Easter Island, Those Powerful Ancestors

Ancient Origins IRAQ Tour

Saturday May 22, 2021 1:00pm EST
Georges Fery
Easter Island, Those Powerful Ancestors

The history of Easter Island is a dramatic example of the clash between faith and

demographics. Throughout humankind’s history, communities mitigated or, as in our case, worsened their environment, and destroyed their food chain. On a large landmass people move with the seasons, weather conditions or away from neighbors’ hostility. Inversely, island migrations are dependent on available land and food collection zones, extended offshore. Observations that may apply to Easter Island, but are insufficient to answer its riddle. The island’s name in the local language, the Rapanui, is Rapa Nui.  

Ancient nonliterate cultures recorded their histories as myths and folklore, while their beliefs were dependent on what was perceived as an “Otherworld” of ancestors and “mind-made” deities. This spiritual perception was inherited from the Lapita trailblazers of the Pacific and successive cultures, thousands of years in the past. The mythological past traditionally short on facts, leaves many grey areas in the Rapa Nui ethnological record. The origin of the historical group that settled on the island, points to Mangareva in the Tuamotu archipelago. The easternmost points of human settlement in the Pacific island triangle, however, will be Hawaii and Rapa Nui (900 AD) and New Zealand (1200 AD).

 In Rapa Nui, climate, animal migrations from birds to fish, food crops’ success or failure, water supply and other life sustaining needs, were believed to be the exclusive dominion of Make-make. The paramount god was the sole master of mana’s powers, granted or withheld at will to Rapa Nui’s ancestors who, in turn, granted mana to their living family and communities’ heads.


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