President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan bill into law Friday 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 town of Granada and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its current designation already qualifies it for preservation funds, but designating the remote southeastern Colorado landmark as a National Historic Site makes it eligible for additional federal money.
About 120,000 Japanese Americans were held in 10 camps in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Arkansas and Colorado after they were expelled from their homes near the West Coast under an executive order by President Franklin Roosevelt issued Feb. 19, 1942. More than 7,000 people were interned at Amache — the camp’s unofficial name, after a Cheyenne chief’s daughter — between 1942 and 1945.
The Amache site is less than one square mile (2.4 square kilometers) and features remnants of barracks, latrines, mess halls, military police structures and a cemetery, as well as trees planted by internees. It is currently managed by the non-profit Amache Preservation Society.
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The push to designate Amache as a National Historic Site came as Japanese Americans across the country strive to spread awareness about the injustices committed by the U.S. government against their community during World War II.