HW and poet McCullough owe it to the reader to stop perpetuating the myth that leprosy patients were thrown “from the schooner” and “using hands without fingers . . . dog-paddling in” to land, as “that ocean nearly killed him” (“First Place Damien’s Tears,” Dec. 26).
[T]he source was one inch away, under Aunty Alice’s lovely photo [reprinted from] the UH Press’s Kalaupapa. Bernard Punikaia set it down for the record, that no one was ever thrown into the sea–not one.
As one of my patients said quietly to me once, after being questioned by a visitor, “They come here, and go back home, and write about us and get rich, because of us. And here we stay.”
PS. Also for the record: New Hope Church, whose beautiful Kalaupapa film aired on KHON, listened to this objection [and is] going to re-film their opening footage of this explicit sea sequence.
Ruth Freedman, RN The Kalaupapa Connection