WASHINGTON, DC - May 1 - The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) praised today’s passage of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial, which was part of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008.The legislation now heads to the White House for the President’s signature.
This legislation adds nearly 220 acres to the Minidoka Internment National Monument and ties it to the Nidoto Nai Yoni ("Let it not happen again") memorial that commemorates the Japanese Americans of Bainbridge Island, Washington. These citizens were the first to be forcibly removed from their homes and relocated to internment camps during World War II.
“Minidoka, like all internment sites, serves as an important lesson in US History,” said Stephanie Hester, Senior Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association Northern Rockies Regional Office. “Commemoration of the Japanese-American confinement sites across the country will encourage us to reflect on the way American citizens were mistreated during a time of fear and war and serve as a reminder so the mistake is not repeated.”
The Minidoka relocation center was in operation from August 10, 1942 to October 28, 1945. Over 13,000 internees passed through the gates, most from Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. In early 1943, all of the Bainbridge Island internees were moved, at their request, to Minidoka to be closer to their original home. Minidoka constituted the seventh largest city in Idaho while it was operational between 1942 and 1945, with the population peaking at 9,500.
“We could not be more pleased with the passage of S2739,” said Emily Hanako Momohara of the Friends of Minidoka. “The boundary expansion will allow the story of Minidoka to be told in a much more thorough and exciting way. We are very thankful to Congress for their affirmative vote and leadership.”
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in the fight to safeguard our National Park System. NPCA, its members, and partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come.