Why Here?: Heart Mountain, Wyoming and Japanese Incarceration
Constructed to imprison Japanese Americans who were considered threats to the security of the United States during WWII, the Heart Mountain incarceration camp held over ten thousand men, women, and children between 1942 and 1945. The camp was built on land inhabited by the Lakota, Crow, and Cheyenne, American Indians whose history in the area dates back centuries and who continue to live there today. The 740-acre space on which incarcerees lived was surrounded by barbed wire and nine guard towers. The camp consisted of 650 buildings and other structures, including close to 450 barracks. There was also a 1,1000-acre farm that incacerees worked to grow food.
This resource considers the significance of place to the removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII, along with issues of civil rights, citizenship, and resistance. Videos, podcasts, primary sources, and a DBQ activity offer multiple perspectives about this era and place, and provide students with prompts to support further inquiry into the lasting significance of this time in U.S. history.