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Parks grant program extended for Japanese internment camp sites

January 4, 2011 |  1:05 pm

The National Park Service is extending its program of grant funding to support projects at Japanese American confinement sites, the third year of the initiative.

More than $3 million is budgeted for the program, which aims to preserve and encourage education at the detainment camps where 120,000 Japanese Americans were held after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor during World War II.

“These projects are helping us understand better a shameful chapter in America’s not-so-distant past,” said Kara Miyagishima, the confinement sites program manager for the park service.  “As stewards of many important places in America’s cultural history, we in the National Park Service are glad to assist groups and communities that want to preserve these sites. Collectively, their efforts can deliver sobering lessons about how vulnerable our freedoms can be – even those protected by the Constitution.”

More than 50 historic locations are eligible for grants, including Manzanar and Tule Lake in Northern California. Both former camps are operated by the park service; Manzanar is a national historic site and Tule Lake is a national monument.

Later this month the park service will hold informational meetings in six cities for potential grant applicants. The Los Angeles meeting is Feb. 2 at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo and the meeting in San Francisco is Feb. 5 at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. 

 --Julie Cart

An obelisk marks the burial site for those who died while interned in the Manzanar War Relocation Center north of Lone Pine. Credit: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times