National Park Service Issues Grants To World War II Internment Camp Sites

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We usually think of the National Park Service as being in charge of campsites, not camp sites. As part of its mandate to preserve and protect sites of historical and cultural significance, the Park Service's Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program has awarded $3,895,000 in federal funds to private nonprofit organizations; educational institutions, and; state, local, and tribal governments to preserve and provide interpretation resources to the 10 relocation camps scattered in the West.

Heart Mountain, Wyoming

The largest of this year’s grants — $832,879 — goes to the nonprofit Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. On a cold, windy day last winter, I visited the Heart Mountain site between Cody and Powell, Wyoming. The experience was moving, shattering, and belatedly embarrassing for the way our government treated its own citizens — alas, neither the first nor the last time it has done so. Thanks to an earlier grant and the efforts of local volunteers, the meaningfulness of Heart Mountain is finally gaining traction. A lot of work has been done since my visit, and the new grant will help even more. The center’s motto is “Lessons From The Past – Guidance For The Future.” If only.

My visit, which I blogged about here, also had a beacon of inspiration in the person of LaDonna Zall, a diminutive retired phys-ed teacher who witnessed internees boarding trains to leave the camp soon after the war....

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