The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii is among the organizations to receive a grant from the National Park Service to help preserve and interpret the U.S. confinement sites where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. The 17 grants, totaling nearly $2.9 million, are part of Interior’s ongoing efforts to capture and tell a more inclusive story of American history.
JCCH’s project, ‘Just’ Youth: Taking the Lessons of Hawaii’s WWII Confinement Sites to Our High Schools, will receive $64,795. The project will be based on lessons from Honouliuli Internment Camp and other Hawaii sites.
“If we are to tell the full story of America, we must ensure that we include difficult chapters such as the grave injustice of internment of Japanese Americans during World War II,” Secretary Salazar said. “The internment sites serve as poignant reminders for us - and for the generations to come - that we must always be vigilant in upholding civil liberties for all.”
The incarceration of thousands of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them American citizens, followed Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
“These places, where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly held, testify to the fragility of our constitutional rights in the face of fear and prejudice,” 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 or repeating a shameful episode in its past.”
The awards, under the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, now in its fourth year, will support projects in 11 states. This year’s grants total $2,890,368 and bring to nearly $9.7 million the funds awarded since Congress established the grant program in 2006.
Grants from the Japanese American Confinement Sites program may go to the 10 War Relocation Authority camps established in 1942 or to more than 40 other sites, including assembly, relocation, and isolation centers. The program goal is to teach present and future generations about the injustice of the World War II confinement and inspire a commitment to equal justice under the law.
This year’s successful applicants comprise a variety of undertakings, including a documentary film about an isolation center on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona; the expansion of an online encyclopedia that focuses on all aspects of the Japanese American internment experience; the return of a former barracks building to its original internment camp site at Granada in southeastern Colorado; and a program to engage high school students in Hawaii in the study of World War II confinement and similar justice and equality issues that resonate today.
The award amounts range from $24,132 for the University of Idaho to further excavate the Kooskia Internment Camp site in northern Idaho, to $714,314 to a group in Delta, Utah, to build a museum and education center for the Topaz Relocation Center outside of town.
Congress established the Japanese American Confinement Sites program in 2006 and authorized up to $38 million in grants for the life of the program.
This year’s winners were chosen through a competitive process that requires applicants to match the grant award with $1 in non-federal funds or “in-kind” contributions for every $2 they receive in federal money.