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Contact: Greg Shine, 360-816-6231
Contact: Sharon Rummery, 415-844-5250
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site to Host Naturalization Ceremony During Citizenship Week
Embrace Citizenship – Experience America Through Your National Parks
Vancouver, WA – Thirty candidates will become new citizens during a ceremony at the historic Parade Ground at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site on Friday, September 17, 2010.
This is one of more than 20 naturalization ceremonies taking place in national parks during Citizenship Week under a partnership between the National Park Service and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The theme is "Embrace Citizenship – Experience America through your National Parks."
"Fort Vancouver is a fitting location for such an important ceremony," explained Tracy Fortmann, park superintendent, "and it is an honor to host such an activity in one of our national parks. The park grounds have long been a gathering place for many peoples, and such an event builds upon the rich tradition of ethnic and cultural diversity. During the Hudson’s Bay Company fur trade era, people of many backgrounds –English, French-Canadian, Scottish, Irish, Portuguese, African American, Hawaiian, Iroquois – and from over 30 different regional Native American groups lived and worked here harmoniously."
"The ceremony participants will be in good company," noted Greg Shine, the park’s chief ranger and historian. "The most prominent historical figure currently associated with the fort – Dr. John McLoughlin, the fort’s long-serving Chief Factor – chose to become a U.S. citizen in the 1850s, along with many former Hudson’s Bay Company employees. Today, several park employees are naturalized citizens, continuing this legacy." EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™ The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.
The ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 17, at the Bandstand on the historic Parade Ground of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Parking is available at public lots along Officers Row or at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 110 E. Evergreen Blvd.
"I can’t think of places more appropriate to welcome a new generation of American citizens than national parks," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "These parks, which are owned by all Americans, are not only places of stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife, but across this country the nearly 400 national parks preserve our nation’s fascinating history and protect our rich cultural heritage. From the Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico to Ellis Island in New York City, national parks ensure our nation’s artifacts and records are protected for generations to come."
The National Park Service and USCIS recently renewed a formal partnership to enhance citizenship ceremonies by holding them in national parks throughout the country. The agreement helps introduce new citizens to some of the nation’s most significant natural resources and cultural heritage sites. These historic and picturesque sites provide an ideal backdrop for citizenship ceremonies, where new citizens can learn about and reflect on American identity and the responsibilities of citizenship.
"Each year we recognize Constitution Day and Citizenship Day on September 17 to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution and to reflect on what it means to be a citizen of this nation," said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. "While we continue to be enriched by our cultural and ethnic diversity, we remain united in our respect for the Constitution and to the foundational rights and responsibilities it represents."