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Listening Sessions Intended to Help National Park Service Preserve World War II Internment Sites


This War Relocation Authority center which houses 10,000 evacuees of Japanese ancestry is located in Owens Valley between the High Sierras and Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the United States. The space in the foreground is a wide fire-break between blocks of barracks which also serves as a playfield. This site is now part of Manzanar National Historic Site. Photo by Dorothea Lange via NPS.

National Park Service officials are looking for feedback on how a grant program designed to preserve World War II internment camps that imprisoned Japanese Americans fared. A series of listening sessions, from Chicago to Honolulu, is scheduled for next week to collect that feedback.

In 2010, the Park Service will accept grant applications for the second year under the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. Earlier this year, NPS gave out the program’s first grants – nearly $1 million in 2-for-1 matching funds to 19 projects in a dozen states. The money can be used to help study, acquire, preserve and protect dozens of locations where more than 110,000 men, women and children, most of them American citizens of Japanese ancestry, were detained and forcibly relocated after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Before beginning the next round of grants for 2010, NPS wants to hear public views about how the program went in its first year. This is to help ensure that the grants financially support projects that most represent the program’s intent: To educate the American public and leave a legacy for future generations by preserving both the physical confinement sites and the stories of Japanese Americans who were held there beginning in 1942.

Next week’s meetings will be held Monday, Nov. 30 through Friday, Dec. 4, in seven cities: Denver, Chicago, Seattle, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Honolulu and San Francisco. A list of locations, addresses, times and other information is below.

Congress established the grant program in 2006 to preserve and explain the places where Japanese Americans were rounded up and detained. It authorizes up to $38 million over the life of the grant program to identify, research, evaluate, interpret, protect, restore, repair and acquire historic internment sites.

Next year’s program will have significantly more money than did the 2009 grants. On Oct. 30, President Obama signed Public Law 111-88, which appropriates $3 million for the preservation and interpretation of Japanese American sites, three times this year’s amount.

In 2009, the Park Service awarded 19 grants totaling $970,000 in a competitive process to eligible non-profit organizations, educational institutions and state and local governments working to preserve the confinement sites and their histories. Under the program’s rules, those receiving grants must provide $1 in non-federal funds or “in-kind” contributions to match every $2 that they receive in federal money.

Locations eligible for the grants include the 10 War Relocation Authority camps that were set up in 1942 in seven states: Gila River and Poston, Arizona; Amache, Colorado; Heart Mountain, Wyoming; Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas; Manzanar and Tule Lake, California; Minidoka, Idaho, and Topaz, Utah. Also eligible are more than 40 other locations in 16 states, including civilian and military-run assembly, relocation and isolation centers.

A separate series of informational meetings about next year’s grant program, including how to apply, will be held in late January and early February 2010.

More information, including a list of next week’s listening sessions with times and locations, is available on the grant program website:

Interested persons who cannot attend next week’s listening sessions can participate by making their views known online at the following public-comment website:

Please note that all comments must be submitted by Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009.



Denver, CO
Date: Monday, Nov. 30
Time: 10 a.m.—12 noon MST
Location: National Park Service
Intermountain Regional Office
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
Phone: 303-969-2885 (RSVP recommended)

Chicago, IL
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 1
Time: 7 – 9 p.m. CST
Location: Japanese American Citizens
League (JACL) Chicago Chapter
5415 North Clark Street
Phone: 402-661-1928 (NPS)
312-728-7170 (JACL)

Little Rock, AR
Date: Thursday, Dec. 3
Time: 2 – 4 p.m. CST
Location: Little Rock Central High School
National Historic Site Visitor Center
2120 Daisy Bates Drive
Phone: 402-661-1928 (NPS)
501-374-1957 (Little Rock NHS)

Seattle, WA
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 2
Time: 6 – 8 p.m. PST
Location: Densho: The Japanese American
Legacy Project
1416 S. Jackson Street
Phone: 925-943-1531, ext. 122 (NPS)
206-320-0095 (DENSHO)

Los Angeles, CA
Date: Thursday, Dec. 3
Time: 6 – 8 p.m. PST
Location: Japanese American Cultural and
Community Center
244 S. San Pedro Street, Suite 505
Phone: 925-943-1531, ext. 122 (NPS)
213-628-2725 (JACCC)

San Francisco, CA
Date: Friday, Dec. 4
Time: 6 – 8 p.m. PST
Location: Japanese Cultural & Community
Center of Northern California
1840 Sutter Street, Suite 201
Phone: 925-943-1531, ext. 122 (NPS)
415-567-5505 (JCCCNC)

Honolulu, HI
Date: Thursday, Dec. 3
Time: 6 – 8 p.m. HST
Location: Japanese Cultural Center
of Hawai’i
2454 South Beretania Street
Phone: 808-541-2693, ext. 723 (NPS)
808-945-7633 (JCCH)

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