History

Stories about Molokai’s rich cultural history.

Safeguarding Kalaupapa’s Past

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Safeguarding Kalaupapa’s Past

The Kalaupapa peninsula’s long history of isolation makes it one of the most pristine cultural resources left in Hawaii, according to the National Park Service (NPS). Its 10,700-acre authorized park boundary keeps the landscape raw and untouchable from modern land developers but its overgrowth of invasive vegetation threatens to eat away the traces of ancient Hawaiian residents 1,000 years ago.

Though Kalaupapa is most commonly known for its Hansen’s disease residents that were exiled there in 1866 and the geographic and societal segregation that took place over 100 years, the peninsula hosted a dense Hawaiian population nearly 900 years prior. Their residency left a diverse wealth of sites, features and artifacts that researchers can use to reconstruct the past.…

Brother Dutton Statue Installed

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Brother Dutton Statue Installed

Molokai Catholic parishioners got to see the face of a new statue of Brother Joseph Dutton for the first time when it arrived on the island from China last Thursday. The statue of the Civil War veteran who worked for 45 years in Kalaupapa with St. Damien depicts him in his youth wearing his Union uniform. There is a growing movement to promote Dutton to sainthood alongside Damien and Marianne Cope, and the statue may be one starting point for that process, said Molokai’s Father Bill Petrie of St. Damian Catholic Parish.

The statue was donated to Molokai by Oahu benefactor John Perreira, who worked with local residents, including the late parishioner Larry Helm, former commander of the Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans, to design the statue.…

Family Comes Full Circle on Molokai

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Family Comes Full Circle on Molokai

Molokai has played a large role in what the Haase family believes is fate. In the fall of 1992, Ineke Bylsma and her friend Elizabeth Peters — two young travelers from Holland — were visiting Molokai as one stop of an around-the-globe tour. They ended up camping at Papohaku Beach for a few months, hitching rides to Kaunakakai to buy food.

An article about the two was even printed in the Nov. 12, 1992 issue of The Molokai Dispatch, titled “What Are Two Ladies Like You Doing in a Paradise Like This?”

They decided on Molokai as their Hawaiian stop because “we were told that Molokai was the most Hawaiian of all the islands and that we would find Hawaiian ‘culture’ on Molokai,” according to the Dispatch article.…

Protecting a Cultural Legacy

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Protecting a Cultural Legacy

When today’s kupuna were growing up, they remember being told that the Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove was a sacred place. It was kapu, or forbidden, and their kupuna told them not to play in the grove or freshwater springs that open up in the ground beneath the towering trees. But today, those kupuna are concerned because they often see trucks driven into the grove, children swimming in the pools, tourists oblivious to the dangers of falling coconuts and rubbish littering the springs and grove.

“We were all taught by our parents and our grandparents that we are not to go in there and play [in the grove],” said Kanani Negrillo of Kalamaula.…

Seed Savings – Part II

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH County Extension Agent

Many seed varieties developed in Hawaii and passed down through generations are difficult to find today, such as Lualualei pole beans, and Kulanui and Kauwela lettuce. These varieties were stress-tested and adapted to our specific climatic challenges. Saving and sharing seed helps to preserve these special varieties not only for the next season, but also for generations to come.

Some seeds, such as beans and inbred corn, are among the easiest to save. Allow them to dry on the plant, and remove them from the pod or husk and screen out misshapen or damaged seed.…

Brother Dutton Statue Gifted to Molokai

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Molokai is already home to two saints — Damien and Marianne — and if efforts continue, the island might be known for a third: Brother Joseph Dutton. Dutton worked alongside St. Damien and Marianne to serve Hansen’s disease patients in Kalaupapa, but he is just as known for his rocky past before becoming a Catholic. Thanks to Oahu benefactor John Perreira and a few local residents, including the late Larry Helm, a statue of Dutton will soon arrive on Molokai to help tell the story of a transformation from soldier to would-be saint.

A Relatable Life
Dutton served in the Northern Army during the Civil War and climbed the ranks for his loyal service.…

Sharing the Hokulea

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Sharing the Hokulea

Last week, nearly 500 Molokai residents, students and visitors got the chance to step foot on the Hokulea — a replica of the traditional Hawaiian double-hulled sailing canoe — docked at the Kaunakakai Wharf. The vessel is touring Hawaii before embarking on a three-year Worldwide Voyage that will span three years, 46,000 miles, 21 countries and at least 65 landfalls.

More than 20 crew members — some of whom are from Molokai — sailed the Hokulea from Lanai on Monday, July 8. During the Worldwide Voyage, an average crew of 12 to 15 will navigate the canoe on its journey as ambassadors of the aloha spirit and spreading a message of care for the environment.…

Kalaupapa Bar Celebrates 10 Years

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Kalaupapa Bar Celebrates 10 Years

Last weekend, a street in Kalaupapa was closed for the second block party in the settlement’s history. A decade ago, Kalaupapa patient resident Gloria Marks bought the settlement’s only bar, and last Friday, the 100-resident community came out to celebrate the business’ 10th anniversary. It was Marks who also hosted the settlement’s first block party for the bar’s firth anniversary in 2008.

“Ten years is good but I have to make it another 10!” said Marks, Kalaupapa’s only business owner. Marks also runs Damien Tours, which is nearing its 50th anniversary.

Called Fuesaina’s Bar, Marks’ business stocks more than 10 varieties of beer, and some wine as well.…

Kalaupapa Barge Day

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Kalaupapa Barge Day

The remote Kalaupapa settlement is normally the epitome of peace. But once a year, its wharf becomes as busy as a New York City intersection. It’s barge day — a big occasion for the tiny community that’s taken place annually for decades. It’s when a year’s worth of equipment, gasoline, non-perishable food supplies and personal orders is delivered to the settlement. It’s been described as Christmas in July.

There’s only barge in the state small enough to fit into Kalaupapa’s narrow harbor — and only a short window of time in the summer when the rough water is calm enough for the barge to safely dock.…

Remembering Larry Helm

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Remembering Larry Helm

A Molokai icon has passed away, leaving memories of a leader, veteran advocate and entertainer who was as passionate as he was humorous. Larry Helm died peacefully on June 19 at the age of 70, surrounded by his family, after a battle with liver cancer.

“Throughout his career, Larry has been a positive influence in the Molokai community, and over the years, much of the progress on Molokai has had Larry’s fingerprints on it,” said Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Helm is perhaps best known as commander of the Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans and leading the nearly decade-long battle to build a veterans’ center on the island.…