U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse and Ken Buck will try to bring a new national park to southeast Colorado to the site where more than 7,000 Japanese Americans were held during World War II.
Neguse, a Democrat from Lafayette, and Buck, a Republican from Windsor, introduced the bill Wednesday. The 600-acre Amache incarceration site lies in Buck's 3rd Congressional District in Granada between Lamar and Holly.
Neguse chairs the subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and intends to hold a hearing on the bill on April 21, his office said Thursday.
The bill, called the Amache National Historic Site Act, is available by clicking here.
The site was one of 10 created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to force more than 120,000 people, most of whom were American citizens, into camps during the war with Japan. Neguse said many of those housed at the camp were give a week or less to dispose of their property and had no idea when or if they would be released from incarceration.
“The unjustifiable internment of Japanese Americans is no doubt one of the darkest scars in our country’s history," Neguse said in a statement. "With the Amache site in Colorado, it is also a deeply personal history for Colorado.
“Designation of the Amache site in southeast Colorado as a National Park, will provide education for future generations on this dark time in our nation’s history, as well as healing and honor to those that lived it. It is our hope that preservation of this site will provide reconciliation for our communities and for the nation.”
Buck stated, "I am proud to introduce the Amache National Historic Site Act with Rep. Neguse because it is so important that we remember the injustices committed against Japanese Americans. The nation is better today because of the lessons we have learned from our past. Preserving Amache serves as one of those hard lessons for the people of Eastern Colorado and the rest of our nation.”
John Hopper, a former social studies teacher who is the principal at Granada High School, established and leads the all-volunteer Amache Preservation Society, which maintains the site.
"For the sake of our country and the future of our children, I urge Congress to pass the Amache National Historic Site Act,” he said in a statement released by Neguse's office.