Kerri Inglis, a history professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, first came to Kalaupapa National Historical Park on a service trip with the Sierra Club in the summer of 2000. Seventeen years later, she is still returning, this time with history students in her Disease and Medicine in Hawaii class on a service-learning trip. For the students, it is an adventurous history lesson.
Kalaupapa National Historical Park (NHP) lies on a peninsula at the bottom of sheer cliffs, with the Pacific Ocean bordering three sides, and is situated along the northern coast of Molokai. It is included in Kalawao County, which has a long-standing restriction against entry for anyone under the age of 16. This creates a hurdle for the park to overcome in order to satisfy the Every Kid in a Park initiative as well as include young students in our centennial celebrations.
In the Kalaupapa cemetery records, the Japanese grave markers written in kanji are simply noted with “O.C.” for Oriental characters. For more than 80 years the markers went untranslated until one spring day in April, 2016.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 and World War II brought changes to the remote Kalaupapa community. Martial law was enforced, and civilian boats were prevented from leaving the harbors.