My name is Kim Carr and even though I was born and raised in Iowa, I have a personal connection with Kalaupapa. My maternal grandmother was forced to live there, having to say goodbye to not only her parents and siblings but also her husband and two children. The oldest child is my mother.
On January 6, 1866, nine men and three women were forcibly sent to the Kalaupapa Peninsula on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. They were sent there to live out the rest of their lives because, through no fault of their own, they were infected with a disease that at that time had no cure. Those 12 were the first of the 8,000+ people who would call Kalaupapa their home, with just a few still currently living there.
The disease is Hansen’s Disease, which prior to 1873 was called Leprosy. Its prevalence in Hawaii was the reason so many people were sent to Kalaupapa.
In my presentation, I will talk about the disease that afflicted so many people, how they were treated by their families, the general public, and sadly, the United States Government. I will also talk about how this population is now being honored and celebrated through art, writing, and music. My information comes from what I have found through research, correspondence with people that have firsthand knowledge, and the personal writings of my grandmother.
It is my hope that you will come to understand the pain and hardships this community endured, and celebrate the resilience they possessed, and how they redefined family.
Kimberly Haunani Carr