[Marxism] Fwd: Those Who Came Before Us » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jan 1 15:37:04 MST 2015


The Achievements of Native Hawai'ians
Those Who Came Before Us
by MICHAEL D. YATES

When we were considering a move to Hawai’i, I looked at a map and was 
surprised to see how isolated these islands are, a few specks in the 
middle of the Pacific Ocean. I wondered what they were like and how 
humans came to find such remote lands. Once we arrived on the Big 
Island, we began to explore, haphazardly at first and then with more 
purpose, and to read as much as we could about what we were seeing.

There are innumerable signs of the presence of the original inhabitants. 
Stone structures, some well-preserved and others just remnants of walls, 
dwellings, and burial sites, are everywhere. We have seen thousands of 
petroglyphs, pecked laboriously into the lava. Along the western coast, 
we have marveled at large spring-fed fish ponds, which the Hawai’ians 
connected to the sea in such a way that small fish could get into them 
but as they grew larger could not escape. Toward the mountains we have 
seen faint traces of what were terraced fields on which farmers grew 
sweet potatoes and taro.

The descendants of those who discovered Hawai’i have been badly treated. 
When the Europeans and Americans arrived, first Captain James Cook in 
1778 and then waves of businessmen and missionaries, multitudes 
succumbed to disease, so devastated within a few decades that, despite 
the best efforts of the kings and chiefs, they were unable to prevent 
the theft of their lands, the destruction of their fields, and the 
exploitation of their fertile soils for the production of sugar and 
pineapples. There are other reasons, of course, for what happened—the 
superior armaments of the Europeans and Americans, naïve collaborations 
between Hawai’ian royalty and foreigners. However, the precipitous 
decline in the native population, similar to that in Latin America, is 
so often neglected by historians that it deserves to be placed front and 
center as a causal factor.

full: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/01/those-who-came-before-us/



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