Genealogy, Health, and the Native Hawai’ians

I want to talk to you about “Search­ing for Emma.” It was one of the most affect­ing of a group of poignant films pre­sent­ed at “A Cel­e­bra­tion of Fam­i­ly His­to­ry” on 29 April pre­sent­ed by Fam­il­y­Search at the LDS Con­fer­ence Cen­ter in hon­or of the 2010 Nation­al Genealog­i­cal Soci­ety con­fer­ence.

The film depicts the sto­ry of Emma Lyons Waimau, exiled at the age of 24 to Kalau­pa­pa, what was then called the colony for lep­ers (per­sons with Hansen’s Dis­ease) on the island of Moloka’i. There, she met and mar­ried her hus­band and bore six chil­dren none of whom she would be able to keep, accord­ing to the laws of the day.

Fam­i­ly his­to­ry is sim­ply the sto­ry of lives as they are lived, with hap­pi­ness and tragedy deliv­ered as they will be, with­out a sched­ule or agen­da. What moves is how peo­ple react to the lives they live.

The dev­as­ta­tion of the Hawai’ian peo­ple, the stigma­ti­za­tion of peo­ple with a dis­ease, and the whole his­to­ry of health care, inform this sto­ry of Emma Lyons Waimau and infuse it with mean­ing. Each aspect of the nar­ra­tive adds the weight of his­to­ry to a tale that might oth­er­wise be sim­ply a per­son­al one of a woman curi­ous to know about her great grandmother’s strug­gles.

Search­ing for Emma” (Adobe Flash-based video)

2 thoughts on “Genealogy, Health, and the Native Hawai’ians

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for the post but I would like to know that why it is only about Hawai’ian peo­ple. I can see and feel the same thing to the oth­er coun­tries peo­ple at the same time. I think Hawai’ian peo­ple is get­ting pri­or­i­ty here!

    Thanks
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