Japanese internees remembered at Heart Mountain, Wyoming

Posted at 3:36 PM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-30 17:37:11-04

BILLINGS – The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center held its 7th annual Pilgrimage on Saturday.

The Pilgrimage event was open to the public.

The interpretive center, between Powell and Cody, is on the land that was one of the relocation centers to intern Americans of Japanese descent and Japanese during World War II.

Several hundred visitors came to the event along with internees, their families and friends and some guest speakers.

It’s all to remember, reflect and educate to stop History from repeating itself.

“It’s a very unusual thing to lock up over a 120,000 individuals of Japanese descent, two-thirds of which were American citizens including my parents,” Shirley Ann Higuchi said about Heart Mountain and the other nine camps in the U.S. “Why is is important to remember this? Well, number one, history has the ability to repeat itself and if you memorialize a travesty that the government has acknowledged as being wrong and they did apologize to the Japanese American community, I think that it’s important that that message not be lost so we hope the story of what happened at the Japanese Americans 75 years ago will be a reminder as Norm Mineta and Senator Al Simpson said, a reminder of what not to do going forward.”

Mineta, former cabinet secretary and U.S. representative, was interned at Heart Mountain.

Simpson and Mineta met as Boy Scouts at the camp and have been life-long friends.

MTN’s Zoe Zandora will have more from the pilgrimage, including interviews with internees, on a story that will run on Tuesday.