“I finally found her.”
— Teela Holt, 81, upon visiting the grave of her mother, Frances Nahinu, for the first time on Sept. 5, 2008 at Kalaupapa.
When Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa was established in 2003, one of the priorities was to seek out family members and descendents of the estimated 8,000 people sent to Kalaupapa from 1866 to 1969. By developing a Website (www.kalaupapaohana.org), distributing a newsletter, attending conferences and hosting workshops in other communities, the ‘Ohana has been reuniting families with their ancestors.
Anne Mahealani Apo, who lives on Oahu, knew that her great-grandfather, John Unea, had been sent to Kalaupapa in the late 1800s to live with his teen-aged son who had contracted leprosy, but she knew little else until she came across an ‘Ohana newsletter. She immediately made a phone call that changed her life.
“It was the beginning that would uncover one of the most treasured discoveries of our family tree,” said Anne. With the help of the ‘Ohana, Anne learned that her great-grandfather was the manager of the Kalaupapa Store and a teacher at the Kalaupapa School who recorded the first census of the Kalaupapa Settlement in 1900.
Anwei Skinsnes Law, international coordinator for IDEA (International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement),
Teela Holt, 81, stands behind the grave of her mother, Frances Nahinu, who died at Kalaupapa in 1936 . Despite earlier efforts, Mrs. Holt was unable to find the grave until September, 2008.