I have a special spot in my heart for Wyoming history.

It's actually part of the reason I came out here (all alone at 17 years old) and decided to stay.

I was completely taken in with the idea of the Cowboys and the rugged western lifestyle.

That being said, we DO have the responsibility to look at our state's history with a critical eye and acknowledge that there are things that should have been done differently.

The Heart Mountain Relocation Center is one of those pieces of Wyoming history that is hard for many of us to talk about.

Heart Mountain Relocation Center was formed after the bombing of Pearl Harbor when then-President FDR signed an order demanding that "all persons of Japanese ancestry" report to "assembly centers."

The website HeartMountain.org  shares what the centers looked like:

Life in the “relocation center” camp was a difficult adjustment for incarcerees, especially since the living conditions were far from comfortable. Heart Mountain “Relocation Center” was built on 46,000 acres of dusty land owned by the Bureau of Reclamation. Incarcerees lived in a fenced area of camp that covered 740 acres. It was ringed with barbed wire and guarded by nine guard towers.

Despite the harsh conditions, the incarcerees found ways to move forward with strength and dignity.

As the Japanese fought to keep their spirits up they found hope in participating in "normal" activities, like sports.

In 1943 they formed "the Eagles" an all Japanese football team that finished their first season completely undefeated.

Author Bradford Pearson was captivated by their story and published a book last month titled "The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in WWII America".

Amazon.com

In the publisher's description it says:

The Eagles of Heart Mountain honors the resilience of extraordinary heroes and the power of sports in a sweeping and inspirational portrait of one of the darkest moments in American history.

Pearson not only tackles (pun intended) the topic of the undefeated football team but also discusses racial tensions, word history, and the important connection between sports and mental health.

After taking a look at the reviews and seeing how many people found that this book gave them a fresh perspective not only on the past, but on America as it is today, I decided I needed to add it to my "to read" list.

What about you, does this topic intrigue you as well?

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