Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa December 2018 Newsletter

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“E Ho‘ohanohano a E Ho‘omau. . .

. . . To Honor and To Perpetuate”

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa President Clarence “Boogie” Kahilihiwa passes a lei to Momilani Motta Cheek during a ho‘okupu ceremony to remember all those who have died at Kalaupapa. Photo by Henry Law

“You Have to Know Their Names” W

hen 70 residents, family members and friends of Kalaupapa walked into McVeigh Hall on a sunny August morning in 2003, no one really knew what to expect. For the next two days, concerns about Kalaupapa were aired, ideas for solutions were shared and all voices were heard.

Kalaupapa resident John Arruda surrounded by friends, including Phil Hatori. Photo by Anwei Law

By the close of that inspirational weekend of camaraderie and common goals, Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa was born. Our mission: “E Ho‘ohanohano a E Ho‘omau…. To Honor and To Perpetuate.” Continued on page 6

k a la upa pa o ha na .o rg

Message from our President who have died, but who remain with us spiritually. We wanted to make sure the voices of Kalaupapa would always be heard.

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa Board of Directors

Since that time, the ‘Ohana has advocated for the people of Kalaupapa when issues arise. We have helped more than 800 descendants reconnect to their Kalaupapa ancestors, visited schools across Hawai‘i, developed traveling exhibits that have appeared on every island and made significant progress toward establishment of The Kalaupapa Memorial.

Clarence “Boogie” Kahilihiwa President Pauline Ahulau Chow Vice President Jason Umemoto Treasurer Gloria Marks Director Sister Davilyn Ah Chick Director Kalei Dagulo Director Lopaka Ho’opi’i Director DeGray Vanderbilt Director Patria Weston-Lee Director Charmaine Woodward Director Valerie Monson Executive Director In Memoriam Bernard K. Punikai‘a Chairman of the Board, 2004-2009 Kuulei Bell President, 2004-2009 Our masthead was designed by Kalaupapa artist Henry Nalaielua. Newsletter editor: Valerie Monson Design: Yellowbird Graphic Design

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa P.O. Box 1111 Kalaupapa, Hawai‘i 96742 email: info@kalaupapaohana.org www.kalaupapaohana.org ©2018 Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa

Boogie Kahilihiwa welcomes ‘Ohana leaders to the 2018 annual meeting. Photo by Henry Law


We don’t say it enough— and yet where would we be without all of you who have supported us over the years in so many different ways?

When Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa organized in 2003, we did not realize what we would be starting. I was one of those 70 people who gathered in McVeigh Hall to share our collective thoughts about improving life at Kalaupapa. We had no blueprint of our plans, no experienced consultants to direct us— and no money behind us.

We were brought together simply by our love and respect for the people of Kalaupapa — those still with us physically as well as thousands more

None of these programs would have been possible without those of you who are reading this message. Your generous donations enabled us to turn our ideas into reality. You believed in us when it would have been easy not to do so— when we were united by a cause, but without a real plan— and we hope you continue to believe in us.

Together, all of us will make sure the people of Kalaupapa are remembered by their names and in their own words. We will continue to help more descendants learn about their family members who were sent to Kalaupapa. We will continue to spread the inspiring message of Kalaupapa throughout Hawai‘i and beyond. We will unveil The Kalaupapa Memorial in the fall of 2020. Mahalo to each of you. We can’t say it enough.

Are you looking for an ancestor at Kalaupapa? The ‘Ohana wants to hear from you so we can help. Hopefully, we can provide information that should get you on the path to finding any ancestors you might have had at Kalaupapa. The ‘Ohana believes that the descendants of Kalaupapa are one of our organization’s greatest strengths. Please contact us at info@kalaupapaohana.org and let us help you bring home your Kalaupapa ancestors. They are not lost. . . they are waiting for you.


The Kalaupapa Memorial: We Have a Date!


hen Kalaupapa residents, their extended family members and long time friends officially formed in 2003, one of the first things residents asked was that the ‘Ohana prioritize the establishment of The Kalaupapa Memorial. After years of planning and completing required tasks, we have a target date of October 2020 for unveiling the completed Memorial that will list the names of everyone who was forcibly isolated at Kalaupapa because of leprosy/Hansen’s disease. This year has proved to be a most fruitful one for the ‘Ohana in moving the Memorial forward. Key occurrences: • The Board of Land and Natural Resources unanimously issued an approval of the ‘Ohana’s final Environmental Assessment, praising the Conceptual Design of the Memorial. • A strong group of professionals has offered to lead the final planning and construction processes to complete the

Memorial. These include G70, a highly regarded architectural and engineering firm which helped create the Conceptual Design, and Goodfellow Bros., a seasoned contractor with construction experience on major projects at Kalaupapa. They will work with our ‘Ohana Memorial Committee that includes family members and cultural specialists. • The ‘Ohana’s historian has compiled more than 7,300 of the estimated 8,000 names that will be displayed on the Memorial. Hawaiian language specialists and family members are providing assistance with regard to the spellings. • Islander Institute led an inspiring strategic planning retreat at Kalaupapa for the ‘Ohana Board of Directors on creating a plan through October, 2020. • Grant Works Hawaii, an experienced fundraising consulting firm, has joined the ‘Ohana to


Artist renderings by G70

coordinate the development of a major fundraising campaign to secure financing for the construction of the Memorial and the establishment of an endowment to insure the care and operations of the Memorial in perpetuity. In the next few months, we will be letting everyone know how each of you can be part of making the dream of so many Kalaupapa residents come true. It’s an exciting time!

Bringing Back The Families,

The family of the late Kalaupapa artist Ed Kato stands proudly at the rocks that Ed painted. From left: Elaine Chung, Gordon Umemoto, Ann Umemoto, Anthony Umemoto, Jason Umemoto, Nancy Cassandro and Gian Umemoto. Elaine and Ann were Ed’s nieces — and Jason, a member of the ‘Ohana Board of Directors, is a great-nephew.

Jimmy Lovaas stands at the top of the walkway that once led to the house where his great-grandmother, Myrtle Spahn Hatori, lived with her husband, Manasey Hatori.

Marty Kuala (right) and her daughter, Malia ‘Alohilani Rogers, visit the sanctuary of Kanaana Hou Church at Kalaupapa where their kupuna, Kalani Kahua, was a Deacon in 1927. Both women wear jewelry inscribed with the name of Mr. Kahua’s wife, Kaua. The family of David and Alana Ah Lo Kamahana sit on the steps of the house where their kupuna once lived. From left: Joseph Graham Jr., Christina D’Andrea, JoAnn Graham and Yvonne Graham Solem, a granddaughter of the Kamahanas whose mother, Emma Kamahana Riveira Dickerson, was born at Kalaupapa.



“The Restoration o

ne of the most successful programs of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa has been “The Restoration of Family Ties,” where we reach out to descendants of the people of Kalaupapa to help them learn more about their ancestors — and get them involved with our ‘Ohana. Our digital library of information now contains a variety of information on more than 7,300 individuals who were sent to Kalaupapa. The ‘Ohana conducts research at no charge upon request and mails the information along with ‘Ohana materials to the descendant along with suggestions of other agencies to contact for additional information. Among the highlights:

Reconnecting The Generations

Ancia Woo and Susie Smith, the greatgranddaughters of Wong Chew, stand near the pillar of the Chinese Society building at Kalaupapa, which is all that remains of that oncebeautiful structure. Wong Chew is buried in the Chinese Cemetery at Kalaupapa and very likely was a member of the Chinese Society.

The family of Henry Hori gathers at the Kalaupapa pier to say a prayer for their father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Henry Hori, whose ashes were scattered into the bay many years ago.

Jimmy Lovaas presents a kikania lei and lays a hand on the tombstone of his greatgrandmother, Myrtle Spahn Hatori. Some of the current residents remembered Mrs. Hatori and shared stories that made Jimmy’s visit even more memorable.

of Family Ties”

the ‘Ohana helped two individuals over the age of 80 who were born at Kalaupapa obtain pictures of their mothers for the first time. The ‘Ohana continues to help families visit Kalaupapa for the day or overnight to locate graves, learn about the history of Kalaupapa and walk in the footsteps of their ancestors. These visits are always life-changing for the descendants who leave with a feeling that their kupuna have returned to their family history. The pictures on these pages capture moments of families reconnecting to their Kalaupapa ancestors in 2018. Each of these families 
is keeping alive the legacy of their ‘ohana.

Noah Cox stands on the porch of Bay View Home near the room where his grandfather, Gilbert Vierra, lived for many years. Noah’s grandmother, Ethel Cox, is buried next to Mr. Vierra at Kalaupapa.

Photos by Valerie Monson


“You Have to Know Their Names” Continued from page 1

For the past 15 years, the ‘Ohana has focused on honoring the people of Kalaupapa and perpetuating their legacies in different ways. That philosophy begins by remembering their names. “You have to know their names,” said Bernard K. Punikai‘a, the late Kalaupapa leader whose vision led to the establishment of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa. “If you don’t say the names, it’s like something has been lost.” The names of the nearly 8,000 people who were forcibly isolated at Kalaupapa will be the heart and soul of the Kalaupapa Memorial (see page 3). The Memorial is expected to be dedicated in 2020, but the ‘Ohana has been remembering the names of the people since that first meeting in 2003.

Haunani Hess, whose grandparents lived at Kalaupapa, presents a lei to Boogie Kahilihiwa with Lopaka Ho‘opi‘i in the background. Lopaka’s father was born at Kalaupapa.

One example of this is our “Circle of Remembrance” where we gather at the site of the future Memorial during annual meetings at Kalaupapa. We link hands and speak aloud the name of a relative or friend who has died at Kalaupapa to let them know they are still with us.

Kalaupapa residents, descendants and friends gather in a circle to remember the names of loved ones who died at Kalaupapa.

John Arruda, the oldest Kalaupapa resident at age 94, finds the sadness of looking back at those who have died to be lightened by their names filling the air. “I like it when we call out the names,” said John, a founding member of the ‘Ohana. “You know it makes me sad when I think of all the people close to me who are gone, but we are remembering them, that’s what’s important. I’m so glad we do this.” The last few years, the descendants of Kalaupapa have led a procession to the Memorial site and held a ho‘okupu ceremony where everyone presents gifts to ‘Ohana President Boogie Kahilihiwa. For the 15th anniversary of the ‘Ohana in 2018, Momilani Motta Cheek planned the ceremony. Momilani has strong connections to Kalaupapa: her great-grandmother, Becky Perry, died at Kalaupapa, but her grave has never been found. Momilani and her aunt, Piolani Motta, have been strong proponents of the Memorial that will include the name of their kupuna — and thousands more. To prepare, Momi and Maco Waialeale picked crown flowers growing near a beach at Kalaupapa. Along with Pua Akamu and Monica Morris, they sewed them into lei and entwined the flowers with ti and laua‘e ferns. “There were three long strands,” said Momi. “Each was four feet long and, to me, they represented the 12 residents of Kalaupapa who are still living.”

They also represented the first 12 people who were sent to Kalaupapa on January 6, 1866. The leaders chanted, asking for guidance from their kupuna and ancestors as everyone proceeded to the ahu that was built by the descendants of Kalaupapa at the piko of the future Memorial. Gifts were presented to Boogie and arranged on the ahu by Momi. Colin Brede, whose two uncles were sent to Kalaupapa, offered a bouquet of ohai ali‘i which he found blooming in blazing red and gold off a road at

Colin Brede’s bouquet symbolizes honor and prestige.

Kalaupapa. The flowers, noted Colin, symbolize honor and prestige. Once the gifts had been received, the circle took shape again and the names of loved ones filled the air. “It’s so special when we say all the names,” said Momi. “It will be even more special when we have the Memorial that will have all the names on it.” Photos by Henry Law



K a l a u pa pa Memorial


ith plans for The Kalaupapa Memorial progressing, Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa decided it was time to begin restoring the site where the Memorial will be located in the original settlement of Kalawao. The grounds that once housed the Baldwin Home for Men and Boys have been empty for more than 80 years — and subject to increasing invasive trees, weeds and feral animal destruction.

UH CTAHR students show off the results of their labor. From left: Lian Huang, Korynn Grenert, Sabrina Summers, Michelle Au, Jaclyn Lee, and Isaiah Wagenman.

The students were deeply moved by the stories they heard, making their service even more meaningful. After their work was completed, they gathered around the cross at the top of Kauhako Crater and shared emotional reflections on their weekend. They did not talk of pulling weeds — they focused on the people they learned about whose names will be on the Kalaupapa Memorial.

The students were introduced to the history and people of Kalaupapa by watching “The Pride of a Nation,” the video produced by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa.

Prior to this year’s annual meeting, we were fortunate that 16 students and staff of the University of Hawai‘i College for Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, were eager to visit Kalaupapa, learn about the history and help with a service project under the supervision of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa.

After finishing their work, the students gathered around the cross at the top of Kauhako Crater to reflect on their transforming weekend.

In only two days, the students cleared a large portion of the site, pulling out lantana and other weeds, hauling fallen branches and removing invasive vines. The National Park Service provided a dump truck and trailer to haul it all away.

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa plans to continue these service learning projects to give the Memorial the dignified space it deserves and continue to inspire future generations with the history. Photos by DeGray Vanderbilt


Join Our ‘Ohana Support Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa

“The ‘Ohana is doing such a good job of helping the families. For some of them, they never got to meet their Kalaupapa relatives because they didn’t know about them, but now the families are coming back and it’s good to see that.”

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa relies on donations from supporters like you to enable our programs to grow. Your contributions will help us reconnect more descendants to their Kalaupapa ancestors, continue our Schools Outreach program, establish The Kalaupapa Memorial and more. Please consider a donation to the ‘Ohana.

—  Gloria Marks, a resident of Kalaupapa for more than 50 years and community leader Photo by Valerie Monson

Mahalo in advance. Send your donations to: Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa PO Box 1111 Kalaupapa, Hawai‘i 96742 Or donate by visiting our ‘Ohana website www.kalaupapaohana.org

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa

“E Ho‘ohanohano a E Ho‘omau. . .

. . . To Honor and To Perpetuate”

P.O. Box 1111 Kalaupapa HI 96742 Email: info@kalaupapaohana.org www.kalaupapaohana.org


Kalaupapa Memorial — We have a completion date! Page 3 Photo by Henry Law


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