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The Right to Home

Page history last edited by happylosheng@gmail.com 12 years, 9 months ago

The Right to Home: Kalaupapa

Valerie Monson, Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa

 

 

雖然州和中央的法律規定不論Kalaupapa島上居民剩下多少,他們都有權保有自己的房子,但居民仍擔心這個承諾有一天會破滅。因為有傳言Kalaupapa島即將關閉、所有人將被遷移到檀香山市,當1996年島上的老人聽到這個消息,有人產生高血壓、憂鬱症甚至心栓。這個傳言讓島上居民、家屬、朋友組成一個組織,支持Kalaupapa社區繼續留在島上。

 

 

早在1983Kalaupapa居民就曾進行抗爭,但夏威夷州政府卻以在檀香山市蓋好一座複合式建築(含醫院)作為Kalaupapa居民安置的地點。因為當時1970年夏威夷州政府開始計畫在海岸建造度假村、高爾夫球場,便有傳言州政府將把海岸邊的土地賣給私人企業,Kalaupapa便開始進行反抗運動,Richard Marks先生帶領社區要求政府設立國家歷史公園,以保障居民居住權益,並開始進行當地歷史調查。

 

 

Kalaupapa人口日漸減少時,IDEA理事長Bernard Punikai擔心當地歷史無法留傳下去,1996年開始召開一個工作坊,邀集當地居民、親友、政府官員一起成立Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa組織,其最重要的目標便是:確保當地居民可以持續住在Kalaupapa島,並獲得妥善的照顧,以及保存Kalaupapa的歷史。

 

 

Ohana每年召開年會,邀請家屬、夏威夷、美國居民參加,要求州政府持續提供醫療協助,讓Kalaupapa島居民不必搬到檀香山,州政府必須每月召開社區會議讓居民知道新的設施和政策。Ohana組織也催生一個紀念碑,將八千名被送到這個島的居民的名字刻在上面,讓當地居民可以找到他們祖先的資訊。

 

 

因此Ohana組織的目標是確保Kalaupapa的居住權益和確保當地歷史以正確方式保存給家屬及後代子孫。

 

 

 

Valerie Monson, Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa

The Right to Home: Kalaupapa

 

 

Although there are state and federal laws in place which guarantee that the people of Kalaupapa can remain in their homes for as long as they choose no matter how small the population gets, there has still been the fear that these promises could be broken.

 

 

Perhaps nothing causes more distress in the community than a rumor that Kalaupapa might close – and everyone will be forcibly relocated to the city of Honolulu. When such a rumor swept the community in 1996, some of the older patients actually experienced physical reactions: high blood pressure, anxiety and even hives.

 

 

 

It was because of this rumor in 1996 that a group of residents, family members and longtime friends of Kalaupapa came together to show the community of the widespread love and support of the people. The first recommendation from that workshop was that an organization be established to support the Kalaupapa community.

 

 

 

That fear of being forcibly relocated is understandable for the Kalaupapa community. In 1983, despite the public protests of many Kalaupapa residents and their supporters, the State of Hawaii bulldozed a Honolulu living complex that had served as an alternative to Kalaupapa and was a comfortable home away from home for Kalaupapa residents who needed to be in Honolulu. Most everyone was transferred from that facility to a hospital where, to this day, Kalaupapa residents who need treatment in Honolulu must live in a hospital setting.

 

 

There were also fears that the same thing could happen at Kalaupapa. In the 1970s when Hawaii’s scenic coastal lands were being developed as resorts and golf courses, there were rumors that the State of Hawaii was prepared to sell the land at Kalaupapa to become a tourist destination. Rather than wait for the worst to happen, residents took matters into their own hands. Led by Kalaupapa community activist Richard Marks, the community asked the National Park Service to establish a historical park at Kalaupapa as another layer of protection for the current residents to remain in their homes for as long as they wished. It was also the first official recognition of the importance of the history of Kalaupapa and a start to preserving the stories of the people.

 

 

As the community of Kalaupapa began getting smaller, community leader and IDEA President Bernard Punikai`a grew concerned that the community needed an organization that was not tied to government to serve as another voice for the residents and to make sure the history of Kalaupapa was accurately remembered and passed down to future generations even when the residents were no longer living. Punikai`a spearheaded the 1996 workshop that first brought together residents, family members and friends with government officials.

 

 

In 2003, Mr. Punikai`a called for another two-day workshop attended by 70 people. This group decided its first priority would be the establishment of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa. The main goals of the ‘Ohana were to ensure that residents can live out their lives in their homes with the necessary services, guarantee that the history is accurately preserved and seek out family members to participate in the process. The 13-member ‘Ohana Board of Directors includes five Kalaupapa residents, three family members and five longtime friends. 

 

 

Every year, we have a two-day annual meeting that is open to the Kalaupapa community and attended by family members who live elsewhere in Hawaii and the Mainland. Each year, we try to bring in new family members to become knowledgable about the ‘Ohana and the history of Kalaupapa.

 

 

Since that first workshop, the ‘Ohana has helped coordinate the return of dialysis services so that residents would not have to move to Honolulu; convinced government officials to conduct monthly meetings to keep the community informed; began the effort to establish a Monument at Kalaupapa that would list the names of the estimated 8,000 people sent there and served as a resource for family members seeking information about their ancestors.

 

 

As a result of the ‘Ohana, we believe the people of Kalaupapa are more confident that they will be able to live out their lives in their homes, that their history will be remembered in the right way and that their stories will be told by family members and descendents. 

 

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