Designated as a new unit of the National Park Service in February 2015 by Hawaiian-born President Barack Obama, the physical remains of the Honouliuli Internment Camp serve as a tangible reminder that during World War II, the U.S. government, under Executive Order 9066, forced over 120,000 people of Japanese heritage to leave their homes and businesses and live in confinement camps. Touted as a necessary wartime security measure, this policy displaced and economically devastated Japanese Americans. In Hawai‘i, where Executive Order 9066 did not apply, similar measures were employed under martial law to detain Japanese Americans as well as individuals of European ancestry. With Japanese Americans comprising nearly half of the Hawaiian population, it was not feasible to incarcerate all. Martial law restricted the civil liberties of all civilians, while prominent religious and community leaders were selectively interned. Operated by the US Army from 1943-1946, the Honouliuli Internment Camp was the largest and longest-lasting confinement site in Hawai‘i. Educators and students at the Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu began working with CyArk through a National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant awarded to CyArk in 2014. The JACS Grant Program was established by Congress in 2006, “To provide for the preservation of the historic confinement sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II… in order that present and future generations may learn and gain inspiration from these sites.”
In the spring of 2015, CyArk staff trained a small team of Mid-Pacific high school students on the best methods of collecting digital data. The students then traveled to the Honouliuli camp and digitally scanned it using LiDAR technology. Once the data was assembled and processed, the students researched the history of the site, reconciling the enormity of what had happened there with its limited physical remains. Many of the students used their research to produce educational infographics or videos to share their new knowledge of the site's history. The students also decided to create vlogs (video diaries) to share their thoughts about Japanese American World War II confinement sites and how their families and their own present-day lives have been affected by this chapter of U.S. history. With the idea of internment camps again rearing its head in U.S. politics, it is more important than ever that the students of the Mid-Pacific Institute are able to document, preserve and interpret the Honouliuli Internment Camp.
This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
This material received Federal financial assistance for the preservation and interpretation of U.S. confinement sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability or age in its federally funded assisted projects.
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