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The names of the first 12 people sent to Kalaupapa on Jan. 6 1866, as they appear in the register at the Hawaii State Archives.
Photo courtesy of IDEA

A thank you and an apology from the
Hawaii State Legislature

In a move believed to be unprecedented in the history of Hawaii, the Hawaii State Legislature approved a Resolution that recognized the sacrifices of the people of Kalaupapa and their families – and apologized for the harsh restrictions which separated people with leprosy from society.

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Paul Harada
Photo by Valerie Monson

The Resolution was the idea of the late Paul Harada, a wise and respected leader of the Kalaupapa community. Paul often commented that while the people of Kalaupapa had long thanked the State of Hawaii for providing for their care, the State and the people of Hawaii had never thanked the people of Kalaupapa for all that they had given up because they were told they were a threat to the public health.

Glenn Harada, Paul’s brother and a member of the ‘Ohana Board of Directors, recommended that a Resolution be proposed to the Legislature that would recognize the people of Kalaupapa for all that had sacrificed. The ‘Ohana was preparing to work on the language of the legislation when Paul died on
Jan. 4, 2008, at the age of 81. It was decided to pursue the Resolution in honor of Paul as well as all of those who died before him and the 28 residents still living at Kalaupapa.
The ‘Ohana contacted Senator J. Kalani English, another member of the ‘Ohana Board of Directors, and Representative Mele Carroll. The two lawmakers introduced Resolutions to the State Senate and House, respectively. The Senate Concurrent Resolution eventually was adopted by both chambers of the Legislature.

A group of early residents at Kalawao.
Photo courtesy of Damien Museum

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