Kalaupapa Memorial Moving Forward
National Park Service News Release
Ka Ohana `O Kalaupapa, in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), proposes to build a memorial to honor sufferers of Hansen’s disease (leprosy) at Kalawao on the east side of the Kalaupapa Peninsula. The authority to establish this memorial is in Senate Bill 22, signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2009.
An Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared to provide the decision-making framework, examining two locations within the Old Baldwin Boys Home at Kalawao, and a no-action alternative.
Members of the Kalaupapa community have for many years discussed the need for a memorial honoring everyone exiled to the settlement over the decades. At the same time, family members continue to search for information about their loved ones who were sent to Kalaupapa.
An estimated 8,000 individuals were forcibly separated from their families and sent to the Kalaupapa peninsula between 1866 and 1968, because of the government’s isolation polices regarding leprosy. Over the past century and a half, many of these individuals succumbed to the disease, and died. Of these individuals, only 951 have marked gravesites. An additional 279 gravesites have been identified by the NPS, but are listed as “unknown.” Consequently, the graves of more than 87 percent of those sent to Kalaupapa remain unidentified.
The memorial would return all of these individuals to their rightful places in their family histories as well as the history of Kalaupapa and will provide a place of dignity where family members can find healing and closure.
The EA is available for public review and comment at the NPS website, parkplanning.nps.gov/ as well as at the Molokai Public Library, Molokai Museum and Culture Center, and office of Historic Hawaii Foundation. You may also call Leslie Kanoa-Naeole at 567-6802 ex. 1101 for assistance. Comments may be submitted online or through the mail (Kalaupapa National Historial Park, P.O. 2222, Kalaupapa, HI 96742) in a 45-day comment period ending Feb. 9, 2011.
The memorial would include the names of all those sent to Kalaupapa, and are being compiled from admission registers in the Hawaii State Archives for those admitted prior to 1931. These names are being cross-checked with other historical records, both in Hawaii and on the mainland, including correspondence, petitions, vital statistics and family genealogy records. The names of people admitted since 1931 (8 percent) will be compiled through the assistance of family members, correspondence, petitions, newspaper articles, and other documents a part of the public record.