The stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have helped shape the history and development of the U.S. Discover just some of the national park sites that preserve and interpret the complex history of Asian experiences in America.Less
Established in 2000 for the preservation, protection, and interpretation of traditional Native Hawai'ian culture and natural resources, Ala Kahakai (trail by the shoreline) takes visitors on a 175-mile journey. Traversing through hundreds of ancient settlement sites and over 200 ahupua'a (traditional land divisions), trail segments are managed by community-based, descendant-led teams dedicated to protecting significant natural areas and ecosystems, as well as Hawai'ian culture.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site honors the countless stories preserved in four unique places. The park preserves a British fur trading post where an incredibly diverse community of people worked in the fur trade, including Hawaiians such as Naukane (or John Coxe) who’d traveled to the Pacific Northwest, as well as Pearson Field, one of the oldest continuously operating airfields that saw the likes of Leah Hing, the first U.S.-born Chinese American woman to earn a pilot’s license.
Part of Golden Gate Recreation Area, the Presidio of San Francisco has a history spanning 200 years. During World War II, the Presidio was the headquarters of the Western Defense Command, responsible for the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese Americans and people of Japanese descent from the West Coast of the U.S. It was also the first site for the Military Intelligence Language School, which provided instruction in Japanese language for military personnel, taught by Japanese Americans.
In 1869, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad companies joined 1,776 miles of rail at what's now known as Golden Spike National Historical Park. This site shares the stories of the people and settings that define the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad. Chinese men were an essential part of the labor force that built the railroad. The Chinese Arch, seen while driving Golden Spike's East Auto Tour, stands as a monument to the Chinese workers.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park protects some of the most unique geological, biological, and cultural landscapes in the world. One part of the park, Kahuku, preserves one of the oldest cattle ranches on the island. It’s hard to imagine the conditions the paniolo, Hawaiian cowboys, endured in this remote location where seventy five percent of the land was bare lava. The Kahuku Ranch and its talented paniolo raised cattle here for about 150 years.
Visitors encounter a cultural and spiritual experience at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, where the spirit of the Kanaka Maoli people flows. Established for the preservation, protection, and interpretation of traditional native Hawaiian activities and culture, Kaloko-Honokohau is the site of an ancient Hawaiian settlement which encompasses portions of four different ahupua'a, or traditional sea to mountain land divisions.
Located at the foot of the imposing Sierra Nevada in eastern California's Owens Valley, Manzanar National Historic Site honors and preserves the memory of thousands of Japanese Americans who faced internment during World War II. Over 10,000 human lives were confined to the grounds, each with their own unique story. Listen to their stories and learn about the legacy of this chapter in America’s history.
During World War II, the U.S. carried out the secret Manhattan Project, which led to the creation of the atomic bomb. Thousands of scientists across the country, including Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, worked on the project. Today, Manhattan Project National Historical Park preserves three locations of their work in Tennessee, New Mexico, and Washington. Note: many areas in the park are not currently open to the public, so make sure to check the park’s website before planning your visit.
A former internment camp in Idaho, Minidoka National Historic Site stands as a memorial to the nearly 10,000 Japanese Americans forced to relocate to the site during World War II. Minidoka opened in August of 1942, detaining persons of Japanese descent from Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. The camp operated like a city, with all the pieces and parts necessary for the inhabitants to exist, though many of its barracks were hastily and crudely constructed.
The National Park of American Samoa, meaning “sacred earth,” is the only US national park located in the Southern Hemisphere. The Samoan culture is considered the oldest in all of Polynesia. The first people to the Samoan islands came by sea from southeast Asia some 3,000 years ago. Over the centuries, distinct cultural traits emerged collectively called fa'asamoa, the Samoan way.