"Native" history thru western eyes

pvr/jkr (julieb@lava.net)
14 Oct 1996 08:59:42 GMT

Aloha from Hawaii,
I've been reading the very interesting debate between Marshall Sahlins and
Gananath Obeyeskere about Capt. James Cook's discovery of the Hawaiian
Sahins maintains that the Hawaiians saw Cook as the god Lono, and Obeyeskere
suggests a more pragmatic view of the Hawaiian's rationality in their
dealings with Cook...which led to Cook's premature demise at Kealakekua Bay.
(The village of Ka`awaloa actually.)
We know from Hawaiian oral tradition that there was inter-Pacfic contact up
until around 1100-1200. (Paao bring the Luakini traditon from Samoa;
accounts in Fornander of foreigners around this time.)
Why does this inter-Pacific travel seem to end at this time? Certainly the
Hawaiians had all the parts and peices to construct ships like the
Hoku`le`a. (And probably did.)Was it because there was no economic basis for
trade with other areas of Polynesia? It seems unreasonable to think that a
culture with such a strong oral tradition would have forgotten the "map",
(so to speak).
Any ideas?