Pidgin from down in Kalaupapa, 1882.


O Greatest Prize of the Hawaiian Nation, the lightning that flashes over the cliff brows of the islands. Greeting between us.

In the area of Puuhahi, Kalaupapa, Molokai, there were deplorable incidences, and those where these. There was sweet potato being fermented in pots, and this made the dormitory into a place of fighting because of drunkenness, along with the speaking of these words:

“Kokami iu palali kanaka! Iu anu faita, ai am solon, mi kivi iu kut polo, mi inilis man,” while he punched the wall of the building.

These are people who were appointed with positions from the Board of Health [Papa Ola] with the thought that it would be of help. Then this reprehensible thing happened between the locals [kamaaina] and the leprosy patients.

The gray-haired old men of Kalaupapa are surfing these days, and the land is being left fallow in the sun [??? ke hele la a mauakea (?? mahakea) i ka la.]

To the metal type-setting boys goes my aloha.

W. S. Kekuni.

Puhahi, Molokai, Nov. 18, 1882.

[Any ideas what is being said in pidgin? I will post what I think it says tomorrow morning.]

(Kuokoa, 12/9/1882, p. 3)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XXI, Helu 49, Aoao 3. Dekemaba 9, 1882.

7 thoughts on “Pidgin from down in Kalaupapa, 1882.

  1. Aloha – the last line might be missing an “o” – Ke hele la a moauakea i ka la – making a haughty display- like white-feathered chickens – in the sun. (moa uakea – often a reference for Maunaloa/Maunakea when snow-covered)

  2. Go come you bloody kanaka. You wanna fight. I am strong. Me give you good blow, me is invisible man…he kuhi wale no ka,u…

  3. In our Cummings Ohana I have written of many of our ancestors exploits. But these long overdue articles brings to mind an early story of our Patriarch Thomas Booth Cummings who was so inspired by a hapa Hawaiian who served alongside of him in the jury pools of Edwin Miners court in Lahaina (1848-50) that he named his first born son after him. The young man who had such a promising will to help the needy was William Humphreys, who often went by the name Ulawalea as a pen name when writing the countless articles in Hawaiian Nupepa about the injustices of the peninsula. Kalaupapa has received much of the attention, in part from Father Damien. However, there was a second smaller colony at the eastern end of the peninsula at Kalawao. Most patients here were Chinese, and this is where Humphreys concentrated his efforts in the early until his untimely death from a prescribed medicine in the mid 1860’s. He might have been one of the first to use the media of his day to educate those in the islands that were unaware of the seriousness of the conditions. At Kalawao he organized voting blocks, book clubs and taught many years for no expense. He served two terms as Sheriff and was imprisoned twice, once for refusing to arrest patients for victimless crimes and another for butchering beef on a nearby ranch to provide fresh meat for the starving. He like many others, worked under the radar and was but a small foot print in Hawaii’s history, but when passed the patients of Kalawao lost their dearest friend.

    • Mahalo for your added information! I had one question about the name Ulawalea. Do you have documents where that name is used, and was that an alternate name for Uwelealea that Humphreys is usually known by in the newspapers? People who work under the radar are pretty fascinating.

      • Thank you for the correction. I recently had my laptop dive into a serious crash and was writing the name from memory. I am still trying to gather the wide range of info from the genealogy groups such as the Cummings, Kaneakua’s, Naluai’s and Sheldon sites in which I have posted. What made this man important to us is that we recently obtained genealogy info on Thomas Booth Cummings dating to 1630. Prior to this we had no concrete knowledge of his life before arriving in Lahaina in 1844. Long story short, it answered through DNA and Family Name likeness all the questions we had except for one. Where did the first 2 names in son William Humphreys Cummings come from. Through researching the Polynesian newspapers I made the correlation between the 2 men serving quite regularly as foreign jurors together Then came upon an article about Humphries who was born in east Maui which meant he had probably moved in the same circles around Makawao as Judge Miner, obviously TB Cummings, JS Green, and William A. McLane and came to believe the name had to have come from him. Will retrace the article. Been busy with school. But will post it when I find it, Could have been on this site but was 8 months ago and I had posted a lot of stories in 2014. Apologize for the name mistake. I just wanted to add to the incredible posts that I read.

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