In just five years, the ‘Ohana has made its presence felt at Kalaupapa and around the world through its three-pronged mission of advocacy, education and preservation. Among our accomplishments:

• Helped to coordinate the return of dialysis to Kalaupapa through public-private partnerships;
• Convinced leaders of the State Department of Health and The National Park Service to conduct monthly informational meetings;
• Submitted a bill to Congress that would authorize the establishment of a monument on the Kalaupapa peninsula to honor the approximately 8,000 people who were sent there;
• Compiled an easily searchable list of the names of the first 5,000 people sent to Kalaupapa as the initial step in assembling a database of all the names;
• Began outreach workshops in other communities to educate the public about the ‘Ohana and the history of Kalaupapa while reaching out to family members who might not know how to access information about their Kalaupapa ancestors;
• Proposed to name the pali trail “The Kupele Trail” after longtime mail carrier David Kupele and his ‘ohana that was sent to Kalaupapa for five generations to hopefully begin a trend of naming new buildings or landmarks after the people who were sent to Kalaupapa;
• Launched discussions of a “Vision Plan” for the future by bringing the Kalaupapa community and other ‘Ohana members together with statewide officials and leaders of the religious communities;
• Advocated on behalf of the Kalaupapa community to resolve problems or address concerns;
• Initiated an international campaign about the importance of Family Ties during an ‘Ohana Friendship Trip to Japan;
• Developed a Website, produced a newsletter, attended conferences, gave public presentations and assisted the media;
• Held two-day annual meetings at Kalaupapa that brought together the community with family members and descendents who live elsewhere;

• Served as a resource for family members searching for information about ancestors who died at Kalaupapa and helped arrange overnight visits for them at Kalaupapa.

Piolani Motta (left) and Pauline Hess leaf through the register at the Hawaii State Archives that holds the names of those sent to Kalaupapa. Photo courtesy Hawaii Catholic Herald.

Boogie Kahilihiwa meets a new friend during an ‘Ohana outreach workshop that attracted 100 Molokai residents at Kaunakakai in July, 2008.
Photo by Valerie Monson

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