Kalawao bodies exhumed for study, 1884.

We’ve received word that more bodies were exhumed of patients in Kalawao, Molokai, under the orders of the German [Eduard Arning], because of his great desire to find the reasons for the deaths by the disease of which it is said:

1 E aha ia ana Hawaii
E nei mai o ka lepera.
Mai hookae a ka lehulehu
Ili ulaula ili keokeo.

2 Kuhikuhi mai hoi na lima
A he mai pake koiala
Kulou au a holo
Komo ka hilahila i ka houpo.

[1 What is up with Hawaii
With this disease, leprosy
Disease hated by the masses
By the dark skinned and the white skinned.

2 The hand points this way
“That one there has leprosy [mai pake]”
I look down and flee
Shame filling my heart.]

[“Ke Ola o Hawaii” is yet another newspaper that is available on microfilm that ulukau for some reason chose not to digitize. Hopefully this will be corrected soon!]

(Ola o Hawaii, 3/22/1884, p. 3)

Ua loaa mai ia makou kekahi lono...

Ke Ola o Hawaii, Buke I, Helu 11, Aoao 3. Maraki 22, 1884.

2 thoughts on “Kalawao bodies exhumed for study, 1884.

  1. There is a current issue regarding the right to exhume Hawaiian iwi, as we know. As my reading has led me to believe, the integrity of the body, as a whole, and in part, its bones, is regarded as sacred. We recall that David Malo specifically indicated that he wanted his remains to be buried in a place far removed, to pre-empt possible exhumation. It disturbs me that this tenant of their values was, and still is, disrespected. Are we to conclude that the patients on Molokai were deprived of their rights, even posthumously?

  2. addition: Arning was also an “amateur ethnologist” and built “a large ethnographic collection” while he was in Hawaiʻi 1883-1886. Among the many items he took back to Germany with him was the incredible wooden kiʻi of Kihawahine that sits in the Berlin Museum fur Volkerkunde today.

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