BILL WOULD ESTABLISH MEMORIAL FOR KALAUPAPA PATIENTS

January 13, 2009, 5:22 PM HST · Updated January 15, 9:21 AM
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Thousands of former Hansen Disease patients buried in the remote Kalaupapa Peninsula on Molokai, could finally get a memorial in their honor.  Although the Kalaupapa Memorial Act passed in the U.S. House last year, it did not pass the Senate prior to the conclusion of the 110th Congress.  It has since been reintroduced in the senate as part of a Land management act that comes up for consideration this week.  If approved, congresswoman Mazie Hirono says the House will likely consider the bill the week after the presidential inauguration or shortly thereafter.

Patients were forcibly relocated to the peninsula between 1866 and 1969.  Of the approximately 8,000 patents buried there, only some 13-hundred have marked graves.  Hirono said, “I have met with the elderly residents of Kalaupapa. Many have expressed a strong desire to know that the memorial will be built in their lifetimes.  I have also read the heartfelt and compelling testimony submitted by current patients and family members of former patients who want to make sure the story of Kalaupapa is not only told, but that the patients are recognized as individuals by having the names of each of those exiled to Kalaupapa and buried there recorded for posterity.”

(Posted by Wendy Osher:  Tuesday, January 13, 2009)

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