POWELL, Wyo. – Emerging from the challenges of the pandemic, the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation will host its first full in-person pilgrimage in two years.
The 2022 Heart Mountain Pilgrimage will take place July 28-30, and feature workshops, film screenings, educational sessions, and breaking ground on the Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain. Registration for the event is now open to the general public.
Each year hundreds of visitors make a pilgrimage to the Heart Mountain National Historic Landmark Site, where 14,000 people of Japanese ancestry – two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens – were unjustly incarcerated during World War II. The journey is taken by former incarcerees, their descendants, friends, and members of the public who seek to understand this dark and poignant history and its impact on us today.
The pilgrimage will begin on Thursday, July 28, and will feature several workshops including genealogy with Densho and cartooning with legendary animator Willie Ito. There will also be a hardhat tour of the root cellar and a hike up Heart Mountain.
Friday’s events will include the Wyoming premiere of Kishi Bashi’s songfilm “Omoiyari,” followed by educational panels and a multigenerational discussion space where small groups of participants will have the chance to reflect on the Japanese American confinement experience.
The final day of the event will feature site tours, and a sayonara banquet.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain, a new addition to Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, will also take place on Saturday. This dedicated space will host workshops and programming specifically designed to foster empathy, courage, and cooperation among our nation’s next generation of leaders.
The institute is named for former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.). As Boy Scouts, the two became friends when Mineta was incarcerated at Heart Mountain and Simpson lived in a nearby town. The two later served together in Congress, where Mineta was a Democratic member of the House representing San Jose, and worked across the aisle despite political differences.
“Attendees tell us time and again that the pilgrimage is a transformational experience, and that they come away feeling deeply connected to this community,” said Heart Mountain Interpretive Center Executive Director Dakota Russell. “I think after the past two years, we all want to feel a little more connected. That’s why it is so exciting to be returning to an in-person event.”
The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation preserves the site where some 14,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated in Wyoming from 1942 through 1945. Their stories are told within the foundation’s museum, Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, located between Cody and Powell. For more information, call the center at (307) 754-8000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.heartmountain.org/pilgrimage.