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Heart Mountain Foundation Hosts Event In Jackson

Black and white image of lined barracks with Heart Mountain in the background
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Heart Mountain internment camp

Heart Mountain in between Cody and Powell was home to nearly 11,000 Japanese-Americans incarcerated during World War II. The Heart Mountain Foundation has made its mission to tell the story of those incarcerated.

The Foundation announced The Mineta-Simpson Institute. It's a new section of the interpretive center dedicated to hosting groups and workshops on the legacy of Japanese-American incarceration.

The Foundation's chair Shirley Higuchi dedicated her life to this mission when her mom told her on her deathbed that her memorial money would go to Heart Mountain. Higuchi wrote Setsuko's Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese-American Incarceration on her transformational journey into uncovering her family's history.

As an effort to communicate this new initiative and Higuchi's book, the foundation is holding a discussion (in-person and virtually) in Jackson this Wednesday, August 25.

Higuchi will chat with Cody resident Pete Simpson and former incarceree Sam Mihara. Higuchi said having Simpson and Mihara together is really important.

"They can talk about the firsthand experiences, the firsthand stories and relay that to the audience," said Higuchi. "And we hope that's the way that the Jackson audience will become more invested in what we're doing in Cody [and] Powell Wyoming.

The Mineta-Simpson Institute is named for lifelong friends Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta of California who met at the camp. The goal is to educate the public on the history of Japanese-American incarceration and how we can learn from it.

"Heart Mountain has the ability to really work across the aisle, work with diverse communities to tell a story that's not only painful to Japanese-Americans, but it's also a painful story for many people in Wyoming," said Higuchi.

The discussion will take place Wednesday, August 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Center for Arts in Jackson.

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