President Joe Biden on Friday signed a bipartisan bill designating a former World War II Japanese-American internment camp in rural Colorado as a federal historic site managed by the National Park Service.
Camp Amache is owned by the city of Granada and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its current designation already qualifies it for preservation funds, but the remote southeast Colorado landmark’s designation as a National Historic Site makes it eligible for additional federal funds.
About 120,000 Japanese Americans have been held in 10 camps in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Arkansas and Colorado after being evicted from their homes near the West Coast under an executive order. President Franklin Roosevelt released February 19, 1942. More than 7,000 people were interned at Amache – the camp’s unofficial name, after the daughter of a Cheyenne chief – between 1942 and 1945.
The Amache site covers less than a square mile (2.4 square kilometers) and includes remains of barracks, latrines, mess halls, military police structures and a cemetery, as well as trees planted by internees. It is currently run by the non-profit Amache Preservation Society.
The drive to designate Amache as a National Historic Site came as Japanese Americans across the country strive to raise awareness of the injustices committed by the US government against their community during World War II.