HONOLULU – Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa was presented with two Preservation Awards by the Historic Hawai`i Foundation at their annual awards banquet in Honolulu last month.
The ‘Ohana was recognized for “The Restoration of Family Ties” program that reconnects descendants to their Kalaupapa ancestors and for the photo exhibit “A Reflection of Kalaupapa: Past, Present and Future” that features 100 photographs and quotes from the people of Kalaupapa and their families. The exhibit is currently on display at the Molokai Museum & Cultural Center in Kalae.
“We are so proud of our program that helps families learn about their ancestors who was here as well as our traveling photo exhibit,” said ‘Ohana President Clarence “Boogie” Kahilihiwa. “It’s an honor to have Historic Hawai`i Foundation recognize the importance of the work of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa in bringing the families back to Kalaupapa and educating the public about the people and the history of Kalaupapa.”
Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa is a nonprofit organization made up of Kalaupapa residents, family members/descendants, friends and supporters of the community. Anyone is welcome to join.
“The Restoration of Family Ties” program that has helped hundreds of families obtain more information about their Kalaupapa ancestors who were sent there because of government policies regarding leprosy or who were kama`aina prior to the establishment of the settlement in 1866.
The photo exhibit has been displayed on the six main islands of Hawai`i, providing an opportunity for residents, students and visitors to get a deeper understanding of the people of Kalaupapa and their families throughout the history of the settlement. From 1866 to 1969, an estimated 8,000 people affected by leprosy (also called Hansen’s disease) were taken from their families and isolated at Kalaupapa.
Noelani Keliikipi, Executive Director of the Molokai Museum & Cultural Center, said the exhibit has been one of the most popular events it has ever hosted.
“Everyone is so impressed with this exhibit,” said Keliikipi. “Some people are even coming back to see it again.”
Visitors to the exhibit are given a free gallery guide that includes more background about Kalaupapa, a timeline of the history and photographs. They are also invited to watch a 5-minute video, “The Pride of a Nation,” produced by the ‘Ohana as an introduction to the people of Kalaupapa and the exhibit.
The Molokai Museum & Cultural Center is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 567-6436.
To reach more families through “The Restoration of Family Ties” program, leaders of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa have gone out to communities on all the six islands with presentations.
Families are also welcome to contact the ‘Ohana at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain information available in the digital library assembled by the ‘Ohana.