January is Kalaupapa Month in Hawaii

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January 2024

“E Ho‘ohanohano a E Ho‘omau. . .

. . . To Honor and To Perpetuate”

JANUARY is Kalaupapa Month “To me, Kalaupapa Month will be a time to think about all our people who were sent here, all that we went through and who we are.” —  John Arruda, 99, sent to Kalaupapa in 1945. Mr. Arruda still lives independently in his home at Kalaupapa, drives his truck around the peninsula and attends St. Francis Church regularly. Photo: Wayne Levin


anuary 1  —  the new year  —  is also the beginning of Kalaupapa Month, a time to focus on the history of Kalaupapa and pay tribute to the people there who overcame so much. Kalaupapa Month was proposed by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa and signed into law in the summer of 2021 by Governor David Ige. Recent Kalaupapa Months have been filled with descendants sharing their stories with the media, special webinars, essays on the significant dates and other learning opportunities. We hope that January 2024, brings more awareness about the people of Kalaupapa — people who have been

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa is a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization dedicated to remembering and honoring each of the nearly 8,000 men, women and children who were taken from their families and sent to the Kalaupapa peninsula because they had been diagnosed with leprosy (now also called Hansen’s disease). Ka ‘Ohana also remembers the kama’aina of the peninsula, the kokua who accompanied their loved

described as “the pride of a nation,” by Mercy Hutchison Bacon, whose great uncle Ambrose Hutchison is one of those honored during Kalaupapa Month. Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa encourages others across the islands to echo the words of John Arruda and think about all the people who were sent to Kalaupapa — and all the struggles they faced. Yet many of those individuals rose above the suffering and went on to lead happy and accomplished lives — they are role models for all of us in overcoming adversity. Whether it’s January — or any other month — we can always remember the people of Kalaupapa and the lessons they have taught us.

ones to Kalaupapa and the children born there, many of whom were separated from their parents. Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa was envisioned by Kalaupapa leader Bernard K. Punikai‘a. Ka ‘Ohana was established in 2003 by Kalaupapa residents, family members/descendants and friends of the community.

Why January is Signi

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa gathers in their traditional Circle of Remembrance at the future site of the Kalaupapa Memorial. Photo: Henry G. Law

The reason the ‘Ohana selected January was because ‘Ohana leaders realized that a number of important dates took place in January throughout the h January 3, 1840

Jozef De Veuster was born in Tremelo, Belgium. He later became a priest known as Father Damien who arrived at Kalaupapa in 1873, when life was still very difficult. He spent the next 16 years of his life as a religious leader, human rights advocate and friend, working with the people of Kalaupapa to make life better for everyone. He was canonized as Saint Damien in 2009.

January 6

Kalaupapa Remembrance Day January 6, 1866

Father Damien, in the last photo taken of him shortly before his death in 1889, surrounded by the boys and young men of Kalawao. Photo: W.T. Brigham, Damien Collection Leuven.

The first 12 people arrived at Kalaupapa, taken from their families and sent to the peninsula because of government policies regarding leprosy. They were the first of nearly 8,000 men, women and children to be forcibly isolated, usually for the rest of their lives. There were a few family members with those first 12 individuals, showing how kōkua were important to Kalaupapa from the beginning. Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa has designated January 6 as Kalaupapa Remembrance Day.

January 5, 1879 January, 1895

The sign that ordered all remaining kama‘āina to leave the Kalaupapa peninsula. Photo: Hawai‘i State Archives

The final kama‘āina (original residents of Kalaupapa) were forced to leave the peninsula during this month. The kama‘aina played a key role in helping the early residents of Kalaupapa who were provided with little support or supplies by the government when they arrived on the first ships in 1866. When the settlement became overcrowded, the government told the kama‘aina they would have to leave the land where they had lived for generations. Some left; others did not. The last of the kama‘aina were evicted in January of 1895, two years after the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Ambrose Hutchison stepped ashore at Kalaupapa, sent there because he had been diagnosed with leprosy. He lived at Kalaupapa for the next 53 years and served as Resident Superintendent for a total of 10 years, longer than any other person who was also facing the challenges of leprosy. He worked alongside Father Damien and Mother Marianne and helped with visits of the ali‘i to Kalaupapa. Ambrose left his unpublished memoirs which have been published by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa.

nificant in Kalaupapa

the history. These dates bring in the contributions made by many people over the years. Some of these dates: January 23, 1838

January 26, 1978

Barbara Koob was born in Germany and soon immigrated to America with her family. She joined the Sisters of St. Francis where she was a respected health administrator, becoming known as Mother Marianne Cope.In 1883, she answered the call initiated by King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani through the Catholic Church to help people affected by leprosy in Hawai‘i. She spent 30 years at Kalaupapa, supervising The Bishop Home for Single Women and Girls and serving as a leader for the community. She was canonized as Saint Marianne in 2012.

Eight residents of Hale Mohalu — established in 1949 in Pearl City as an alternative to Kalaupapa — were relocated to Leahi Hospital by the State of Hawai‘i against their wishes. Twelve others refused to leave and remained behind, including Bernard Punikai‘a, Clarence Naia, and Frank and Mary Duarte. It was the beginning of 5 1/2 years of Kalaupapa residents occupying Hale Mohalu and, together with their many supporters, protesting government-imposed policies opposed by the people. The Hale Mohalu ‘Ohana held weekly rallies in front of the State Capitol. Bernard, Clarence and several of their supporters were arrested on September 21, 1983, when the buildings of Hale Mohalu were razed. (Left) Bernard K. Punikai‘a, leader of the Save Hale Mohalu movement and founder of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa. Photo: Hale Mohalu ‘Ohana

January 24, 1931

The banner of Mother Marianne Cope hanging from The Vatican during her canonization in 2012. Photo: Henry G. Law

This marked the wedding day of Jack and Mary Sing, two important and much-loved leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Kalaupapa as well as the entire Kalaupapa community. The Sings went on to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 1981 — they were one of just three couples in the history of Kalaupapa to observe their Golden Anniversaries along with the first couple, David and Annie Kupele, and the most recent, Paul and Winnie Harada.

Kalaupapa Sunday — Fourth Sunday of January

The Hawai`i Conference for the United Church of Christ has designated the fourth Sunday of January as Kalaupapa Month across Hawai`i. At this time, the HUCC churches remember the people of Kalaupapa, particularly the 35 men and women who founded Siloama Church less than six months after the first people had been sent to Kalaupapa in 1866. In 2024, Kalaupapa Sunday falls on January 28.

How You Can Be Part of This Month of Remembrance and Respect for Kalaupapa For Descendants, Friends of Kalaupapa and others with an interest in this important history

................................... For descendants of Kalaupapa: Gather with your family to remember your ancestor(s) who were sent to Kalaupapa.This is an ideal way to observe January 6 — Kalaupapa Remembrance Day.

For those who have or had friends at Kalaupapa or those who have been inspired by the people and the history: Talk or think about Kalaupapa residents you remember or have read about. Walk in their Memory: If you are able, walk three miles on January 6 — the approximate distance the first 12 people walked to Kalawao after arriving at Kalaupapa. Imagine them facing an uncertain future, being away from family and facing a disease not curable at that time. Organize a Kalaupapa book club with your families and/or friends: We recommend choosing from the books suggested on the website of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa.

For Teachers


Ask your students if they had family at Kalaupapa — if they don’t know, ask them to talk to their parents or grandparents. Ask those with ancestors to write about their feelings on what it means to have an ancestor who was at Kalaupapa — and suggest they do more research on their ‘ohana. As a class, discuss how they might have reacted had a member of their family been sent to Kalaupapa — or if the students themselves had been sent to Kalaupapa alone. Go to the website of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa to download booklets about the history of Kalaupapa, access a recommended reading list or watch videos: www.kalaupapaohana.org Read “Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory” or look through the book for specific chapters of the history you want to focus on.


For Church Leaders


Observe Kalaupapa Sunday, designated as the fourth Sunday in January by the Hawai‘i Conference for the United Church of Christ. We hope all churches will observe this Sunday and include the people of Kalaupapa and their message of faith and hope in the sermons. In advance of Kalaupapa Sunday, ask members of your congregation who had family at Kalaupapa if they would share some thoughts during the service.

Ongoing Events


“A Source of Light, Constant and Never Fading,” a historical exhibit by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa at ‘Iolani Palace. TuesdaySaturday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Last ticket sold at 4 p.m.; Galleries open until 5 p.m. See: iolanipalace.org “A Reflection of Kalaupapa: Past, Present and Future,” a photo exhibit by Ka ‘Ohana at the Molokai Museum & Cultural Center in Kalae on Molokai. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Admission $5; $1 for ages 5-18. Text: 808-349-2236.

Special Webinars for Kalaupapa Month


“The Kalaupapa Memorial: ‘I Want to See All The Names’ ,” Saturday, January 13, 10-11:30 a.m. Learn how the Kalaupapa Memorial was conceived by Kalaupapa residents (patients) and all the work that has transpired since then. “Hale Mohalu: Land of Joy, Land of Pain,” Saturday, January 27, 10-11:30 a.m. We must keep alive this important chapter in the history of Kalaupapa of how the people of Kalaupapa stood up for their rights and demanded that their voices be included in decisions affecting them. To attend these webinars, sign up to receive notices and links, contact info.kalaupapa@gmail.com Special requests: For any class or organization, Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa will conduct a private webinar on a variety of subjects if you can guarantee an audience of 15 or more participants. Contact: info.kalaupapa@gmail.com

How Are You Observing Kalaupapa Month? Please let us know! Send your ways of commemorating Kalaupapa and photos to info.kalaupapa@gmail.com

This flyer was made possible by support from The Noa Webster Aluli Foundation ............................. For more information: www.kalaupapaohana.org Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa PO Box 1111 Kalaupapa, Hawai‘i 96742

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