The peninsula : from the bouldered shores of Kalawao to the black sands of Kalaupapa

by Milo Marley Andrus

Institution: University of Hawaii – Manoa
Year: 2015
Keywords: Hawaiian archaeology; historic preservation; Kalaupapa; Hansen's disease
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2064817
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/101049


Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014. Forcibly banished because of their illness, seventeen leprosy patients landed on the north shore of Moloka`i in 1866. Over the ensuing decades, another eight thousand arrived on this isolated peninsula known as Kalaupapa. Nearly 150 years later, the settlement still exists as home for the remaining leprosy or Hansen's disease patients who are few in number and elderly. The settlement became a National Park in 1980, but the state of Hawaiʻi owns the land. Two state agencies, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Department of Land and Natural Resources control different parcels and each leases their interest to the National Park Service. When this lease expires in 2042, what will happen to the peninsula remains uncertain. While one phase of life ends for the patients, another commences with different competing government bodies, both state and federal, vying for jurisdictional control. This dissertation explores the valuable resources contained on the peninsula and within its three valleys. I examine the extensive volcanic activity, the pristine conditions of the endangered plant and animal life, and the archaeological record of Kanaka Maoli, the Native Hawaiians, or the indigenous inhabitants. I also focus on the Hansen's disease patients, drawing on extensive interviews I conducted with them, especially noting their stories or mo`olelo, along with an examination of their housing and community buildings. This dissertation interrogates the intersection of the relationship of these various cultural resources and argues for their preservation as essential to maintaining public memory of a time and place unique in the Hawaiian Islands. This dissertation provides an in-depth study of the area geologically, physically, and historically. All aspects of this sacred `āina need to be preserved for future generations' understanding of the pre-contact Native Hawaiian and the story of the Hansen's disease patients.