Ceremony to Commemorate 150th Anniversary of Isolation at Kalaupapa

January 5, 2016, 1:46 PM HST · Updated January 5, 1:46 PM
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The historic Kalaupapa settlement. Courtesy file photo: Office of US Senator Mazie Hirono.

The historic Kalaupapa settlement. Courtesy file photo: Office of US Senator Mazie Hirono.

A ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of when the first 12 people were sent to Kalaupapa in 1866 will be held at Hoaloha Park in front of the Hawaiian Canoe Club hale at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2015.

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, a nonprofit organization, dedicated to advocating for the Kalaupapa community is organizing the event.  The organization has been helping descendants learn about their ancestors who were at Kalaupapa and works in partnership to preserve the history at the location.

On Jan. 6, 1866, the first 12 people – nine men and three women – were sent to Kalaupapa because of newly established government policies calling for the isolation of people affected by leprosy.

Between 1866 and 1969, an estimated 8,000 people were taken from their families and relocated to Kalaupapa.

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There are still 15 people, all long cured, who have the right to live at Kalaupapa because they were isolated under the old laws. They continue to reside there by choice because it has become their home.

The gathering will feature the reading aloud of the names of the first 12 people. There will also be time for anyone attending to share their thoughts about their families or friends who were sent to Kalaupapa.

The event at Hoaloha Park is one of several events around the islands initiated by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa to observe the occasion.

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, which was organized in 2003 at the request of the Kalaupapa community, is made up of Kalaupapa residents, family members/descendants and friends.

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