Kalaupapa, Molokai - Photo courtesy of the National Park Service
Kalaupapa, Molokai – Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Library invites the campus community and the public to a special lecture by award-winning UH Press author Anwei Skinsnes Law on “New Perspectives on the History of Kalaupapa” in Hamilton Library Room 301 on Thursday, November 7, 2013, from 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Between 1866 and 1969, an estimated 8,000 people were taken from their families and places of birth, and sent to Kalaupapa because of Hawaiʻi’s leprosy isolation policies.  About 5,200 of these individuals were sent to Kalaupapa prior to the annexation of Hawai‘i by the United States, approximately 97% of whom were Native Hawaiian.

Members of the Royal Family were deeply moved by the situation facing so many of their “beloved people” who were diagnosed with leprosy.  They visited Kalaupapa, read petitions, wrote letters, mourned friends who had been taken from their midst and did what they could to make life better for those impacted by the disease.  Leprosy was a very real presence in their lives.

Anwei Skinsnes Law, a UH graduate, has been researching the history of Kalaupapa for more than 40 years. She has conducted oral history interviews with many Kalaupapa residents and family members and produced books and documentaries on various aspects of the history. Her most recent book, Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory published by UH Press, was named the winner of the 2013 Samuel M. Kamakau Award as Book of the Year by the Hawaiʻi Publishers Association.

View the historical exhibit, “A Source of Light, Constant and Never-Fading,” developed by Ka ʻohana O Kalaupapa, on the 1st floor of Hamilton Library following the lecture.

For more information, contact Teri Skillman at skillman@hawaii.edu.

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  1. "About 5,200 of these individuals were sent to Kalaupapa prior to the annexation of Hawai‘i by the United States, approximately 97% of whom were Native Hawaiian. Members of the Royal Family were deeply moved by the situation facing so many of their “beloved people” who were diagnosed with leprosy."

    And yet the monarchs of the Kingdom, and the royal families, including extremely wealthy ones, did very little to provide actual help to the leprosy victims. Saint Damien and Saint Cope, Caucasians coming from outside Hawaii, devoted their lives to serving the victims, who were nearly all Hawaiians; and they had to constantly fight with the monarchial government to get necessary supplies and medications. Why didn't Hawaiians, especially the monarchs and wealthy landowners, help the victims?

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