Press Release Jul 29, 2021

Bill to make Japanese American incarceration camp a National Historic Site passes U.S. House

The Amache National Historic Site Act permanently protects the Colorado landmark and will ensure the survivors’ stories are remembered

Denver, CO – The former Japanese American incarceration camp known as Amache took a step closer to becoming a national park site after the bill to designate the location a National Historic Site passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bipartisan legislation, introduced by U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Representative Ken Buck (R-CO), passed in a 416-2 vote in the house.

“Today’s passage of the bipartisan Amache National Historic Site by the U.S. House of Representatives is an expression of faith in our future,” said Tracy Coppola, Colorado Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association. “We applaud the leadership of Congressman Neguse and Congressman Buck and the enduring voice of the Amache community. We look forward to Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper championing the companion bill among their colleagues next.”

“As America’s storyteller, what the National Park Service chooses to preserve and the stories it chooses to tell reflects our values as a nation, and Amache challenges us all to act toward a better future where justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are America’s top priority. We urge Congress to keep the momentum going and look forward to swiftly getting this bill through the Senate and to President Biden’s desk.”

During World War II, approximately 120,000 people were forcibly relocated and imprisoned behind barbed wire in remote military-style “camps” for three years. More than 7,500 Japanese Americans were incarcerated at the Amache internment camp, also known as the Granada Relocation Center. Most prisoners were American citizens, imprisoned simply because of their Japanese ancestry.

The Amache National Historic Site Act (HR 2497) is also supported by broad array of stakeholders, including Amache survivors and descendants, Asian American organizations, civil rights groups, veterans groups, local and state elected officials, academics and conservationists.

“Today’s passage of the Amache National Historic Site Act in the U.S. House of Representatives brings me hope and I thank Congressman Neguse for his leadership, said Bob Fuchigami, an Amache survivor. “I now urge the Senate to pass this bill. The time is not only right; it is long overdue.”

“Like many in the Japanese American community, my family did not talk about incarceration, and I didn’t even know Amache was part of my family’s history until after my grandparents passed and it was too late to ask,” said Kirsten Leong, an Amache descendant. “Passing the Amache National Historic Site Act will encourage thoughtful dialogue about the widespread intergenerational effects of incarceration that continue to shape the Japanese American experience to this day.”

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About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its nearly 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.

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