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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

NEWS: Kalaupapa - A Collective Memory

Extensively researched story of Kalaupapa wins Hawaii Book of the Year Award.

Kalaupapa - A Collective Memory was published by the University of Hawaii Press in 2012. The author is international coordinator of IDEA.

On January 6, 1866, the first 12 people were sent to the remote Kalaupapa peninsula on the island of Molokai in Hawaii because they were thought to have leprosy. By 1949, nearly 8,000 people had been isolated there, over 90 percent of them native Hawaiians.

Kalaupapa - A Collective Memory tells the story of these people in their own words. For its "very important contribution to Hawaiian history," the book recently received the Samuel M. Kamakau Award for Hawai‘i Book of the Year for 2013 from the Hawaii Book Publishers Association.

Author Anwei Skinsnes Law, who first visited Kalaupapa in 1968 as a teenager, based her book on extensive research of letters and petitions - more than 300 written by the early residents and translated from Hawaiian - and over 200 hours of oral history interviews. The work also includes 295 photos.

It has long been assumed that those sent to Kalaupapa were unconcerned with the world they were forced to leave behind, but this book shows that residents remained actively interested and involved in life beyond the confines of the peninsula that had become their home.

"The people of Kalaupapa have been speaking to us clearly and definitively for more than 145 years," Law writes in the Preface. "The objective of this Collective Memory is to bring those voices back into the history of Kalaupapa, the history of Hawaii, and the history of the world."