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Ireichō: The Book of Names at JANM through September 24, 2023
The Japanese American National Museum is exhibiting Ireichō: The Book of Names through September 24, 2023. It is the first comprehensive listing of the names of approximately 125,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, who were unjustly imprisoned in U.S. Army, Department of Justice, and War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps. It is part of a larger project, “Irei: National Monument for the WWII Japanese American Incarceration”, which also includes a digital archive, Ireizō, as well as as a series of light show memorials, Ireihi, installed at eight of the former WRA confinement sites beginning in 2024. For more details, see the JANM exhibit page or the article in RAFU Shimpo. A ceremonial installation took place on Saturday, September 24, 2022. A panel discussion on the Irei project, was featured in Tadaima 2022.
Saving Places On the Road to be held August 25-26, 2023
Join Colorado Preservation Inc. as they take Saving Places On the Road! Expect a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the culture and heritage of Southeast Colorado while learning from the inspiring individuals making a difference in the region. Space is limited so register early!
Beyond the Road: Volunteer Furniture Making Workshop to be held August 27, 2023, 9AM-5PM
After this year’s Saving Places On the Road! conference, this educational workshop will engage a small group of volunteers in the fabrication of replica furniture pieces of former internees at Amache during WWI incarceration. The pieces created by the volunteers will be used as permanent exhibit furnishings inside the reconstructed barrack and will contribute to the interactive visitor space as part of larger interpretive goals for Amache. There will be a presentation on the evening of Saturday August 26 and the workshop will run from 9AM-5PM on August 27 with optional tours. Space is limited to 12-14 volunteers, so register early!
Annual Amache Pilgimage was held on May 20, 2023
The Amache Pilgrimage is an annual event to remember those of Japanese descent who spent more than three years incarcerated in southern Colorado during World War II. This year included an exchange with Sand Creek Massacre descendants. Read more in an article in the Colorado Sun.
Book Event was held at the Tattered Cover in Denver, Monday May 29, 2023, 6PM
Gail Kuromiya and noted J/A historian and scholar, Art Hansen presented her father’s (Yosh Kuromiya) book “Beyond the Betrayal: the Memoir of a WWII J/A Draft Resister of Conscience” at the Tattered Cover Bookstore at MacGregor Square on Monday, May 29th at 6 pm. It’s the first book-length account by a Nisei WWII draft resister of conscience. They plan showed a short film and video clips of Yosh Kuromiya. Please see event details here: https://www.tatteredcover.com/event/art-hansen-and-gail-kuromiya-live-mcgregor-square.
KUNC podcast series on Saving Amache
KUNC NPR for Northern Colorado recently produced a series of podcasts on Saving Amache: The community effort to preserve a bitter history, featuring interviews with members of the Amache Community. Check out the website for the podcasts, a timeline, and other resources.
Dr. Bonnie Clark TEDx Mile High talk on Amache Gardens now available
On April 30, 2022, Dr. Bonnie Clark presented an overview of Amache and the University of Denver’s archaeological research at a TEDx Mile High event in Denver. You can now watch the 13-min video on YouTube to learn more about the surprising archaeology of Amache gardens.
Video from the 76th Nisei Veterans Memorial Service now available
Members of the community gathered on May 30th, 2022 for the 76th Nisei Veterans Memorial Service to show respect to the Nisei Veterans of Colorado for their contribution to the freedom of all Americans and the acceptance of Japanese Americans at home. Special guests U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and John Hopper of the Amache Preservation Society provided remarks during the service and discussed efforts behind the passage of the Amache National Historic Site Act. You can watch the video on vimeo, courtesy of The Nikkeijin Kai of Colorado.
Tadaima 2022 recordings still available
Tadaima 2022, a community virtual pilgrimage, was held October 11-18. This year focused on the theme of memory and commemorated the 80th Anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066. Many videos are still available on the schedule page, and some films may still be accessible as well. Amache content is available in the October 11 section. A preview of the Amache Rose film was only available for a short time but additional showings are being planned.
For Every Generation: Recovering and Sharing Family Histories
On Saturday, August 13, 2022 from 2-3:30 PDT, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles hosted a panel discussion as part of the Tateuchi Democracy Forum related to the exhibit Sutra and Bible. The exhibition was made possible by the dedicated efforts of family and community members who have preserved and researched their family’s histories and the objects, images, and documents that tell these stories. Dr. Gail Y. Okawa, Mitch Homma of Amache Alliance, Elizabeth Nishiura, and Laura Dominguez-Yon spoke about their families and the efforts they’ve made to record and share their stories and preserve the unique and rare objects that are featured in Sutra and Bible. The conversation was moderated by Nancy Ukai, Project Director of 50 Objects. For more information, visit the event page. You may also watch a recording on YouTube.
The University of Denver’s Archaeology Field School was back June 12-July 9, 2022
DU’s Amache Project typically offers its biennial Field School in the summer of years ending in even numbers. In the interest of safety, the planned 2020 DU Amache field school was postponed. They returned in 2022 to Amache and the Amache museum for a seventh field school in historical archaeology and museum studies. The field school is a four-credit undergraduate level course for students interested in archaeology, museum studies, or history. High school interns and volunteers with family ties to the site also participated. Archaeological work this summer focused on Blocks 10G, 7E, and 12F and on the site of the high school. A community open house was held from the evening of June 30-July 1 and a public open house was held on July 2. Details are on the Archaeology Open House page.
Injustice Forever: the Story of Amache now available
9News.com Gary Shapiro and Manny Sotelo Jr. attended the Pilgrimage and aired a 30 min special “Injustice Forever: the Story of Amache” on Sunday June 26, 2022 at 7:30. It tells the story of Amache and what will likely to happen to the site once the National Park Service is running it.
In-person Amache Pilgimage held May 21, 2022
The first in-person Amache Pilgrimage since 2019 was held the Saturday before Memorial Day Weekend, May 21. It was a day to remember those of Japanese descent who spent more than three years imprisoned on the plains of southern Colorado during World War II. This year, there was additional attention due to the Amache National Historic Site Act, and it was the first Amache Pilgrimage for many attendees. We will post news clips and videos as we receive them on the In-person Pilgrimage page.
The Amache National Historic Site Act was signed into law on March 18, 2022
On Friday, March 18, 2022, President Biden signed the Amache National Historic Site Act, authorizing Amache to be established as a unit of the National Park System. For more details, see the Amache National Historic Site Act page, NPS Press Release, and NPS Amache NHS website.
Vail Public Library hosted The Story of Amache, March 2, 2022
On Wednesday, March 2, from 5:30-6:50 MT, Vail Public Library hosted a virtual presentation on The Story of Amache. The Amache Story program shared how people created a livable community behind barbed wire by blending a short presentation and discussion with a group of survivors. Today, survivors and descendants work to preserve and share this important part of our history. Since 2008 Denver University Amache Research Project has worked with the Amache community and town of Granada to conduct on site archaeological research. A panel of Amacheans supported a DU Amache Project presenter to share the history of the site and current research. For a review of the event, read the article in the Vail Daily.
National Day of Remembrance: 80 Years of Reckoning was held Feb 18-20, 2022
From February 18-20, the National Park Service, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and Heart Mountain Foundation co-hosted a virtual National Day of Remembrance: 80 Years of Reckoning. Amache Alliance participated in the panel on “Restorative Justice and Healing in Preservation and Interpretation Through Community Engagement” on Sunday Feb 20. For the full program and links to recordings, visit the National Museum of American History’s Day of Remembrance 2022 site.
Mile High JACL Virtual Day of Remembrance, Feb 19, 2022
The Mile High JACL hosted a virtual Day of Remembrance event on February 19, 2022. This year’s program honored the 5,000 Japanese Latin Americans living in Central and South America were deported from their homes and imprisoned in the US, justified by the US government as a matter of national security. Their fight for recognition and justice continues to this day. Keynote speakers were Grace Shimizu, an activist and leader in the JLA redress movement and Joe Ozaki, whose family was removed from Peru to Crystal City, Texas. You can watch a recording of the event on YouTube.
Amache National Historic Site Act passed the House and Senate!
On Monday, Feb 14, the Senate passed the Amache National Historic Site Act by unanimous consent. The House quickly approved their amendments, also by unanimous consent, on Feb 18, 2022. The bill is now on its way to President Biden for signature. Watch a recording of the virtual rountable discussion with the Secretary of the Interior, members of Congress, and Amache survivors and descendants on Feb 18, and view CBS news Colorado’s coverage of the delegation’s visit to Amache for the 80th Anniversary of the Day of Remembrance on Feb 19.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 2497 on Thurs Nov 18, 2021
On Thursday Nov 18, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee voted on the Amache National Historic Site Act by voice vote. You can watch a recording at the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources Hearings and Business Meetings page.
Tadaima 2021 Recordings Still Available
Tadaima! A Community Virtual Pilgrimage was developed in 2020 when most organized annual pilgrimages to WWII incarceration sites were cancelled due to COVID-19. It is an effort to provide a safe space for the Japanese American community and allies to learn, communicate and collaborate as they normally would during in-person pilgrimages. Tadaima 2020 focused on Japanese American history, from the 1800s to today. From August 29 – September 25, 2021 Tadaima 2021 was held, expanding upon Tadaima 2020 to address identity, indigeneity, and intersectionality as they relate to the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans. The session “Resistance at Amache and the Road to Recognition” featured an overview of resistance at Amache and panel discussion, with special guest Susumu Yenokida, the last surviving Nisei draft resister from the Granada (Amache) concentration camp.
U.S. House of Representatives passed Amache National Historic Site Act on July 29, 2021
On April 14, 2021, Congressman Joe Neguse, Chair of the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and Congressman Ken Buck introduced bipartisan legislation to designate Amache as a National Historical Site. Learn more from this story in the Colorado Sun. It passed the House Natural Resources Committee on July 14 and passed in the full House on July 29 with overwhelming support: 416 YES and 2 No. You can see the bill’s progress at congress.gov and read the Denver Post article about the vote.
House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 2497 on Wed July 14, 2021
On Wednesday July 14, the full House Natural Resources Committee voted on the Amache National Historic Site Act via unanimous consent.
For more information, visit the House Natural Resources Committee website.
Virtual Amache Pilgrimage content still available!
The first Virtual Amache Pilgrimage was held June 11-13th and included a mix of videos, panel discussions, and interactive chats. The majority of programming was recorded and is still available online at https://www.jampilgrimages.com/2021-amache-virtual-pilgrimage.
Amache Virtual Community Roundtable was held April 23, 2021
A virtual community roundtable discussion with U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), and U.S. Representative Ken Buck (R-Colo.) was held on April 23 to discuss the Amache National Historic Site Act, legislation to establish Amache as part of the National Park System. Community leaders and Amache descendants also spoke about what this legislation means to them personally as well as to the future of our nation. You can watch the recording on Senator Bennett’s facebook page.
H.R. 2497 Legislative Hearing, April 21, 2021
This #NationalParkWeek, the Amache National Historic Site Act (H.R. 2497) was among the legislation that was heard by the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands subcommittee. For the full list of bills, visit the Natural Resources Committee page.You can watch a recording of the hearing on their YouTube Channel.
March 24, 2021, NPCA Virtual Park Talk on Amache
NPCA hosted a Virtual Park Talk supporting the potential creation of a new national park in Colorado at Amache. In this Park Talk, Tracy Coppola (NPCA Colorado Program Manager) and Elliot Richardson (NPCA Cultural Resources Analyst), explained the importance of honoring and preserving this place for future generations and how you can take action. Special guests included Bonnie Clarke (Professor of Anthropology and University of Denver Amache Project Director) and Amache descendants Mitch Homma (Vice President on the Board of Managers for the American Baptist Historical Society) and Derek Okubo (Executive Director of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships City and County of Denver). A recording of the talk is available via their Park Talks page.
Amache Special Resource Study Featured in Colorado Sun
On February 5, 2021, the Colorado Sun published a story about the process to determine whether Amache may become part of the National Park System and delays due to COVID-19. It provides additional context about the Special Resource Study process and background on Amache, and includes a short audio segment.
Background materials to help prepare your comments for NPS available online
To help you prepare comments for the NPS Special Resource Study, Amache Historical Society II held a virtual preparation session on July 11, 2020. They reviewed the four criteria for Amache to qualify as a new NPS site and how to make sure your responses to the five questions address those criteria and are most impactful. You can watch a recording of the presentation, view the slides, or refer to the AHSII special newsletter for additional details to help you prepare comments for NPS.
Programming still available for TADAIMA! A Community Virtual Pilgrimage
The annual pilgrimage to Amache and other sites of wartime Japanese American incarceration were canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the significance of these pilgrimages, a virtual community pilgrimage was organized by the Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages. They hosted TADAIMA! A Community Virtual Pilgrimage from June 13-August 16, 2020. Except for the Films of the Week, most of the content is still available via the TADAIMA! page.
If you missed any of the past Amache programming, all the panels and presentations were recorded and are still available. Here are some offerings about Amache or that feature Amache incarcerees (for automatic closed captioning, look for the cc button on the bottom right hand side of the videos–it is available for most of the videos):
- Week 1: Tues Jun 16 An Archaeology of Gardens and Gardeners at Amache
- Week 2: Sat Jun 27 Ask an Archaeologist Panel Discussion
- Week 5: Tues Jul 14 The Heritage of Sport: An Overview of the University of Denver Amache Project
- Week 6: Film of the Week Seed: The Life of the Rice King and his Kin
- Sun July 19 Blossoms and Thorns: A Community Uprooted Film Screening and Q&A with panelist Flora Ninomiya
- Tues July 21 Bonsai at Camp Amache
- Sat July 25 Nikkei Block Party Discussion of Terminal Island includes panelist Min Tonai, starting around 1:09:00
- Week 7: Sat Aug 1 Amache Site Tour
- Week 8: Sun Aug 2 Amache Elder Panel featuring Ken Kitajima, Sherman Kishi, and Margarette Murakami. Sherman was having some sound challenges, so be sure to use the closed captioning function.
- Week 9: Sun Aug 9 Amache Field School: Amache Kids Search for their Past featuring Carlene Tinker, Gary Ono, and Dennis Fujita
New Book on the Gardens of Amache Now Available
A new book, Finding Solace in the Soil An Archaeology of Gardens and Gardeners at Amache, is now available. It summarizes work of the University of Denver Amache Project over 6 field seasons and 15 years of community collaboration. Combining physical evidence with oral histories and archival data and enriched by the personal photographs and memories of former Amache incarcerees, the book describes how gardeners cultivated community in confinement. You can learn more about the book and order it through the University Press of Colorado. You can also watch a 1.5 hour long colloquium presentation about the book. It includes a powerpoint illustrated lecture and a Q&A session including Amache survivors who have worked on the DU Amache project.
Oral History Project Seeks Ghost Stories from Internment Camps
The Minidoka Ghost Stories project is seeking stories of ghosts, hauntings, and the strange from the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and is an opportunity to hear and to share a unique aspect of the internment experience. These stories not only provide an alternative inroad to Japanese American history, but also, in the analysis of their telling, provide insights into our culture, our values, and our legacy. Though Minidoka is specified in the project’s title, they are interested in hearing stories associated with ANY of the camps. To learn more about the project or to contribute, visit the project’s facebook page or contact them at email@example.com.
Museum exhibit on Amache available to travel
A student and community curated exhibit, Connecting the Pieces: Dialogues on the Amache Archaeology Collection is now available to travel. Connecting the Pieces features objects from the DU Amache Research Project that help tell the story of Japanese American internment during World War II. Interested in bringing the dialogue to your local museum, library, or community center? Download the flier or contact Anne Amati for more information.