Park Service Grants

Park Service awards Japanese internment grants

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The National Park Service has awarded nearly $1 million in grants to increase public awareness about & help preserve sites related to the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The largest of the 19 grants, $282,000, is going to an organization that is building a museum at the former Heart Mountain Relocation Center outside Powell in northern Wyoming.

Also receiving grants are programs at the Manzanar & Tule Lake relocation centers in California, Honouliuli Internment Camp in Hawaii, Fort Lincoln Internment Camp in North Dakota, Kooskia Internment Camp in Idaho, Crystal City Internment Camp in Texas, & Central Utah (Topaz) Relocation Center.

Other grants will help organizations record interviews with people who lived at the camps.

"Especially now, it's really urgent that we document internees' experiences — firsthand experiences, what it was like," said Kara Miyagishima, a Park Service historian in Denver.

President Obama approved the funding earlier this year & the Park Service announced the grants Friday. The Park Service awarded the $960,000 after holding public meetings in Honolulu, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles & San Francisco. The Park Service received a total of 32 applications seeking $2.4 million through the program, said Gerald Yamada, national coordinator for the Japanese-American National Heritage Coalition.

"They've I think gone out of the way to outreach to the community and get input," Yamada said Monday.

Grant recipients must raise $1 on their own for every $2 in federal funding they receive. Congress now is considering awarding another $2.5 million through the program next year, Yamada said.

To make a tax-deductible donation to our project, contact:

The Poston Restoration Project
c/o Marlene Shigekawa, Treasurer
956 Hawthorne Drive
Lafayette, CA 94549
marshige at gmail dot com


From the Smithsonian

National Museum of American History Kenneth E. Behring Center

Blog O say can you see?
July 16, 2009

From Kiyosato to Kiyo Sato

Kiyosato. At first, that name meant to me the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan. Its director is Eikoh Hosoe, a renowned photographer whose controversial exhibition, "Man and Woman", I curated for the National Museum of American History many years ago. These art photographs of nudes were displayed in a museum which then, paradoxically, emphasized the history of technology. Five photographs from my exhibition remain in the museum’s photographic history collections.

But Kiyo Sato (Poston 229-11-AB) is the name of a woman. This delightful Japanese American came to the museum’s Archives Center in early 2009 with her daughter, Cia, & friends, to view a letter she had written to her teacher, Mary Aline Cox, during World War II. Kiyo & her family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans, had been removed from her home & placed in an internment camp. Kiyo & other former students at the Edward Kelly School in Sacramento wrote from internment camps & schools to Miss Cox, a kind, beloved figure who had tried to protect her Japanese American students during the evacuations mandated by Executive Order 9066. Internees were permitted to leave the camps if they had jobs, attended a college, or agreed to join the U.S. military, & passed investigations which certified their loyalty to the United States. E. Gerald Lamboley, a U.S. military intelligence officer, was tasked with investigating these young evacuees. One source of information was Miss Cox, who gave him letters from her former Japanese American students. He kept some letters, which over the years dwindled to only 6, including one from Kiyo Sato, dated December 26, 1942. In 1992 Mr. Lamboley donated these letters to the Archives Center, where they were archived & catalogued.

In January 2009, Colleen Zoller wrote to us after seeing the description of the Lamboley Collection of Japanese-American Letters in the SIRIS (Smithsonian Institution Research Information System) online database. She provided Miss Cox’s full name, obituary, & other information, & identified Kiyo Sato as the author of the letter signed "Kiyo". She mentioned Ms. Sato’s memoir, which centers on the internment experience & its aftermath. The memoir has been republished as Kiyo’s Story: A Japanese Family’s Quest for the American Dream. Since she was scheduled to speak at a Smithsonian program, with the help of Noriko Sanefuji in the museum’s Division of Home & Community Life, I invited her to visit the Archives Center during her Washington visit.

                                                                Photo: Kiyo Sato.

Ms. Sato was the first woman to be released from her desert internment camp to attend college. Her letter was written from Garrett, Indiana, where she spent Christmas vacation with the Nicholson family. She described her academic struggles, but said she was happy with college life; she said other students & professors were kind, but townspeople stared at her when she went shopping. She said she had been asked to speak to a women’s group about her internment experiences & had surprised herself by accepting, despite her discomfort with public speaking. She hoped her talk might promote understanding.

John Fleckner, founding director of the Archives Center, jokes that archivists basically "read dead people’s mail". Miss Cox is gone but Kiyo Sato is very much alive. She was astounded that these letters had survived & were available to Archives Center researchers. At her request, I wrote to Mr. Lamboley, who is still living in Washington, & asked permission to give her his address & phone number. I was uncertain how he would react, since the letters had once served as evidence in a loyalty investigation; the need to prove their patriotism & loyalty was a sensitive subject for Japanese Americans who had suffered the internment nightmare.

Mr. Lamboley quickly wrote that he would be delighted to speak to Ms. Sato about their shared history. I can imagine her questions! Archivists & curators often consider their collections as resources for dispassionate scholarly research, but also are keenly aware of the real-life, emotionally charged human experiences which they embody. I was deeply moved to see Ms. Sato,her daughter, & friends eagerly pouring over these war letters & to sense the traumatic stories behind them.

I saw Eikoh Hosoe last November. I’ve meant to write to him about photography & museums. I may also ask about the war, when he was a teenager, & its impact on his photography. I’m eager to tell him about meeting Kiyo & how "Kiyosato" has taken on a dual meaning for me.

Written by: David Haberstich, Associate Curator in the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History.


JANHC: Confinement Site Grants

From: Gerald Yamada
Subject: JANHC: Confinement Site Grants
Friday, July 24, 2009

Today the National Park Service announced the first year funding for the Confinement Sites Preservation Program authorized by Public Law 109-442. NPS awarded 19 grants totaling $960,000.

I understand that NPS received 32 applications totaling almost $2.4 million. The applications were evaluated by an internal review panel with their recommendations provided to the Secretary of the Interior for final approval. NPS has promised to host another round of meetings later this year to highlight the projects that were funded and ask for additional input on the first year of funding for this grant program.

NPS deserves our appreciation for the manner in which NPS has implemented this program and the types of projects chosen to be funded. I believe that we are off to an excellent start.

That brings me to funding for next year. The House is likely to approve a $2.5M appropriations for FY 2010. The House Appropriations Committee Report reads:

”Japanese American Confinement Sites.--The Committee continues to recognize the importance of preserving these sites, and the stories of those affected by the actions of the Federal government. Because of the importance of these areas to current and future generations, the Committee has included the following efforts across several Park Service accounts. The Committee has included $2,500,000, which is $1,500,000 above the request, for the Japanese American Site Grants program. The Committee has also included $350,000 in land acquisition, as requested, to acquire 17 acres at the Minidoka National Historic Site in Idaho. Additionally, the Committee has included new bill language in Title I, General Provisions, that will expand the acquisition boundary of the Minidoka National Historic Site in Idaho and the Heart Mountain site in Wyoming. This language will allow the National Park Service to purchase additional lands from willing sellers in future years.”

President Obama requested $1M in his budget for this program. We can thank the efforts made by Congresswoman Doris (Okada) Matsui (Poston 305-4-D), Congressman Mike Honda, and Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks for their efforts to increase this amount to $2.5M.

Beneficiary Projects that will Receive Grant Funding from the JA Confinement Site Grant Program:

Poston Community Alliance-Parker, AZ
“Saving the Stories: Oral Histories & Digitization of Former Poston Detainees & Staff”
Colorado River Indian (Poston) Relocation Center $25,994


Univ of Cal

UC to grant Japanese WWII internees degrees
Jul.21, 2009

(07-16)— Since 1942, Grace Obata Amemiya has dreamed of the University of California degree that slipped through her fingers when the U.S. government forced her to abandon her studies & ordered her & 120,000 other Japanese Americans to inland internment camps.

On Thursday, 67 years later, the University of California Regents formally acknowledged the historic injustice, voting to grant special honorary degrees to the hundreds of former students like Amemiya who never finished their UC education because of the World War II Japanese American internment.

The decision ended a 37-year ban by the University of California on granting honorary degrees. The regents authorized the suspension of the moratorium exclusively for the interned students, living & deceased.

About 700 University of California students were sent to internment camps in 1942.

A few hundred of them later earned their UC degrees, finishing their studies in the camps, where professors arrived to push final exams through the fences, or after the war. They won’t receive honorary degrees.

About 400 individuals, many of whom graduated from college elsewhere, will be eligible for the honorary degrees – the first conferred since 1972, said UC officials, who are cross-referencing records in an effort to find them.

Among those on the list to receive them are Harvey Itano, the first Japanese American elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and George Ichiro, killed in action in 1945 in the Philippines & posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

“A whole race of people were removed & interned out of fear,” Regent Eddie Island said. “We embrace this as a way to express our profound sorrow & regret.”

Executive Order 9066 was signed by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The order excluded anyone of Japanese ancestry from military areas, which included California.

Amemiya was a student at the UCSF nursing school when she & her family were given 7 days’ notice before being sent to Turlock, a temporary stop before they boarded a train for Gila River camp in Arizona.

Now 88 & living in Iowa, she said the forced internment was hard to accept.
“It was a shocking experience,” she said in testimony Thursday before the Regents Committee on Education Policy. “And yes, you can start your life over again with just 2 suitcases.”

She never moved back to California. She earned her nursing degree in Minnesota after her year in the camp, later serving in the Army Nurse Corps, where she tended to injured soldiers, many of them former prisoners of war in Japan.

“We, with patriotism in spite of prejudice, did our best,” she said.

Even as she raised a family & grew older, Amemiya said she couldn’t forget her childhood wish to graduate from Cal.

“This is a dream I was living all this time,” she told the regents. “Please know our hearts will be full of joy.”

Each honorary degree, issued by the University of California rather than a specific campus, will include the Latin phrase Inter Silvas Academi Restituere Institiam: To restore justice among the groves of the academy.

Justice was a long time in coming for these former students, many are now well into their 80s.

“I would urge you to issue these degrees in all due haste,” Regent Leslie Tang Schilling said during the committee hearing before the full board vote. “It’s getting late.”

UC officials were working out the details for officially conferring the degrees in the fall or spring at campuses where the students attended.

Where are they?
UC officials need help in identifying students who were unable to graduate because of internment during World War II. Anyone with questions or information is asked to e-mail honorarydegree@ucop.edu or call (510) 987-0239.

Source: page D – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


Message from Dianne

I have re-organized this site.

I have re-named this blog, "Poston Camp Updates: Restoration Project."

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