THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 17, 2001
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MINIDOKA INTERNMENT
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Minidoka Internment National Monument is a unique and
irreplaceable historical resource which protects historic structures and
objects that provide opportunities for public education and interpretation
of an important chapter in American history -- the internment of Japanese
Americans during World War II.
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive
Order 9066, authorizing the Secretary of War and military commanders to
designate military areas from which "any or all persons may be excluded"
and to "provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom,
such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be
Starting in early 1942, military authorities began designating
military exclusion areas in the States of California, Washington, Oregon,
and Arizona, and the territory of Alaska. Following the signing of
Executive Order 9066, American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese
ancestry living in the desig-nated exclusion areas were ordered to evacuate
their homes and businesses and report to temporary assembly centers located
at fairgrounds, horse racetracks, and other make-shift facilities.
To provide more permanent accommodations for the evacuees, President
Roosevelt established the War Relocation Authority (WRA) in March 1942.
The WRA oversaw the construction of ten relocation centers on Federally
owned lands in remote areas of six western States and Arkansas, including
the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho. Alaskan Native residents of the
Aleutian and Pribiloff Islands and members of other ethnic and religious
groups were also relocated or interned during the course of the war.
Established in August 1942, the Minidoka Relocation Center, also known
as the Hunt Site, was located on Federal lands in Jerome County, in south
central Idaho. During its operation
from August 1942 to October 1945, the population reached a peak of 9,397
Japanese Americans from Washington State, Oregon, and Alaska. The Center
included over 33,000 acres of land with administrative and residential
facilities located on approxi-mately 950 acres. The Center had more than
600 buildings including administrative, religious, residential,
educational, mess, medical, manufacturing, warehouse, security, and other
Living conditions at Minidoka and the other centers were harsh.
Internees were housed in crude barracks and cramped quarters, and they
shared communal facilities. Internees engaged in irrigated agriculture,
livestock production, and light manufacturing to produce food and garments
for the camp. Approximately 1,000 internees from Minidoka served in the
U.S. military. Fifty-four Japanese American servicemen from Minidoka were
killed in action.
Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431),
authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public
proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and
other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon
lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be
national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of lands, the
limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area
compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be
WHEREAS it appears that it would be in the public interest to reserve
such lands as a national monument to be known as the Minidoka Internment
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Act of June
8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that there are hereby set
apart and reserved as the Minidoka Internment National Monument for the
purpose of protecting the historic structures and objects of historic
interest contained therein, all lands and interests in lands owned or
controlled by the United States within the boundaries of the area described
on the map entitled "Minidoka Internment National Monument" attached to and
forming a part of this proclamation. The Federal lands and interests in
land reserved consist of approximately 72.75 acres, which is the smallest
area compatible with the proper care and management of the structures and
objects to be protected.
All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of this
monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry,
location, selection, sale, or leasing or other disposition under the public
land or other Federal laws, including but not limited to withdrawal from
location, entry, and patent under the mining laws, and from disposition
under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing.
The Secretary of the Interior, pursuant to legal authorities, shall
manage the monument and shall transfer administration of the monument to
the National Park Service to implement the purposes of this proclamation.
To carry out the purposes of this proclamation and to interpret the
relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the
Secretary of the Interior, through the National Park Service, shall prepare
a management plan for the monument within 3 years of this date.
This proclamation does not reserve water as a matter of Federal law
nor relinquish any water rights held by the Federal Government existing on
this date. The Secretary shall work with appropriate State authorities to
ensure that any water resources needed for monument purposes are available.
The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing
rights, provided that nothing in this proclamation shall interfere with the
operation and maintenance of the Northside Canal to the extent that any
such activities, that are not valid existing rights, are consistent with
the purposes of the proclamation.
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish
the rights of any Indian tribe.
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing
withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however the national monument
shall be the dominant reservation.
Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to
appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument and
not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
seventeenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and
of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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