Remembering Injustices at Amache Internment Camp in Granada, Colorado
By Meg Brunson
We were staying in south eastern Colorado for a few days and I read about a nearby Japanese Internment Camp that was open to the public. I had learned about Internment Camps in school, and throughout visits at other national parks and museums during our Indefinite Road Trip, but I did not know that there were actual camps still in existence that we could visit and learn from.
Amache, a Japanese Internment Camp from WWII, was abandoned until a local high school decided to focus on restoring the area and using it as a teaching experience. There is a free audio tour that you can download from the website, which I recommend doing before you arrive. The audio tour was really well done. All of the narrators and storytellers are either former prisoners of Amache or decedents of prisoners, which makes the experience very powerful.
Upon first entering the site there is a parking lot with a small walking path, picnic tables, and some signs that explain some of the history of Amache. Few buildings remain inside of the actual camp grounds. Instead you can see foundations of the buildings and gardens and listen to the audio tour to learn about what used to be where and how each building was used.
It was fascinating to learn about the barracks and how many people lived in each one. The washrooms, the schools, the guard towers, and more. I was surprised by how many activities the students were provided while imprisoned purely for being of Japanese descent, but then I realized that they were provided with opportunities that served to erase their Japanese culture and replace it with a culture approved by the American government. The audio tours did a good job to paint a picture of what life was like, and the injustices imposed on thousands of innocent Americans.
I read that this area may be considered for a National Park – which I would love to see. I feel like my husband and I got a lot out of the visit, but much of it went over the kids’ heads because there was not as much to see and I think that the National Park Service could do amazing educational things with this area.
That being said, I am so glad we made this trip as it provided opportunities to talk to the kids about a piece of American history that isn’t commonly talked about.
Tips for Making the Most of your visit:
- Downloads to your phone – Download the map and the MP3 audio files to your phone. Cell reception at the site is non-existant and there are not paper versions of the map during your visit. A couple times we got a bit turned around as the roads are not clearly marked at this time.
- Explore with Caution – The site was abandoned and overgrown before the local school began working to restore it. We observed a snake crossing the road in front of our vehicle on one of the main roads. We opted to stay in the car for most of the visit, and only really got out to explore at the cemetery, which definitely seemed to be the best cared for area.
Start planning your trip at: https://amache.org/
Read about some of the other adventures we're having on our Indefinite Road Trip!
© 2020 Meg Brunson
All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!
Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four kids who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles KidsOutAndAbout.com's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at MegBrunson.com!