Home Community HMWF Praises Passage of Bills about Japanese American Incarceration

HMWF Praises Passage of Bills about Japanese American Incarceration


Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation Vice chair Douglas Nelson and Chair Shirley Ann Higuchi flank Sen John Barrasso at the 2011 grand opening of the foundations interpretive center between Cody and Powell Wyoming Photo HMWF

POWELL, Wyo. – The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation praises Congress for passing the 2023 spending bill that includes the Norman Y. Mineta Japanese American Confinement Education Act and the Japanese American History Network Act, which together will further education about one of the nation’s civil rights abuses.

Named after the late Norman Mineta, who was incarcerated at Heart Mountain as a child, the Norman Y. Mineta Japanese American Confinement Education Act dedicates $80 million in future funding for the preservation of sites where Japanese Americans were held without legal due process and education about their unjust incarceration.

The Japanese American History Network Act, introduced in the Senate by Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, authorizes the National Park Service to “coordinate federal and nonfederal activities that commemorate, honor, and interpret the history of Japanese Americans during World War II,” according to the Senate report on the bill.

The Mineta act also provides $10 million in grants to qualifying institutions for educational programs about the Japanese American incarceration in which more than 120,000 people, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens, were imprisoned in a series of concentration camps around the country, including at Heart Mountain, Wyoming.

Heart Mountain appreciates Sen. Barrasso’s efforts getting the language of the two bills included in the overall spending bill and in renaming the education bill after Mineta, who later served as a U.S. representative and secretary of Commerce and Transportation for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

“Along with our partners at other institutions and incarceration sites, Heart Mountain works tirelessly to educate the public about the ongoing legacy of this historic wrong,” said Aura Sunada Newlin, interim executive director of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. “This legislation strengthens the future of American democracy by enabling us to reach new audiences in new ways.”

Heart Mountain thanks its fellow stakeholders in the Japanese American Confinement Sites Consortium (JACSC) for contacting their members of Congress to get the bill passed. JACSC leaders, particularly David Inoue, Executive Director, Japanese American Citizens League, and Ann Burroughs, President and CEO, Japanese American National Museum, were instrumental in getting the bills drafted and shepherded through Congress.

The support of the rest of the Wyoming delegation – Sen. Cynthia Lummis and Rep. Liz Cheney – was critical in the bill’s passage earlier in this congressional session.

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation preserves the site where some 14,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated in Wyoming from 1942 through 1945. Their stories are told within the foundation’s museum, Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, located between Cody and Powell.

For more information, call the center at (307) 754-8000
or email info@heartmountain.org.