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June 2008

Hawai`i News

Sacrifices and Accomplishments at Kalaupapa
Officially Recognized

View from Kalawao, the original settlement on Molokai, looking toward Waikolu Valley and beyond.
(Kalaupapa is on the other side of the peninsula and not seen in this view.)

Photo and Story by Valerie Monson

The people of Kalaupapa were praised and saluted in both the US Congress and the Hawaii State Legislature this spring. A US Senate committee moved forward a bill that would authorize the establishment of a Monument on the peninsula while the Hawaii State Legislature adopted a resolution that recognized the great sacrifices made by all of those sent to Kalaupapa along with their families and apologized for pain caused by the separation.

The Congressional bill and the State resolution were proposed and written by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, a nonprofit organization made up of Kalaupapa residents, their family members and friends.

The bill for the Monument faces one last test in Congress: once it passes the Senate floor it will be adopted and then only needs the signature of President George W. Bush to become law. US Senator Daniel Akaka, who introduced the bill, said the people of Kalaupapa should never be forgotten.

The Monument would eventually list the names of all the estimated 8,000 people who were sent there because of society’s fear of the disease. ‘Ohana President Kuulei Bell said the Monument goes hand-in-hand with the Hawaii Resolution that recognized the sacrifices and accomplishments of the people of Kalaupapa.

Hawaii State Senator J. Kalani English, who introduced the resolution to the Legislature Senate on behalf of the ‘Ohana, told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that this was “the first time that the Hawaii government has offered an apology to citizens for any reason.”

Some Kalaupapa 'Ohana members at the 2007 annual
meeting taking a tour of Kalawao, where the original
settlement was located on the Kalaupapa peninsula.

Mrs. Bell said the acknowledgement and apology were important to the current residents of Kalaupapa, those who were sent to Kalaupapa in earlier times and all the families who were left behind.

The resolution recognizes the estimated 8,000 people sent to Kalaupapa from 1866 to 1969 for leaving all that was dear to them to be isolated on the remote Molokai peninsula because they were led to believe that they were a threat to the public health. Many people diagnosed with leprosy (now called Hansen’s disease) willingly left their families and relocated to Kalaupapa because they did not want to spread the disease. In other words, the people of Kalaupapa cared more about their fellow Hawaii residents than they did themselves.

The idea for such a resolution came from Paul Harada, one of Kalaupapa’s most respected leaders. Mr. Harada often said that while the people of Kalaupapa have often thanked the State of Hawaii for providing for their care, he was upset that the State and the people of Hawaii had never thanked the people of Kalaupapa for all that they had sacrificed for society.

Mr. Harada continued to share those thoughts over the years. Finally, last December, Mr. Harada’s younger brother, Glenn Harada, suggested asking the State Legislature to adopt a resolution that would acknowledge the Kalaupapa residents. Glenn Harada is a member of the Board of Directors of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa. Other ‘Ohana Board members liked the idea and decided to pursue it after the holidays.

Hawaii Senator J. Kalani English
with 'Ohana President Kuulei Bell

Sadly enough, Paul Harada died on Jan. 4, 2008. In his memory as well as the memory of other Kalaupapa residents who had died and in honor of the remaining 28 Kalaupapa residents, the ‘Ohana decided to carry on with plans for the resolution.

A community meeting was held at Kalaupapa in early February to review a draft resolution. Residents were moved and tears flowed as the resolution was read, triggering old memories of separation and discrimination that have not faded with the years. Some residents at the meeting felt that an apology was due to them and to those who went before them and experienced even more hardships and injustices.

The final resolution was approved by State Department of Health, the Governor’s Policy Committee and Attorney General Mark Bennett before it was adopted by both the State Senate and House.

To read the resolution in full, go to www.kalaupapaohana.org. or www.northwesthawaiitimes.com

Valerie Monson is a journalist who has written about Kalaupapa and her people for nearly 20 years. She is the secretary of Ka `Ohana O Kalaupapa.



More Native Hawaiians Get into William S. Richardson School of Law at University of Hawai`i - Manoa

By Derek Kauanoe

There is good news regarding Native Hawaiian admission into the William S. Richardson School of Law.  For the 2008 admissions cycle, nearly 51% of the Native Hawaiians who applied to the William S. Richardson School of Law were admitted.  Fifty-five Native Hawaiians are known to have applied to Hawai'i's only law school in hopes of starting their legal education in the fall 2008 semester.  Of the 55, twenty-eight Native Hawaiians have been admitted to start this fall.  The 28 students admitted represent nearly 51% (50.9%) of the Native Hawaiians who applied. 

In previous years, the admissions of Native Hawaiians have been much lower.

Year    #Applicants    #Admitted    % Admitted
2003         32                    8             25.00%
2004         51                  15             29.40%
2005         46                  14             30.40%
2006         37                  15             40.50%
2007         45                  22             48.90%
2008         55                  28             50.90%

The LSAT preparation program provided by 'Ahahui o Hawai'i, with funding from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, continues to play a significant role in the admission of Native Hawaiians into the Richardson School of Law.  Of the 22 students admitted in 2007, five students participated in the LSAT preparation program.  Of the 28 students in 2008, eight participated in the LSAT preparation program.  You can read what recent participants say about our preparation program by clicking here.
Native Hawaiians who are both eligible and interested in applying to law school may want to consider visiting the website of 'Ahahui o Hawai'i ( www2.hawaii.edu/~ahahui) to learn more about the LSAT preparation program. Additional information is available at www2.hawaii.edu/~ahahui.

Derek Kauanoe is a former resident of Washington State and a 1994 graduate of Timberline High School in Lacey, Washington. He is the son of George and Ku`ulei Kauanoe who live in Lacey. At the UH Richardson School of Law, Derek is the founder of the Native Hawaiian recruitment program.

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