Kurt Ikeda Named Acting Chief of Interpretation at Minidoka

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Kurt Ikeda in front of a guard tower at the entrance to Minidoka.

The National Park Service has selected Kurt Ikeda for a 120-day detail to serve as the acting chief of interpretation and education for Minidoka National Historic Site in Idaho.

He will be following in the footsteps of Hanako Wakatsuki, the new superintendent of Honouliuli National Historic Site.

For the past year, Ikeda has served as the education coordinator for the three south Idaho parks. Prior to the National Park Service, he worked at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon, did advocacy within the AAPI community, and served as a high school teacher in Los Angeles.

As a Shin-Nisei, a second-generation Japanese American and a descendent of camp survivors, he has a personal connection to the history and strives to help all visitors see themselves in their national parks.

“I am humbled at the opportunity to lead in the legacy of excellence that has come to define Minidoka National Historic Site,” said Ikeda. “A big thank you to our former chief of interpretation and education, Hanako Wakatsuki, for her tireless commitment to preserve the history of the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. To the dedicated staff, community partners, camp survivors, and to my family and my wife, I extend an okage sama de — I am who I am thanks to you.”

Minidoka National Historic Site, which includes a 1.6-mile walking trail, is open every day sunrise to sunset, weather permitting. Visitor Center is closed for the winter season. For more details, visit: www.nps.gov/miin

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