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 evolution. 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 accordingly.) 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: http://tribalsite.com/articles/necker.htm A little about Malden Island (the place that was actually nuked some time in the 50s by the British!): http://iserver.saddleback.cc.ca.us/div/mse/day20.html 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 -=- http://www.globalserve.net/~yuku A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices -=O=- William JamesClick here to go one level up in the directory.