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Wyoming K-12 students could see more teaching on Japanese-American incarcerations in the state

Low buildings on the plains of Wyoming. The photo is black and white.
Parker, Tom, Photographer (NARA record: 4682167) - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain

Wyoming K-12 teachers now have the option to teach lessons on Japanese-American incarceration in the state during World War II. An official partnership between the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation and the University of Wyoming (UW) helped make it happen.

UW’s Wallop Civic Engagement program creates educational material that follows the state's standards. It’s meant to help provide K-12 teachers with lesson material that is related to the state.

“It's often easier to bring these kinds of outside concepts and relate them to what has happened or what does happen in our own state,” said Micheal McDaniel, the current membership and development manager at the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation (HMWF). He worked for the Wallop Civic Engagement Program before coming to work for Heart Mountain.

He said that’s why it made sense for the Wallop Center to partner up with Heart Mountain to tell its story. Heart Mountain is just outside of Cody and was where some 14,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during World War II.

McDaniel grew up in Wyoming and said, “I didn't really learn very much about Heart Mountain and what happened here. And so that's why we did it.”

The lessons cover a variety of topics related to the camp, like the one McDaniel helped create.

“[It] talks about ways in which Japanese-Americans before, during and after incarceration contributed to the agricultural knowledge in the Bighorn Basin,” he said.

Materials produced by Heart Mountain include reading guides to books about the Japanese-American incarceration, including Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration by HMWF Chair Shirley Ann Higuchi. Future materials will include lesson plans developed by teachers participating in workshops at Heart Mountain sponsored by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. She has won a regional Murrow award for her reporting on mental health and firearm owners. During her time leading the Wyoming Public Media newsroom, reporters have won multiple PMJA, Murrow and Top of the Rockies Excellence in Journalism Awards. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.

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