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Parks grant program extended for Japanese internment camp sites

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

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What Shameful past???? Japan declared war on the US and the US was WELL within its (at the time) rights to detain all persons of concern to the national security.... The time were much different than today and judging theactions then by TODAY'S standards is a dis-service.....

Manzanar is a best practice example for monuments that celebrate diversity, democracy and freedom. The Manzanar Mission Statement reads:

"Manzanar National Historic Site preserves the stories and resources of Manzanar for this and future generations. We will facilitate a park experience that weaves the stories of the various occupations of Manzanar faithfully, completely, and accurately. Manzanzar Historic Site will provide leadership for the protection and interpretation of associated sites. From this foundation, the park will stimulate and provoke a greater understanding of, and dialogue on, civil rights, democracy, and freedom."

Robert Garcia
The City Project


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