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Saving the Easter Island Heritage
christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2004-02-19 7:05 pm   Permalink

Good point, Tiki Bars, and thank you for using the original name of Easter Island, Te Pito o Te.

There seems to be a general consensus of approximately just over 100 native Rapa Nui by approximately 1990, which raises ineresting geneology questions. [111 is the number in the site referenced by Polypop].

However, the LA Times article suggests that the original traditional last names of the 39 original clans remain, albeit threatened by intermarriage, etc., which suggests that possibly one can still draw a link to the original descendants of Hotu Matu'a.

True, Jo Anne van Tilburg, her husband and others have discredited Thor Heyerdahl's (RIP) theory that Easter Island was settled from South America [and I suppose it makes a better story to do moving the moai tests using descendants of the original moai carvers].

You, again, raise a most interesting footnote that the Kon-Tiki cruise may have provided the inspiration for Polynesean Pop trend.

I suppose I just like to think that the lineage has not been entirely estiguished, sort of like the question of what is a true Hawaiian.


 
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tikibars
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Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2004-02-20 10:31 am   Permalink

In the late 18th century, the island was lambasted with the moai-toppling tribal wars, slave raids, and smallpox all back-to-back. It was said by a missionary at the time that the total population of the island at the time was 110. He included himself in the census for a total of 111. According to Heyerdahl in his 1985 tome Easter Island The Mystery Solved (his final word on the subject and an amazing book that states his case very very convincingly), in the 1980s there was only one living original "long ear" descendant left alive.

According to moast theories, the long ears, who built the moai and arrived on the island first, were defeated by the short-ears, who arrived later and toppled the moai, and from whom just about all of the native Rapa Nui living today are escended.

To digress further... 'long ears' and 'short ears' may have been a mistranslation of the word 'eepe' vs 'epe', which would make 'long ears' translate as 'slender people' in reality, and 'short ears' into 'stocky people'. That one is in debate too.

Anyway, if (according to Heyerdahl) there was only one 'long ear' alive in the 1980s, then when he goes, that's the end of Hotu Matua's lineage (supposedly on the island for 57 generations).

_________________
- James T.
My new book is "Destination: Cocktails": www.destinationcocktails.com.
Get "Big Stone Head: Easter Island and Pop Culture" at: www.bigstonehead.com.
See www.tydirium.net for Tiki Road Trip, global travelogues, and more!


 
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christiki295
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Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2004-02-24 12:39 am   Permalink

Tikibars, excellent breakdown.

Were all of the short ears (or long ears) burned in a fire during the calamity that befell Te Pito o te Henua where one of the warring groups was trapped between a fire ravine and was killed in battle (as a result of a girlfriend who betrayed her lineage for love?)

If so, does that mean that Heyerdahl chronicled the last long-ear descendent and all of the short ears perished?

What do you make of the 39 similar last names still remaining?


 
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tikibars
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Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2004-02-24 3:32 pm   Permalink

The so-called Batlle of Poike Ditch has been completely debunked - no battle occurred and no one was roasted alive.

In spite of what I posted above or elsewhere, the most up-to-the-minute theories actually say there weren't two tribes at all: there were two CLASSES, same genetics and lineage (all from Hotu Matua) and that the thin people overthrew the corpulent people, but they were all of the same race and, if one were to go back 30-40 generations, all realted.

Tune in again in six more months when the anthropologists and archaeologists have ANOTHER reversal on this issue...


_________________
- James T.
My new book is "Destination: Cocktails": www.destinationcocktails.com.
Get "Big Stone Head: Easter Island and Pop Culture" at: www.bigstonehead.com.
See www.tydirium.net for Tiki Road Trip, global travelogues, and more!


 
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christiki295
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Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2013-12-10 08:39 am   Permalink

NPR posted a new theory that Rapa Nui ate rats to survive:

As Jared Diamond tells it in his best-selling book, Collapse, Easter Island is the "clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by overexploiting its own resources." Once tree clearing started, it didn't stop until the whole forest was gone. Diamond called this self-destructive behavior "ecocide" and warned that Easter Island's fate could one day be our own.

When Captain James Cook visited there in 1774, his crew counted roughly 700 islanders (from an earlier population of thousands), living marginal lives, their canoes reduced to patched fragments of driftwood.

And that has become the lesson of Easter Island that we don't dare abuse the plants and animals around us, because if we do, we will, all of us, go down together.

Easter Island Statues
Robert Krulwich/NPR
And yet, puzzlingly, these same people had managed to carve enormous statues almost a thousand of them, with giant, hollow-eyed, gaunt faces, some weighing 75 tons. The statues faced not outward, not to the sea, but inward, toward the now empty, denuded landscape. When Captain Cook saw them, many of these "moai" had been toppled and lay face down, in abject defeat.

OK, that's the story we all know, the Collapse story. The new one is very different.

A Story Of Success?

It comes from two anthropologists, Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo, from the University of Hawaii. They say, "Rather than a case of abject failure," what happened to the people on Easter Island "is an unlikely story of success."

Success? How could anyone call what happened on Easter Island a "success?"

Well, I've taken a look at their book, The Statues That Walked, and oddly enough they've got a case, although I'll say in advance what they call "success" strikes me as just as scary maybe scarier.

Here's their argument: Professors Hunt and Lipo say fossil hunters and paleobotanists have found no hard evidence that the first Polynesian settlers set fire to the forest to clear land what's called "large scale prehistoric farming." The trees did die, no question. But instead of fire, Hunt and Lipo blame rats.

Rat next to fallen trees
Robert Krulwich/NPR
Polynesian rats (Rattus exulans) stowed away on those canoes, Hunt and Lipo say, and once they landed, with no enemies and lots of palm roots to eat, they went on a binge, eating and destroying tree after tree, and multiplying at a furious rate. As a reviewer in The Wall Street Journal reported,

In laboratory settings, Polynesian rat populations can double in 47 days. Throw a breeding pair into an island with no predators and abundant food and arithmetic suggests the result ... If the animals multiplied as they did in Hawaii, the authors calculate, [Easter Island] would quickly have housed between two and three million. Among the favorite food sources of R. exulans are tree seeds and tree sprouts. Humans surely cleared some of the forest, but the real damage would have come from the rats that prevented new growth.
As the trees went, so did 20 other forest plants, six land birds and several sea birds. So there was definitely less choice in food, a much narrower diet, and yet people continued to live on Easter Island, and food, it seems, was not their big problem.

Rat Meat, Anybody?

For one thing, they could eat rats. As J.B. MacKinnon reports in his new book, The Once and Future World, archeologists examined ancient garbage heaps on Easter Island looking for discarded bones and found "that 60 percent of the bones came from introduced rats."

So they'd found a meat substitute.

Man with rat on a plate
Robert Krulwich/NPR
What's more, though the island hadn't much water and its soil wasn't rich, the islanders took stones, broke them into bits, and scattered them onto open fields creating an uneven surface. When wind blew in off the sea, the bumpy rocks produced more turbulent airflow, "releasing mineral nutrients in the rock," J.B. MacKinnon says, which gave the soil just enough of a nutrient boost to support basic vegetables. One tenth of the island had these scattered rock "gardens," and they produced enough food, "to sustain a population density similar to places like Oklahoma, Colorado, Sweden and New Zealand today."

According to MacKinnon, scientists say that Easter Island skeletons from that time show "less malnutrition than people in Europe." When a Dutch explorer, Jacob Roggevin, happened by in 1722, he wrote that islanders didn't ask for food. They wanted European hats instead. And, of course, starving folks typically don't have the time or energy to carve and shove 70-ton statues around their island.

A 'Success' Story?

Why is this a success story?

Because, say the Hawaiian anthropologists, clans and families on Easter Island didn't fall apart. It's true, the island became desolate, emptier. The ecosystem was severely compromised. And yet, say the anthropologists, Easter Islanders didn't disappear. They adjusted. They had no lumber to build canoes to go deep-sea fishing. They had fewer birds to hunt. They didn't have coconuts. But they kept going on rat meat and small helpings of vegetables. They made do.

One niggling question: If everybody was eating enough, why did the population decline? Probably, the professors say, from sexually transmitted diseases after Europeans came visiting.

OK, maybe there was no "ecocide." But is this good news? Should we celebrate?

I wonder. What we have here are two scenarios ostensibly about Easter Island's past, but really about what might be our planet's future. The first scenario an ecological collapse nobody wants that. But let's think about this new alternative where humans degrade their environment but somehow "muddle through." Is that better? In some ways, I think this "success" story is just as scary.

The Danger Of 'Success'

What if the planet's ecosystem, as J.B. MacKinnon puts it, "is reduced to a ruin, yet its people endure, worshipping their gods and coveting status objects while surviving on some futuristic equivalent of the Easter Islanders' rat meat and rock gardens?"

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/12/09/249728994/what-happened-on-easter-island-a-new-even-scarier-scenario?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprfacebook&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook


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tikiskip
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Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 2848
Posted: 2013-12-10 09:57 am   Permalink

"One niggling question: If everybody was eating enough, why did the population decline? Probably, the professors say, from sexually transmitted diseases after Europeans came visiting."


Nope it was FACEBOOK! They all went to facebook.



 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2013-12-10 1:34 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-12-10 09:57, tikiskip wrote:
"One niggling question: If everybody was eating enough, why did the population decline? Probably, the professors say, from sexually transmitted diseases after Europeans came visiting."




This questions leads to the Pulitzer prize winning book Prof. Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs & Steel."



[ This Message was edited by: christiki295 2013-12-10 13:36 ]


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2014-02-10 08:15 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-02-24 15:32, tikibars wrote:
The so-called Batlle of Poike Ditch has been completely debunked - no battle occurred and no one was roasted alive.

In spite of what I posted above or elsewhere, the most up-to-the-minute theories actually say there weren't two tribes at all: there were two CLASSES, same genetics and lineage (all from Hotu Matua) and that the thin people overthrew the corpulent people, but they were all of the same race and, if one were to go back 30-40 generations, all realted.

Tune in again in six more months when the anthropologists and archaeologists have ANOTHER reversal on this issue...




This documentary, by Horizon, affirms the Poike Dith theory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IrfMbLGyfo


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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2014-03-01 11:22 pm   Permalink

In his book "Collapse," Dr. Jared Diamond describes deforestation as resulting from the following causes:
1. firewood
2. cremation
3. cleared for agriculture/gardens
4. canoes
5. transporting Moai
6. eaten by rats.


 
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