/05/2019

WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the National Park Service is awarding 24 grants totaling $2.9 million to preserve and interpret sites where Japanese Americans were confined during World War II.

“The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is an unfortunate part of the story of our nation's journey, but it is a part that needs to be told,” Salazar said. “As Winston Churchill noted, ‘Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.' If we are to live up to the ideals expressed in the Constitution, we must learn not only from the glorious moments of our nation's history but also from the inglorious moments.”

“These places, where more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly held, testify to the alarming fragility of our constitutional rights in the face of prejudice and fear,” 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 a shameful episode in its past.”

The incarceration of Japanese Americans – two-thirds of whom were American citizens – followed Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Grants from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Program may go to the 10 War Relocation Authority camps set up in 1942, or to other sites, including assembly, relocation, and isolation centers.

This year – the grant program's third – the awards will provide $2.9 million to projects in 11 states. These undertakings include restoration of an internment camp cemetery at Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas; production of a film exploring the lives of mothers and children detained at Poston, Arizona; and production and distribution of a documentary on the jazz bands that flourished at many internment camps.

The grants range from $5,000, to preserve documents and artifacts at Chicago's Japanese American Historical Society, to $291,025, to reconstruct a water tower and a guard tower at the Granada Relocation Center (Amache) in Colorado.

Congress established the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grants Program in 2006 and authorized up to $38 million in grants, for the life of the program, to identify, research, evaluate, interpret, protect, restore, repair, and acquire historic confinement sites.

The grants are made as part of a competitive process in which $2 of federal money matches every $1 in non-federal funds and “in-kind” contributions. The goals of the grant program are to teach present and future generations about the injustice of the confinement and inspire a commitment to equal justice under the law.

A list of the winning projects follows. When a project is marked with an asterisk (*), the applicant is from one state and the confinement site associated with the project is in another.

For details about winning projects:

# # #


Project: “Japanese American Internment in Arizona Oral History Website”
Applicant: Arizona State University, Tempe

Under California, see the Poston Community Alliance project “Poston's Mothers and Babies: A Film on Domestic Life in Camp.”


Project: “Rohwer Relocation Center Interpretive Project, Phase II”
Applicant: Arkansas State University, Jonesboro

Project: “Rosalie Gould Rohwer Collection Preservation”
Applicant: Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock

Project: “Rohwer Relocation Camp Cemetery Preservation”
Applicant: University of Arkansas at Little Rock


*Project: “Digital Documentation and Virtual Tour of Japanese American Confinement Sites”
Applicant: CyArk, Oakland

Project: “World War II Internment: Lessons from the Past for the Future”
Applicant: Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj), San Jose

Project: “J.A. Jive! Jazz Music in the Japanese American Internment Camps”
Applicant: KEET-TV, Eureka

Project: “Stone Ishimaru's War Relocation Authority Camp Images Archive”
Applicant: Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corp., Los Angeles

Project: “We Said, ‘No, No'”
Applicant: Manzanar Committee, Inc., Los Angeles

Project: “Historic Inquiry and Place-Based Learning in Japanese American Confinement Sites”
Applicant: National Japanese American Historical Society, San Francisco

*Project: “Poston's Mothers and Babies: A Film on Domestic Life in Camp”
Applicant: Poston Community Alliance, Lafayette

Project: “The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive”
Applicant: University of California, Berkeley

Project: “The Japanese American Internment/World War II American Homefront Oral History Project”
Applicant: University of California, Berkeley


Project: “Amache Water Tank Restoration, Water Tower Restoration, and Guard Tower Reconstruction”
Applicant: Colorado Preservation, Inc., Denver


Project: “Honouliuli Confinement Site Educational Tours Program”
Applicant: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, Honolulu


Project: “Civil Liberties Symposium: Patriotism, Honor, and Sacrifice”
Applicant: Friends of Minidoka, Twin Falls

Project: “Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project”
Applicant: University of Idaho, Moscow


Project: “Conservation of the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society Archival Materials”
Applicant: Chicago Japanese American Historical Society, Glenview


Project: “The Registry: A Documentary Film about the Military Intelligence Service Language School in Minnesota”
Applicant: Asian Media Access, Inc., Minneapolis

New Mexico

Project: “New Mexico Japanese American Internment Sites History, Interpretation, and Education Project”
Applicant: Japanese American Citizens League, New Mexico Chapter, Los Lunas


Under California, see the CyArk project “Digital Documentation and Virtual Tour of Japanese American Confinement Sites,” which includes Topaz Relocation Center, located in Utah.


Project: “Digital Archive System for Community Organizations”
Applicant: Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, Seattle

Project: “Teach the Teachers”
Applicant: Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, Seattle

*Project: “Digitizing and Preserving the George and Frank Hirahara Photograph Collection”
Applicant: Washington State University, Pullman


Project: “Restoration of the Heart Mountain Boiler House Chimney”
Applicant: Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources, State Historic Preservation Office, Cheyenne

Under Washington, see the Washington State University project “Digitizing and Preserving the George and Frank Hirahara Photograph Collection,” which involves Heart Mountain Relocation Center, located in Wyoming.

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