Second Memorial Planning Session Held at United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, ND

A small group gathered January 16-17, 2011 at the United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) facilities, the site of the Fort Lincoln WWII internment camp, to discuss the results of the larger brainstorming sessions of last year (see May 30-June 2, 2010 below) and plan a proposal for the next round of Japanese American Confinement Sites grants, due March 1. The participants, led by Dr. David Gipp, College President, refined the mission statement, values, and goals of the project. The end result “will try to weave together the different and similar strands experienced at Fort Lincoln—moving from the dark events of social injustice to the bright faces of Native American students today.”

To do this will be a multi-stage process. The first goal is to create a monument on the UTTC campus commemorating the World War II experience. The second, much larger goal—to be pursued over time—is an educational center focused on the history of the site, from it’s original purpose, through the bitter era of imprisoning people perceived as “the other,” to its current use—giving education and hope to Native American students and their families. An old hospital building on the campus has been found to be sound and will soon be granted to the College. Dr. Gipp expressed his commitment to use of that building for the center. Funding sources were discussed and will be explored, since the “big goal” will require substantial financing.

The hearty Californians unflinchingly facing the frigid weather to attend were John Christgau and Satsuki Ina. Besides Dr. Gipp, other UTTC personnel present were Dr. Russell Swagger, College Vice-President, Suzan O’Connell, Director of Development, Bud Anderson and Curtis Maynard of Facilities Management, and Stacie Iken.