For more information, contact Kerri A. Inglis, Department of History, UH-Hilo 808-974-7587
HILO – A historical exhibit that emphasizes the strong relationship between the people of Kalaupapa and the Royal Family of Hawaii will open at the Edwin H. Mookini Library of the University of Hawaii at Hilo on Oct. 26 with a blessing and welcome at 4:30 p.m.
The public is invited. The exhibit is scheduled to remain on display at the library through Nov. 16.
Titled “A Source of Light, Constant and Never-Fading,” the exhibit was developed by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the value and dignity of every individual who was sent to Kalaupapa because of government policies regarding leprosy (also called Hansen’s disease). The ‘Ohana is made up of Kalaupapa residents, family members/descendants, longtime friends, students, clergy and others who have been working to preserve the history of Kaluapapa for many years.
Clarence “Boogie” Kahilihiwa, who spent his early childhood in Kalapana before being taken from his family at the age of 9 in 1950 when he was diagnosed with the disease, is President of the ‘Ohana. Kahilihiwa was among those who attended the blessing of the exhibit when it debuted at ‘Iolani Palace earlier this year.
“We often don’t hear about how our Hawaiian monarchy was concerned about the people sent to Kalaupapa and the conditions of the settlement,” said Kahilihiwa. “The ‘Ohana greatly appreciates the University of Hawaii at Hilo partnering with us to bring this exhibit to the Big Island.”
The exhibit contains historical photographs, excerpts from letters originally written in Hawaiian, quotes, petitions and lyrics of songs composed by Kalaupapa residents as well as photos and quotes of current or recent residents.
The library is open Monday-Thursday 8:00am-10:30pm, Fridays 8:00am-6:00pm, and Sundays 2:00pm-10:30pm (closed Saturdays).
It is hoped that teachers and students in the Hilo area will visit the exhibit to encourage discussions in their classrooms about the history of Kalaupapa. Teachers interested in bringing students to the exhibit should contact Thora Abarca, Mookini Library Public Services 974-7343, to arrange their visit.
The exhibit is part of a new schools outreach program developed by the ‘Ohana to help get information about Kalaupapa included in classroom curriculums. Teachers can contact the ‘Ohana at HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com to receive materials that might help them learn more about the history of Kalaupapa.
The ‘Ohana hopes to bring the exhibit to Kamuela and Kona within the next year.
For more information about the exhibit at UH-Hilo, please call Kerri A. Inglis, Department of History, UH-Hilo 974-7587. For information about Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, please contact ‘Ohana Coordinator Valerie Monson at 808-573-2746.
The historical exhibit developed by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, “A Source of Light, Constant and Never-Fading,” appeared at the Conference for Native Hawaiian Advancement at the Hawaii Convention Center earlier this month. The exhibit, which emphasizes the relationship between the people of Kalaupapa and the Royal Family of Hawaii, opens in the library of the University of Hawaii at Hilo on Friday, October 26, with a blessing at 4:30 p.m.