MNHCoC to Feature Valerie Monson, April 11

April 3, 2017, 2:20 PM HST · Updated April 3, 2:25 PM
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Valerie Monson, award-winning journalist and coordinator for Ka ’Ohana O Kalaupapa, will be the featured speaker at the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce membership dinner on Tuesday, April 11, at Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapū.

Photographer Wayne Levin’s portraits of Kalaupapa residents and their families are presented in this show. Photo courtesy of MACC.

Monson has been interviewing and writing about the people of Kalaupapa since 1989 and has produced more than 150 articles, many of them for The Maui News, and has co-authored the book, “Ili Na Ho‘omana‘o o Kalaupapa – Casting Remembrances of Kalaupapa.”

Monson will share about the non-profit organization Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa which started 20 years ago when Monson and Kalaupapa leader Bernard Punikai‘a recognized the need to bring together family members and friends of the community to provide support in preserving the lifestyle of the people and their history.

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa is dedicated to remembering each of the estimated 8,000 people who were sent to Kalaupapa by telling their stories and reconnecting their families to their Kalaupapa ancestors.

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“The Restoration of Family Ties” program has helped nearly 700 families reconnect to their Kalaupapa ancestors and has received worldwide attention including support from the US Congress to adopt legislation of the Kalaupapa Memorial Act and was signed into law by President Barack Obama that authorized the ‘Ohana to establish a Memorial that will list the names of everyone was sent to Kalaupapa.

“The Memorial will keep the memories of our Kalaupapa community alive and will provide a place for future generations of ohana to gather and honor their beloved,” explained Monson.

“We look forward to Valerie’s presentation because it’s so important to acknowledge the familial ties between Maui and Moloka‘i,” said Teri Freitas Gorman, president of the MNHCoC. “Kalaupapa was a place of both suffering and remarkable compassion that produced two Hawai‘i saints and countless survivors and anonymous angels. The work of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa will honor and perpetuate the legacy of these amazing people. This is a rare opportunity to learn more about Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, don’t miss it.”

No-host cocktails and networking will begin at 5:30 p.m. Members are asked to pay $25; non-members will be charged $30. Reservations can be paid in advance at the website www.mnhcoc.org or pay by phone: (808) 874-2426. RSVP deadline is Saturday, April 8.

MNHCoC’s mission is “to promote and sustain Hawaiian values and culture, and enhance the socio-economic status of Native Hawaiians in business and as individuals.”

Membership is open to anyone with an interest in perpetuating the spirit of Aloha through commerce, culture and community. We welcome Hawaiians and “Hawaiians at Heart” who believe that Native Hawaiian prosperity benefits everyone.


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