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New Mexico JACL Battles to Fund Historical Preservation Project

By February 10, 2015No Comments

By New Mexico JACL

The New Mexico chapter of the JACL, in conjunction with Colorado State University’s Public Lands History Center, is undertaking a project to help share the history of Japanese Americans in New Mexico during World War II. The project is funded in part through a $189,864 grant from the National Park Service’s Japanese American Confinement Sites program.

The education and outreach project, titled “Confinement in the Land of Enchantment: Japanese Americans in New Mexico during WWII” aims to reach a wide audience of New Mexicans to provide information about Japanese American confinement sites in the state and inspire thought and conversation about issues of citizenship, identity and civil liberty.

The project will focus on the stories of the confinement sites that were located at Santa Fe, Ft. Stanton, Old Raton Ranch and Camp Lordsburg.

In addition to telling the histories of detainees held at each of these facilities, the project will examine how the surrounding communities interacted with these camps. Stories of how various communities across New Mexico treated their Japanese and Japanese American community members will also be explored.

The project will produce historic markers at Ft. Stanton, Old Raton Ranch and Camp Lordsburg, as well as an outreach publication to be distributed to libraries and schools in New Mexico, as well as web pages hosted by the New Mexico Office of the State Historian.

To ensure that the project is as complete as possible, the New Mexico chapter is asking for the help of anyone who might be able to contribute to the project through sharing research materials/oral histories related to the New Mexican confinement sties, financial support or additional ways of publicizing the project.

The JACS grant requires matching funds in the amount of $94,932.

For additional information or ways in which one might be able to assist in this project, please contact Dr. Sarah Payne at or call (970) 491-6840.