The Amache site in Grenda, Colorado, became the first national park created under the Biden administration.
Biden signed the Amache National Historic Site Act on March 18. The act will permanently protect what was formerly known as the Granada Relocation Center — one of 10 camps used by the federal government to detain Japanese people during World War II.
“As a nation, we must face the wrongs of our past in order to build a more just and equitable future,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in a statement. “I applaud President Biden and the bipartisan action in Congress that has ensured this important and painful chapter in our nation’s story is preserved and honored for the generations to come.”
Haaland visited the location with Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Joe Neguse in February to mark the 80th Day of Remembrance, the anniversary of when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066.
The E.O. authorized the military to move people from military zones during World War II.
“After visiting Amache and meeting with survivors and descendants, I was moved by their resilience and the way in which Colorado communities came together during and after the injustice to support Japanese Americans,” Haaland said. “May we all be inspired to do the same today for all our fellow citizens.”
Amache housed an estimated 10,000 people between 1942-1945. At its peak, 7,310 people were incarcerated at the camp. The Department of Interior says two-thirds were United States citizens.
The site has been on the National Register of Historic Places since May 1994 and was classified as a National Historic Landmark on Feb. 10, 2006. The area is currently owned by the Town of Granada and managed by the Amache Preservation Society.
The act was introduced in the House on Feb. 14, 2021 and passed on July 29, 2021. The Senate passed the legislation in February of 2022 and presented the policy to the president on March 11.
“This bill establishes the Amache National Historic Site in Colorado as a unit of the National Park System to preserve, protect, and interpret for the benefit of present and future generations resources associated with the incarceration of civilians of Japanese ancestry during World War II at Amache, also known as the Granada Relocation Center, and the military service of incarcerated at the Granada Relocation Center,” read the bill summary.
The Senate unanimously passed one amendment that was sponsored by Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and contends “land may be acquired for inclusion in the Camp Amache National Historic Site only by exchange.”