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Minidoka Historic Site among internment camps that received grant from National Park Service

The Minidoka National Historic Site, or the Hunt Camp, is one of many internment camps that received grants from the National Park Service.

The National Park Service distributed $2.8 million to Japanese American confinement sites across the nation.

“The Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant is meant to help with the preservation of all aspects of the Japanese American incarceration,” said Hanako Wakatsuki, the chief of interpretation and education at the Minidoka Historic Site.

About $43,000 was awarded to Stanford University to work with the Gila River Incarceration Camp, but part of the money will be used to study the annual pilgrimage to Minidoka.

Every year, former Minidoka inmates and the white Americans who ran the camp return to Minidoka to reconcile and heal from the past.

“This isn’t just a Japanese American history, this is American history, and we need to process it together to move forward, so we don’t repeat what’s going on,” Wakatsuki said.

Over the years, many of the buildings at the site have been torn down, but Central Michigan University received almost $30,000 to study how the site once looked.

“They’re going to help us try to align our maps more closely, so we have a better understanding of where some of these historical structures were actually located,” Wakatsuki said.

The third grant dedicated in part to the Minidoka site is through the public television station in Spokane, Wa.

It received more than $66,000 to create five-minute educational videos.

“The videos will be focusing on the resettlement aspect, because Spokane was one of those resettlement sites where families were able to get permission to leave camp to go to different communities across the United States, but not back to the West Coast,” Wakatsuki said.

While the money granted by the National Park Service won’t go directly to the camp, it will help tell the story of the more than 120,000 Japanese Americans who were imprisoned by the American government during World War II.

The Minidoka Historic Site will be changing to its fall hours next week, but will still have guided tours every Saturday.

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