“They are waiting for us.”
|‘Ohana president Kuulei Bell with Rev. David Kaupu
Photo by Valerie Monson
When we first began talking about compiling the list of names of the people who were sent to Kalaupapa, I never imagined that we would ever know the stories of so many of the early residents, of those who were sent to Kalaupapa before 1900. Through our determined efforts, however, we are slowly doing just that – we are finding the letters they wrote, the petitions they signed and, in many cases, their photographs. We had thought that many of these unknown people would be lost in history, but we now know that they are just waiting for us to find them.
When I open the register that holds many of the names of those sent to Kalaupapa and when I read those beautiful names, I want to know everything about these courageous people.
The ‘Ohana is doing all we can to learn more about everyone sent to Kalaupapa because we owe them and we owe their families. Many of those who were sent to Kalaupapa lie in unmarked graves so it is especially important that we remember their names and record their stories to enable them to, once again, find their places in their family trees and their family histories.
They are waiting for us. We must do everything we can to find them. We must bring the family home.
Kuulei Bell, president of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, who was sent to Kalaupapa in 1950. Mrs. Bell was the first woman assigned to the Kalaupapa Police Force and was later the longtime Postmistress. She is a pillar of the Kalaupapa Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mrs. Bell is shown here with the Rev. David Kaupu, the longtime chairman of the Kalaupapa National Park Service Advisory Commission.