Stories, Memories, and Legacies—The Santa Fe Internment Camp and Its Historical Marker

  • en

Apr 202223
10:00a.m. - 6:30p.m.

New Mexico History Museum
113 Lincoln Ave
Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87501
United States


Contact: Dr. Gail Okawa


On April 20, 2002, the City of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Internment Camp (SFIC) Historical Marker Committee dedicated the SFIC Historical Marker on a hill at Frank S. Ortiz Park.  It was a peaceful resolution to a heated community controversy twenty years ago.

The Santa Fe Internment Camp, established in March 1942, had incarcerated over 4,500 Japanese immigrant men, making it one of America’s largest prison camps for resident aliens in the U.S. during WWII.  Secrecy and misinformation in wartime, which caused confusion and discord fifty years later, made the 2002 dedication a historic and healing event.  

On Saturday, April 23, 2022, a day-long symposium will be held at the New Mexico History Museum from 10-4:30 to inform and remind attendees of the historical existence of the U.S. Justice Department internment camp on the site of the present Casa Solana neighborhood, and to memorialize the experience of thousands of Japanese immigrants and American-born citizens unjustly incarcerated there between 1942 and 1946.

Equally important, it will celebrate the courage of the Santa Fe and New Mexico communities for acknowledging the WWII internment in their history through the Marker and their school curriculum. At the dedication ceremony in 2002, Dr. Thomas Chávez, then director of the Palace of the Governors and a committee co-chair, stated, “We are here not to celebrate an event about which none of us is proud; we are here to commemorate an event that happened; it is our history.”  

The program, “Stories, Memories, and Legacies—The Santa Fe Internment Camp and Its Historical Marker,” will include speakers, readers theater performances, films and panel discussions on the Marker controversy, as well as connections between the historical events and contemporary issues.

A pilgrimage will follow the symposium for attendees at the Marker site at Ortiz Park with a procession, prayers, and drumming performances by a Santa Fe taiko group.

In addition, History Museum visitors can view three related exhibits in Room 15 of the Palace of the Governors from April 9-30 during Museum hours: “Generational Legacies:  The Santa Fe Internment Camp,” which focuses on the lives of two SFIC internees, a guard and their descendants, including local Santa Fe artist Jerry West; panels on the SFIC from Confinement in the Land of Enchantment, a National Parks Service project; and a display of SFIC artifacts from the History Museum’s collection.

For more information >>


ShellBell . Last modified Mar 22, 2022 2:48 p.m.

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