National Parks Bills: S 2502 / H.R. 3332



STATEMENT OF KATHERINE H. STEVENSON,

ACTING ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, BUSINESS SERVICES, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS

OF THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMITTEE,

CONCERNING H.R. 3332 AND S. 2502, TO PROVIDE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT

OF A MEMORIAL WITHIN KALAUPAPA NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

TO HONOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE RELOCATED

TO THE KALAUPAPA PENINSULA FROM 1866 TO 1969.

April 9, 2008


Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 3332 and S. 2502, bills to provide for the establishment of a memorial within Kalaupapa National Historical Park, located on the island of Molokai, in the State of Hawaii, to honor and perpetuate the memory of those individuals who were forcibly relocated to the Kalaupapa Peninsula from 1866 to 1969. 

 The Department does not object to the concept of establishing a memorial at Kalaupapa National Historical Park. The Department does, however, prefer the language in H.R. 3332, with one minor amendment, as it clarifies the fundraising requirements by Ka 'Ohana O Kalaupapa and the Secretary's role in approving the final location for the memorial. 

 H.R. 3332 and S. 2502 direct the Secretary of Interior to authorize Ka 'Ohana O Kalaupapa, a non-profit organization, to establish a memorial at either the Kalaupapa Settlement or Kalawao.  The memorial would be designed to display the names of the first 5,000 individuals sent to the Kalaupapa Peninsula between 1866 and 1896, and to also display the names of the approximately 3,000 individuals who arrived at Kalaupapa in the second part of its history.  Ka 'Ohana O Kalaupapa consists of patient residents at Kalaupapa National Historical Park, and their family members and friends.

Kalaupapa National Historical Park was established in 1980 to honor and preserve two tragic histories:  the removal of indigenous people from the area in 1865 and 1895, and the forced relocation and isolation of Hansen's Disease (leprosy) patientsto the peninsula from 1866 until 1969. The park contains the physical setting for these stories, including the Hansen's Disease settlements of Kalaupapa and Kalawao, and the churches of Siloama and Saint Philomena associated with the work of Father Damien and Mother Marianne Cope.  Today the community of Kalaupapa is still home for some Hansen Disease patients, whose memories and experiences are of integral value to the Park. 

 The National Park Service works cooperatively with several organizations to manage the site and preserve the stories of residents.  Partners include the State of Hawaii, Department of Health; the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu; the United Church of Christ; State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources; and the Department of Transportation.  The land owner, State of Hawaii, Department of Hawaiian Homelands, maintains a lease agreement (65 year) with the National Park Service.  In addition, the State of Hawaii, Department of Health would need to approve the release of names of patients that are not already available to the public for inclusion in a memorial.  Each of these groups would need to be consulted.  The National Park Service is committed to working with the patients, partners, and friends' groups to best honor the stories of those for whom the park was founded.

 The Department supports the concept of remembering all that has happened at Kalaupapa and believes that the entire park is a memorial to the history and injustice that has occurred on the peninsula.  Still, we recognize that the remaining patients and other interested parties support a memorial to the Hansen's Disease patients. 

 We recommend the legislation be amended to clarify that the memorial be located in the Kalaupapa Settlement, where patients continue to live today, and not at Kalawao.  Kalawao is a beautiful and remote location on the peninsula where few structures exist.  Few visitors see this area other than in the distance.  The Kalaupapa Settlement is a fitting area for such a memorial – it is where patients and visitors will have a lasting reminder of what occurred at Kalaupapa.  The proposed amendment is attached to this testimony.

 That concludes my testimony.  I would be happy to answer any questions you or other members of the committee may have.

Proposed amendment to H.R. 3332 RFS:

On page 2, line 13, strike "at Kalawao or Kalaupapa"