GRENADA, Colo. - Colorado's senators are now joining the effort to preserve the Grenada Relocation Center, also known as Camp Amache, a former internment camp where thousands of Japanese Americans were held during World War II.
Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet introduced a bill this week to establish "Camp Amache" as a national historic site.
Last week, U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse and Ken Buck introduced a similar measure in the House to preserve the site located in southeastern Colorado near Kansas.
“I think it's well past due for something like this to happen,” said Marge Taniwaki, a Denver resident and interment camp survivor.
Taniwaki’s late husband Hugo Taniwaki was held at Camp Amache for several years, but didn’t share much about his experiences there.
“That followed, actually, the attitude of most of the prisoners who never spoke about the tragedies that they suffered,” said Taniwaki. “The conditions were terrible and much of the untold story of camps in general is of sexual attacks by the guards on the inmates, people committing suicide in despair.”
Taniwaki said she’s appreciative of the effort to preserve Camp Amache and believes it will shed light on what Japanese Americans endured during that time.
“It’s simply a continuation of history in the United States from hundreds of years back and I’m glad that it seems now that people are taking things into their own hands by demonstrating and demanding justice,” said Taniwaki.
Taniwaki told Denver7 that Camp Amache is also located near another historic site, the site of the Sand Creek Massacre, where in 1864, hundreds of Union soldiers killed at least 150 Native Americans.
She said she's hoping the designation for Camp Amache will help the local residents start leading historical tours and allow them to teach visitors about both places.