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Heart Mountain Pilgrimage Will Feature New Awards, Highlight Key Speakers

Three Japanese Americans who helped build the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation will receive the organization’s first lifetime achievement awards during its annual pilgrimage that starts Thursday, July 27, and runs through Saturday, July 29.

Jeanette Misaka, Bacon Sakatani, and Raymond Uno who were incarcerated as children at Heart Mountain along with 14,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, will now receive the first awards in acknowledgement of their contributions to the creation of the Foundation and building of its interpretive center.

Heart Mountain will also present the LaDonna Zall the Compassionate Witness Award to members of the Marshall-Williams family for the support they provided to their Japanese American neighbors in the Los Angeles neighborhood known as J-Flats during the war. Their help enabled Japanese Americans to keep their homes and belongings when so many others lost everything during and after World War II.

The LaDonna Zall Compassionate Witness Award is named after LaDonna Zall, who watched the last train carrying incarcerees leave Heart Mountain on Nov. 10, 1945, and who was the interpretive center’s first curator. She passed away in 2021 after being a longtime educator in Powell, Wyo.

Activities at the annual Pilgrimage include discussions of mixed-race Japanese American identities, a panel of authors of books about Heart Mountain and the wartime incarceration, and a discussion of family history of the incarceration featuring actors Tamlyn Tomita and Ally Maki and moderated by newscaster and documentarian David Ono.

On Saturday, the Foundation will note the progress made in building the Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain with remarks by Senator Alan Simpson and David Mineta, the eldest son of Secretary Norman Mineta. The Institute is being built to encourage civil dialogues and to celebrate the lives and careers of Mineta and Simpson, who first met as Boy Scouts behind the barbed wire at Heart Mountain and whose public service was marked by a commitment to finding bipartisan solutions to the nation’s challenges.

More information about the events scheduled for the pilgrimage are on the Heart Mountain website at

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 or email

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