“Maintaining Kalaupapa is an obligation under justice, not an option under charity.”,

Pat Boland

A Proposal for A Memorial

To Honor and Perpetuate the Memory of 8,000+ Individuals,

90% of who were Kanaka Maoli,

Forcibly Relocated to the Kalaupapa Peninsula

To “Protect the Welfare of Society”



There are currently several monuments at Kalaupapa and Kalawao: 

1)  The Damien Monument at Kalaupapa donated by the people of England;

2)  Mother Marianne’s Grave which has a monument donated by the people of Kalaupapa;

3)  A Monument honoring Jonathan Napela on the grounds of the LDS Church at Kalaupapa;

In addition, there is the Mother Marianne Library, Father Damien’s Church, Damien Road, Paschoal Hall, Lawrence McCully Judd Park, and the McVeigh Home, all of which recognize the efforts of individuals who made contributions to Kalaupapa’s history.

Only recently has an effort been started to recognize the contributions of those forcibly separated from their families and isolated at Kalaupapa to supposedly “protect the welfare of society”.  Recently, the Kalaupapa Trail has been named after David Kupele and the five generations of his family that were sent to Kalaupapa.

Objectives of the Current Memorial

1)   The current Memorial should not honor one or two people.  Nor should it honor a “generic patient”.  Hawaii has a unique resource in that Board of Health Records have a  list, starting with Kauhauliko, #1, and 11 other individuals who were sent on January 6, 1866, that includes of all those sent to Kalaupapa and Kalawao up until 1969. 

     This most valuable resource should be fully utilized to create a Memorial whereby each individual will be remembered with their own identity rather than as a part of a group. 

     This is especially important in a history where people were denied their individual identities, given numbers, and basically denied their place in their own history.                               

2)   Only about 1300 graves of the 8000+ people who were sent to Kalaupapa have been identified and many of these are no longer visible.  The Memorial should provide a means through which family members can find a sense of closure and a place where they can see their family member’s name included as part of the history of Kalaupapa.

3)   Provide a means through which people can gain a real understanding of the thousands of individuals, 90% of whom were Kanaka Maoli, who were forcibly sent to Kalaupapa.

4)   There are at least 2000 unmarked graves in the large field next to Father Damien’s church, yet only a few graves are visible.  The Memorial has the potential to bring this part of Kalaupapa’s history alive so that, again, there is a real sense of how many  thousands of people were taken from their families and isolated in this remote place.

The Memorial Itself

It is proposed that a Memorial be designed that would contain the names of every individual sent to Kalaupapa and Kalawao from January 6, 1866 until 1969, listed according to their date of arrival.  This would also reveal fluctuations in the enforcement of the isolation laws.

For example, almost 500 people were sent to Kalawao in 1873 alone, a tremendous number of people to be absorbed into the community in one year.

It is proposed that the Memorial be designed in two parts: 

1)  The first part would contain the names of the first 5,000 people sent to Kalaupapa, most of whom lived at Kalawao.  The Memorial would start with Kahauliko, who arrived on  

     January 6, 1866, and end with Nawahinelua, a 24 year old woman from Hamakua, HI, who was admitted on October 10, 1896 and died on September 7, 1901.

     It is proposed that this portion of the Memorial be located at Kalawao in the area towards the back of the old Baldwin Home.  This is a very large area that extends back to the  cliffs, where a large Memorial could be placed without disturbing the historic scene

     The design could include a meditative walkway and area that would lead to the  Memorial.

      It is also proposed that a smaller Memorial, without individuals names, be designed nearby in honor of the hundreds of mea kokua, most of whom were family members, who accompanied their relatives out of the firm belief that people who were sick needed to be cared for, rather than sent away alone.

2)    The second part of the Memorial would contain the names of the approximately 3,000 individuals who arrived at Kalaupapa in the second part of its history, when most of the community was concentrated on the Kalaupapa side of the peninsula.

This part of the Memorial could either be located at Kalawao or located at Kalaupapa.

There would be a provision whereby the wishes of individuals from this era who do not want their names included on the Memorial would be honored.  There would be a blank space indicating their place in the history, but their choice not to have their name used.

The Timetable

The process for the first part of the Memorial could be started immediately.  The following steps could be done simultaneously:

1)  Gathering the names:  If done by someone familiar with the records, the first 5,000 names could probably be compiled in one month.

2)  A design contest should be launched that would seek designs that would utilize the basic concepts outlined above.  This contest could be opened to students and artists in Hawaii and extend to someone like Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial as a 21-year-old architecture student.

3)  Adequate funding should be sought to enable the Memorial to be a worthy tribute to the  thousands of individuals who were denied the right to home, family and community.

It is proposed that this first part of the Memorial be completed first but that the second part also be part of the design so that it can be added at a later time.  It is proposed to include the first 5,000 names first because these names are already in the public domain.  In addition, these first 5,000 names are more straightforward than those in subsequent years when treatments like chaulmoogra oil resulted in people being discharged and readmitted again and again, resulting in one person having several numbers.

Compiling a list of the last 3,000 names will be a much more complicated process and will involve including names that are not currently in the public domain.  Many more questions may arise during the process for the second part of the Memorial which should not be allowed to slow down the first part.

In light of the fact that the second part of the Memorial may take more time, it is proposed that a site be designated in one of the Kalaupapa graveyards where those unable to find their family members can pay tribute.  This could be a grave that already exists, but for which no identity is known, or a separate area could be chosen and a small Memorial erected.  This would enable individuals whose relatives are from more modern times to also have a sense of closure.

If the first part of the Memorial is finished, it will make it easier to complete the second part but this may still take some time, due to the considerations mentioned above.

It should be noted that history shows that the first 5,000 people sent to Kalawao and Kalaupapa were proud of their identities, having not yet had concepts of shame forced on them by foreign cultures.  Their pride was shown in the hundreds of letters and petitions sent to the Board of Health and the Legislature demanding their most basic human rights.

Proposal compiled by Anwei Skinsnes Law, Kalaupapa Historian, and Henry G. Law, First Superintendent, Kaluapapa National Historical Park, October 26, 2005. The proposal was adopted by the Memorial Committee of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa and submitted to the office of U.S. Rep. Ed Case to serve as the basis for a bill that he introduced to Congress on Dec. 14, 2005 that would authorize a Memorial at Kalaupapa.

Copyright © 2007. Ka Ohana O Kalaupapa. All rights reserved.