Colorado Japanese American incarceration camp designated national historic site

Colorado Japanese American incarceration camp designated national historic siteColorado Japanese American incarceration camp designated national historic site
via 9News
Camp Amache, a former incarceration camp for Japanese Americans during World War II, has been officially designated as the Amache National Historic Site.
Key points:
  • The dedication ceremony took place on Friday in southeastern Colorado. Descendants of those incarcerated, along with Colorado lawmakers, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, reported 9News.
  • The dedication coincided with an annual pilgrimage by descendants to the site in Granada.
  • Pink roses, which had been previously discovered at Camp Amache in 2012, bloomed in time for the dedication after two years of careful cultivation.  
The details:
  • The historic site was one of the 10 incarceration camps established during World War II to detain Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the West Coast. During its operation from 1942 to 1945, over 10,000 people were incarcerated at Amache, the majority being U.S. citizens.
  • The site was formally recognized as a national landmark in February by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, after President Joe Biden designated it as part of the National Park System in 2022. The National Park Service plans future additions, including bathrooms, roads and water stations, while existing exhibits and rebuilt structures already mark the site. 
  • The dedication ceremony on Friday coincides with the annual pilgrimage, where descendants travel to the site to honor and remember their history. John Tonai, a descendant, highlighted the resilience of Amache, which avoided erasure post-war. 

“It has been many years since the U.S. government forced some residents of Granada to give up their land so that 8,000 persons of Japanese ancestry could be housed following their forced eviction from the West Coast. After the war, there were so many opportunities for all the physical evidence and memories to be erased, yet Amache survived.”

  • Clippings from a rose bush discovered at the site were taken to Denver Botanic Gardens in 2021. The rose bush is believed to be a remnant of the prisoners’ gardening efforts. Over the weekend, the propagated roses produced their first flowers.
  • “The delicate pink roses are bittersweet, serving as a metaphor for the resilience of nature and humankind and also a sad reminder of this very dark part of Colorado’s history,” Denver Botanic Gardens spokesperson Erin Bird told CPR
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