National Park Service awards $3.4 million in grants to preserve and interpret World War II Japanese American confinement sites

By: The National Park Services

WASHINGTON – The National Park Service today announced $3,405,000 in Japanese American Confinement Sites grants. These funds will support 19 preservation, restoration, and education projects that help tell the story of the more than 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens, incarcerated by the U.S. government following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942.  
“The National Park Service is committed to telling a more complete story of the impacts and injustices of the Japanese American experience during World War II through the preservation and interpretation of incarceration sites and memorials across the country, partnerships with community groups, and through the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “As Americans, we need to better understand our shared history and learn about these hard truths, so we can make a better future for ourselves and generations to come. These grants will help tell these difficult histories with accuracy and authenticity.”   
Japanese American Confinement Sites grants may be awarded to projects associated with the 10 War Relocation Authority centers established in 1942 and more than 40 additional confinement sites. The program’s mission is to teach future generations about the injustices of the World War II confinement of Japanese Americans, preserve sites and stories associated with this history, and inspire a commitment to equal justice under the law. Successful project proposals were chosen through a competitive process that requires applicants to match the grant award with $1 in non-federal funds or “in-kind” contributions for every $2 they receive in federal money.  
View all 2022 grant recipients on NPS.gov.
Examples of projects funded this year include:  

  • Curricula and teacher training: Tides Center’s National Veterans Network, based in California, will host a teacher training institute to instruct teachers, both in-person and virtually, on curricula to teach elementary and middle school students about the history of Japanese American World War II incarceration and the Nisei soldiers who volunteered for military service while their families remained incarcerated behind barbed wire. The 3-day institute will be held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Through these efforts, more than 2,400 students will learn about this history, with the virtual component reaching even more students nationwide.   
  • Preservation of a historic building: California-based Poston Community Alliance will continue their efforts to restore a historic structure that once served as the Poston Elementary School site library. Located on the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation in Arizona, the historic structure is in dire need of stabilization and protection from the elements. The remaining adobe elementary school buildings are not only unique to Poston, but also rare as very few similar structures remain at any of the 10 incarceration sites built by the U.S. government during World War II.  
  • Community Pilgrimage: Seattle-based Northwest Film Forum will partner with Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages to organize a three day in-person and virtual event commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Jerome and Rohwer incarceration sites in Arkansas. This hybrid pilgrimage will include both in-person activities in McGehee, Arkansas, and virtual activities to allow those who are unable to travel to view and participate in pilgrimage programming. Activities will include workshops on how to preserve oral histories and artifacts that tell the history of Japanese American incarceration during World War II.   

  A full list of the 19 projects selected to receive funds in 2022 are identified in the table below. For more details about these projects, visit www.nps.gov/JACS/.