News Release

New Leadership at Minidoka National Historic Site, Friends of Minidoka

Three smiling Japanese American people stand inside the Minidoka Visitor Center in front of an exhibit. The middle-aged woman in the middle wears a white sweater, and the young man and young woman alongside her wear park ranger hats and uniforms.

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News Release Date: February 10, 2022

Jerome, Ida – The National Park Service (NPS) is pleased to announce the selection of Kurt Ikeda and Emily Teraoka to serve as the Director of Interpretation and Education and Lead Park Ranger, respectively, for Minidoka National Historic Site near Jerome, Idaho. And Friends of Minidoka is equally pleased to announce the selection of Robyn Achilles to serve as the Executive Director for the organization. 

Minidoka National Historic Site, established in 2001 as a unit of the National Park Service, interprets the exclusion and unjust incarceration of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II; over 13,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated at Minidoka alone. Since 2003, Friends of Minidoka has supported the mission of Minidoka National Historic Site by engaging in education, research, and historic preservation activities. 

Ikeda will manage the site’s interpretation, education, and community outreach programs and Teraoka will oversee all aspects of the visitor center operations and further development of the site’s interpretative exhibits and programming. Achilles brings over 20 years of non-profit leadership experience to Friends of Minidoka, most recently with the Community Library in Ketchum, ID. All three identify as descendants of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans and bring their personal identities and professional experiences to the education and preservation of the site. 

“We are beyond fortunate to have staff as talented and dedicated as Kurt, Emily, and Robyn on our team” said Wade Vagias, Superintendent for three National Parks in southern Idaho, including Minidoka. “The future of both Minidoka National Historic Site and Friends of Minidoka is so bright with these three individuals in positions of leadership.”

“We are so grateful to have Robyn as our new Executive Director,” said Andy Dunn, President of Friends of Minidoka. “Her passion, vision, and leadership abilities bring so much to Friends of Minidoka. Robyn hit the ground running and has already shown that she is the perfect person to take Friends of Minidoka to the next level. As the partner organization for Minidoka National Historic Site, working with NPS is a huge part of what we do, and we are equally excited about the new staff there. Our two organizations had big shoes to fill, but Kurt, Emily, and Robyn are more than capable to usher in a new era of preserving and protecting Minidoka’s legacy.”

 

The purpose of Minidoka National Historic Site is to provide opportunities for public education and interpretation of the exclusion and unjust incarceration of Nikkei—people of Japanese ancestry residing outside of Japan—in the United States during World War II. Minidoka National Historic Site protects and collaboratively manages resources related to the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho and the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial in Washington State. Learn more at www.nps.gov/miin



Last updated: February 10, 2022

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