March 19, 2007

BILL WOULD EXPAND MINIDOKA NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo and Rep. Mike Simpson introduced legislation today to expand the Minidoka National Historic Site. The site was one of ten internment camps for Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. The legislation authorizes the expansion of the monument so that it will now include Hermann Farm. The Farm is significant because it was originally part of the Camp and was part of a program to give land to veterans of World War II upon their return. As one of the few "Farm-In-A-Day" promotions, local community members turned the land from desert to a farm in one day by joining together and demonstrating the same American tenacity and ingenuity that won the War. It also authorizes an eight acre site in Bainbridge Island, Washington, as part of the Site. It is the site of the first internment camp and will house the Nidoto Nai Yoni ("Let it not happen again") memorial that commemorates this tragedy. Craig, Crapo, and Simpson introduced the legislation and said, "History is taught so that we replicate the good and don't repeat the bad. Interning Japanese Americans was a dark day in American history, but the homesteading helped develop our land and provide income for those who sacrificed for our freedoms. This Monument will help educate Americans about our past, which helps us shape our future." "I am pleased that the Minidoka site will provide the Magic Valley and the nation with opportunities to learn about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II," said Matsuye Koto, a former internee at Minidoka and retired Magic Valley small business owner. "Thanks to the leadership of the Idaho Congressional delegation, Minidoka will now tell the story about life in camp to future generations."