July 14, 2021

Neguse Bill to Designate Amache Incarceration Site in Colorado as National Historical Site Passes Out of Committee

Neguse’s bipartisan legislation seeks to remember, honor, and teach about the injustices Japanese-Americans faced on Colorado land.

Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Natural Resources Committee voted to pass Congressman Joe Neguse’s bill, the Amache National Historic Site Act, out of committee. The legislation, which is also supported by Congressman Ken Buck, would designate the Amache incarceration site in Southeast Colorado as a National Historical Site.

“The Amache incarceration site is a profound reminder of the injustices that Japanese Americans have faced within our state and our nation,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “This bill is an important step towards preserving, telling, and reckoning with the stories of those who suffered at Amache, and I am proud to send it to the House floor for a vote. I urge my colleagues to pass this bill so that we may educate future generations, and provide dignity and healing to those who were forced to experience the Amache story firsthand.”

“Our nation is better today because of the lessons we have learned from our past, ” said Congressman Ken Buck. “The Amache National Historic Site Act is important because it recognizes the horrible injustices committed against Japanese Americans and preserves the site for people throughout Colorado and the United States. I’m grateful to my colleagues in the House Natural Resources committee for unanimously advancing this legislation out of committee and I look forward to swift passage on the House floor.”

 

As Chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, Congressman Neguse first brought the bill up for consideration at an April 21st legislative hearing.

During the first months of World War II, the United States initiated the single largest forced imprisonment in its history when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order forcing more than 120,000 people, primarily of Japanese descent, to relocate to 10 remote, military-style prisons. The Granada Relocation Center in the southeast corner of Colorado, known as Amache, was one of these 10 incarceration centers. Amache wrongfully detained over 7,000 people—more than two-thirds of whom were Americans. 

Most detainees had never been to Japan. Many others were first-generation Japanese elders who had immigrated from Japan and were denied U.S. citizenship for decades. Most were given a week or less to dispose of everything they owned, with no idea where they were going or what would happen. 

The Amache Preservation Society, along with the support of other organizations, currently maintains the physical site of Amache. They have renovated the cemetery, established an Amache Museum and research center, restored key Amache landmarks, including the water tower, a guard tower, and barracks. This legislation would bring the site under the protection of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park System. 

Read the full text of the bill HERE.

 Read quotes of support HERE.

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