Re: Pacific islander's in Lat-am?

Rosa Michaelson (
1 Aug 1995 14:49:22 GMT

I think it is generally recognised that there was little or
no movement from Hawaii to Latin America. The Pacific shelf
is one of the main navigation barriers. The evidence against
the large movement of peoples from Latin America to hawaii
includes the biological evidence of plant introduction and
language dispersal. I think you will find that the peopling
of Latin America via the movements of people from the north,
and ultimately from the land bridge of the Bearing Straits occured
at a much, much earlier time than that of the dispersal of peoples
throughout Polynesia. Interesting evidence concerning the
lack of malarial anti-gens in the northern Polynesians (the latest
dispersal prior to the New Zealand immigration of the 13th century AD)
also refutes the ideas of south american contacts. It seems that
the nearest the polynesians came to america was the Easter islands...
Though artifacts from physically seperated peoples may seem similar
(say feather headresses and bark cloths) and one often sees
similarities in patterns and images (look at bronze castings of
central chinese bells from 2000 BC and Mayan carvings for example)
it is not a good idea to assume that the peoples are related unless
other evidence can be found. Timescales are very important here!
I happened to be re-reading a 1970s text by an american professor
of archaelogy a couple of nights ago. The above is a quick overview of
some of the points raised. Archaelogical work has shown that the
polynesians tended to import specific types of stone axes and
fish-hooks which are also good pointers to movements.
Compare Thor Heyerdhals' experiments with those of the last 15 years
in which the polynesian voyages have been recreated by a group of
enthusiasts - I believe the latest voyage included 5 different island
It seems much harder to show movement on balsa logs from Latin america
to the polynesian groups than to replicate the accepted polynesian
trading and immigration patterns. These patterns are documented by
oral tradition and by the amassing of useful historical and bioligical