Kalaupapa and the Royal Family of Hawaiʻi exhibit opens Oct. 26

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Date: Monday, October 22, 2012
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

A historical exhibit that emphasizes the strong relationship between the people of Kalaupapa and the Royal Family of Hawaiʻi opens in the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Mookini Library on Friday, October 26 with a blessing and welcome at 4:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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 Kalaupapa.

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 Hawaiʻi 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 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 info@kalaupapaohana.org to receive materials. Teachers interested in bringing students to the exhibit should contact Thora Abarca at 974-7343.

The Mookini Library is open Monday-Thursday 8 am-10:30 pm, Fridays 8 am-6 pm, and Sundays 2 -10:30 pm.

The exhibit is scheduled to remain on display at Mookini Library through November 16, 2012. The ‘Ohana hopes to bring the exhibit to Kamuela and Kona within the next year.

For more information, call Kerri A. Inglis at 974-7587.

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