Between the years 1866 - 1948 an estimated 8,000 people, mostly native Hawaiians, were forcibly taken from their families and sent to the Kalaupapa Peninsula because they were believed to have had leprosy, now officially named Hansen's Disease.  Since there were no antibiotics in the 19th century, isolation was thought to be the best solution to deal with this contagious disease.  The first group of 12 people arrived on January 6, 1866, and consisted of nine men and 3 women.   They were accompanied by 4 family members who were designed as helpers.   


The Kalaupapa National Historical Park is located on the island of Molokai in the State of Hawaii and was designated a national historic landmark on January 7, 1976, to honor and perpetuate the memory of those individuals who were forcibly relocated to the Kalaupapa Peninsula.


It's most outstanding citizen of this colony was Father Damien deVeuter who arrived at Kalaupapa in 1873 and lovingly served the leprosy patients for 16 years until his death from the disease in 1889.   He was canonized a saint on Oct. 12, 2009, by Pope Benedict XVI and is buried in the graveyard adjoining St. Philomena's Catholic Church, one of two churches on the island.    Mother Marianne Cope who devoted her religious life to care for women and children leprosy patients will be canonized as a saint by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012.  


There are two cemeteries on the island which include many unmarked graves as well as monuments and markers to respect the victims of Kalaupapa tragedy.    Our Aqaba rubbing paper and gravestone rubbing wax are being used under the supervision of  Ka'ohulani McGuire, Cultural Anthropologist, to record all the information found on markers in these cemeteries for posterity.


Visitors are welcome to visit this beautiful remote island.   Access to the island is limited to airplane or boat ride.   Once there walking and mule ride are the best means of transportation.


Please visit the Kalaupapa National Historical Park site at to read about its plans to commemorate a memorial to the Kalaupapa patients.