When: Friday, March 18, 2022
WASHINGTON – President Biden today signed the Amache National Historic Site Act, designating the Amache site in Granada, Colorado as part of the national park system. This designation, the first in the national park system under this administration, will permanently protect the site for future generations and help tell the story of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
“As a nation, we must confront the wrongs of our past in order to build a more just and equitable future,” said Home Secretary Deb Haaland. “I applaud President Biden and the bipartisan action in Congress that has helped preserve and honor this important and painful chapter in our nation’s history for generations to come. After visiting Amache and meeting with survivors and descendants, I was moved by their resilience and how communities in Colorado came together during and after injustice to support Japanese Americans. May we all be inspired to do the same today for all our fellow citizens.
Amache, also known as the Granada Relocation Center, was one of 10 incarceration sites established by the War Relocation Authority during World War II to hold Japanese Americans forcibly deported from the West Coast of the United States. States under Executive Order 9066. More than 10,000 people were incarcerated at Amache from 1942 to 1945, which housed 7,310 inmates at its peak, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens.
“It is our solemn responsibility as custodians of America’s national treasures to tell the full story of our nation’s heritage for the benefit of present and future generations,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “The National Park Service will continue to work closely with key stakeholders dedicated to the preservation of Amache and those directly affected by the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, to preserve and interpret this important historic site to the public.”
Today, the Amache site consists of a historic cemetery, a monument, concrete building foundations, and several reconstructed and rehabilitated structures from the camp’s era. Amache was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 18, 1994, and designated a National Historic Landmark on February 10, 2006.
Amache is open to the public and currently managed by the Amache Preservation Society and owned by the City of Granada. Currently, Granada High School students from the Amache Preservation Society offer tours of the site and nearby museum. The National Park Service will continue to work closely with the many stakeholders dedicated to the preservation of Amache to continue these services and to care for the history and memories of those who were once incarcerated at this site.
The designation of Amache National Historic Site is an important step in telling a more complete story of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Many stakeholders, including formerly incarcerated and their descendants and the Amache Preservation Society, were instrumental in securing the initial designation as a National Historic Landmark and advocated for the site to be part of the system of National parks. The legislation, originally introduced by members of the Colorado delegation, garnered strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
Secretary Haaland visited the Amache site in February with Senator Michael Bennett and Representative Joe Neguse to honor the 80th Memorial Day, marking President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which gave the US military the power to evict civilians from military areas. during the Second World War. While there, Secretary Haaland met with survivors about their experience as incarcerated and learned how this time has shaped them and their families. Images of the visit are available on the website of the Ministry of the Interior Flickrpage.
To officially establish the park, the National Park Service will work with the city of Granada to acquire the land required by law, a process that will likely take more than a year. For more information, visit the National Park Service’s Amache website.