Bennet, Hickenlooper, Neguse, Buck Celebrate Senate Passage of Bill to Add Amache National Historic Site to the National Park System

Camp Amache Main Entrance


Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and John Hickenlooper (D), along with Colorado U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D) and Ken Buck (R), celebrated Senate passage of legislation to establish the Amache National Historic Site, a former Japanese American incarceration facility outside of Granada, Colorado, as part of the National Park System. Bennet and Hickenlooper introduced the bill in the U.S. Senate last year. Neguse and Buck introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed by 416-2 in July 2021.

“I’m thrilled the Senate passed our bill to establish Amache as a part of the National Park System,” said Bennet. “The incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II at sites like Amache is a shameful part of our country’s history. Our bill will preserve Amache’s story to ensure future generations can learn from this dark chapter in our history. I’m grateful to Senator Hickenlooper, Representatives Buck and Neguse, the survivors and descendants of Amache, and numerous advocates and community leaders for their partnership on this legislation, and I look forward to seeing it become law.”

“Interning Japanese-Americans at Camp Amache is a dark stain on our past. Elevating Amache to a National Historic Site will preserve the survivors’ stories and ensure that history never repeats,” said Hickenlooper.

“The Amache National Historic Site Act is a prime example of local leadership at work. Countless community leaders, descendants and advocates from across Colorado have come together behind this bill to support the designation and preservation of the Amache site,” said Neguse, Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. “This bill also proves what we can accomplish when we work together, across party lines, for the people of Colorado. Introduced in early 2021, we’ve been able to usher this legislation through the House and Senate in record time and I look forward to seeing the President sign it into law.”

“The Amache National Historic Site Act recognizes the awful injustices committed against Japanese Americans who were placed in internment camps, while preserving the site for the citizens of Colorado — and the United States — to visit and learn from in the future,” said Buck.  “I am grateful to my colleagues in the Senate for voting to pass this act in honor of former Amache detainees and their families.”

Earlier this month, Bennet asked the Senate to pass his Amache National Historic Site Act. Ninety-nine senators supported Bennet’s request, but U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) objected.  This afternoon, Bennet and Lee reached an agreement on the bill on the Senate floor. It passed the Senate by unanimous consent shortly thereafter.

“The Amache site as a National Park unit highlights the injustices of the internment of Japanese Americans, one of our nation’s darkest chapters. Colorado is home to world-class national parks and adding the Amache site honors those values and our history,” said Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado.

John Hopper

Amache was one of ten Japanese American incarceration facilities across the country. During World War II, nearly 10,000 Japanese Americans passed through Amache and over 7,000 lived there between 1942 and 1945. According to the National Park Service (NPS), today “the cemetery, a reservoir, a water well and tank, the road network, concrete foundations, watch towers, the military police compound, and trees planted by the internees still remain.” Amache is currently a National Historic Landmark maintained by the Amache Preservation Society, established by John Hopper, a social studies teacher who is currently the principal of Granada High School, and powered by student volunteers from the high school.
(Release edited for content)

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