Subject: Dumbing down Polynesia

   Dumbing down Polynesia, or the betrayal of history.
   According to the conventional view, most of Polynesia was settled
   during the last 2000 years by Polynesian-speakers, who were arriving
   to virgin uninhabited islands. Only one wave of human settlement is
   allowed. Polynesians were arriving to those uninhabited islands, and
   gradually developing their new and unique island civilisations in a
   variety of ways.
   The prevailing view is Isolationist, since those first explorers are
   often believed to have lost their navigational skills quickly, and to
   have lost touch with their cousins on other islands. So the prevailing
   view is biased towards "local development". And it is also obviously
   biased towards a rather simplistic gradualist and linear cultural
   The prevailing view is islanders pottering about on their little
   isolated islands -- all peace and quiet -- not bothered by any scary
   intruders from that big and bad outside world, and not bothering
   anyone in turn, just minding their own business and exercising their
   "inventiveness" to develop all kinds of wonderful things "locally".
   Sounds somehow just like an ideal mirror-image of a sheltered academic
   scholar on his/her own little overspecialised turf, in other words...
   (But any such resemblance of these two images may be purely
   coincidental, of course.) In any case, it is well known that, to
   complete the parallel with the islanders, any outside intruders to
   such private little academic idylls are welcome like the plague, also,
   and to be resisted accordingly.
   The biggest enemy to be resisted in all this is the American Indian,
   of course. Any cultural influence from America is the highest form of
   heresy in Polynesian anthropology. So the scholars have built
   themselves a very sturdy Berlin Wall between Polynesia and America,
   and they have mounted the defensive towers fully armed to resist any
   possible invaders. (One invader, the sweet potato [kumara], had
   slipped past the Wall somehow, so the scholars pretend that he's just
   an isolated freak unrelated to anything else, and to be treated
   But the problem is that the archaeological, genetic, linguistic, and
   ethnological evidence on the ground fits very poorly with this idyllic
   picture. The problem is that archaeology indicates a number of rather
   abrupt rises and falls of civilisation (e.g. three distinct cultural
   periods on Rapanui). Genetically, the islanders appear to be rather
   mixed, and their physical appearance shows great variability.
   Linguistically, there are clear traces of a non-Polynesian tongue in
   eastern Polynesia (see below). Native historical traditions on various
   islands are telling the stories that often fly in the face of the
   academic dogma (guess who usually wins in such confrontations?).
   When first European travellers started to arrive to Polynesia towards
   1600, but especially after 1700, they immediately observed on many
   Polynesian islands huge stoneworks that usually laid abandoned and in
   ruins, apparently for a very long time already. Sometimes even whole
   isolated islands with impressive stone structures and artefacts were
   found entirely depopulated and long-abandoned (Necker Island near
   Hawaii, Malden Island near the Marquesas, etc.).
   The islanders in the area usually told European visitors that those
   ancient constructions were built in the earliest era of their islands'
   history, and that they knew very little about them. Often they told
   the Europeans that they were built by another people, the Menehune,
   unrelated to the Polynesians. They were agricultural peoples, and some
   of their ancient crops (American cotton, pineapples, tomatoes, etc.)
   were still growing in the wild state, near their former habitations,
   long abandoned by the present inhabitants, if any.
   The true story of Polynesia appears to be the story of a large
   geographical area where various population groups were arriving from
   different directions, and where civilisations were repeatedly rising
   and falling. Clearly there were many outside invasions and many brutal
   wars. There had been sophisticated and flowering ancient civilisations
   that came to an abrupt end. Just like in the rest of the world, in
   other words...
   You will find no trace of any of that in the conventional version of
   Polynesian history that is being taught in our Universities. Because
   this is the dumbed-down version. The scholars don't want to hear
   anything different. Private convenience and academic politics seem to
   represent their guiding heuristic. I call this the betrayal of the
   historical method by the whole profession.
   Those mysterious ancient peoples who lived and laboured on those
   islands, who built those impressive constructions, who planted those
   "aberrant"  crops, and who then passed into the night, probably not so
   quietly, still remain officially unknown and nameless (although some
   traces of their heritage can be discerned here and there). They are
   still wandering ghosts -- they've been erased from history. Nobody
   cares about them anymore, certainly not the Scholars.
   Some good Necker Island info: 
   A little about Malden Island (the place that was actually nuked some
   time in the 50s by the British!): 
   And here's some of that "aberrant non-Polynesian vocabulary" as given
   by Langdon, in his LOST CARAVEL. For full context, see my old post:
   forbidden linguistics
   Author:  Yuri Kuchinsky
   Date:  1999/02/01
   Forum:  sci.archaeology
   ashes  tapurena
   bone  keinga
   canoe  aveke
   cloud  paku
   to count kamoke
   dark  ruki
   dog  ngaeke
   egg  touo
   fat  paneke
   fault  veke
   finger  mane-manea
   fire  neki, korure, rotika
   fish  paru
   fishhook tate
   to follow utari
   forest  puka
   fruit  teke
   girl  manania
   good  viru
   great  toreu
   head  pepenu
   heart  upoupo
   husband  kaifa
   kidney  pouru
   ladder  kega
   large  tuetue
   little  korereka
   liver  kerikeri
   man  hakoi
   moon  kavake
   mud  niganiga
   oil  more
   rain  toiti
   road  keka
   salt  toau
   sea  takarari
   to see  hipa
   slave  titi
   to sleep piko
   smoke  kaihora
   son  makaro
   spirit  mahoi, horohoro
   stone  konao
   stupid  kama
   sweat  togari
   tongue  maveu
   tree  mohoki
   water  komo
   wind  rohaki
   woman  erire, morire
   Yuri Kuchinsky -=- Toronto -=-

   A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely
   rearranging their prejudices -=O=- William James

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