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Te Pito Te Henua, Or Easter Island

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Author Topic: Te Pito Te Henua, Or Easter Island  (Read 1596 times)
Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #90 on: February 27, 2010, 01:10:54 pm »

Kava is not grown upon the island and the drink made from the kava-root, common throughout the South Sea, is not known to these people. The diminution of the inhabitants can not be ascribed to the introduction of intoxicating drinks, or indeed any of the factors usually advanced in such cases. The decadence was no doubt accelerated by the introduction of the small-pox, and by the deportation of large numbers, but it is earnestly hoped that the small remnant of the people will increase and multiply under the comforts and protection acquired front contact with civilization.
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #91 on: February 27, 2010, 01:11:33 pm »

BRUTAL TREATMENT OF NATIVES BY EARLY VOYAGERS.
The brutal treatment that the islanders received from the hands of their early visitors was not calculated to impress them favorably. Usually the strangers were met upon their arrival by a crowd of noisy, restless, impetuous people, as curious as children and as peaceable and friendly with all their boisterousness. The greatest fault they committed was theft, and in return numbers were shot down and innocent persons murdered. Roggeveen plainly states that his boats approached the island well armed and in great fear of the natives. The men were formed in line of battle as they disembarked, and before all were landed, Some one in the rear fired a shot, and immediately a fusilade
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #92 on: February 27, 2010, 01:12:47 pm »

began by these cowardly ruffians upon the unfortunate islanders, ten or twelve of whom were killed outright and as many were wounded. The admiral quietly shifts the responsibility for this outrage upon the shoulders of the second mate of the Thienhoven, who offers as an excuse that some of the natives were observed to take up stones and make threatening gestures. As soon as the astonishment and terror of the inhabitants had subsided, they sued for mercy, and everything they possessed in the way of fruits and vegetables, poultry, etc., was procured and laid as a peace offering at
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #93 on: February 27, 2010, 01:12:59 pm »

the feet of the Dutchman. Captain Cook afterwards received the most friendly reception possible from the same people, but he observed their great dread of fire-arms, the deadly effects of which were thoroughly understood. The landing party conducted a brisk trade, and were highly amused to witness the small thefts committed upon one another in order to obtain articles for barter, yet Lieutenant Edgecomb did not hesitate to immediately shoot with his musket a poor unfortunate who picked up a little bag of botanical specimens.
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #94 on: February 27, 2010, 01:13:21 pm »

Captain Beechey was received with friendly demonstrations and his boats, sent on shore for supplies, obtained bananas, yams, potatoes, sugar-cane, nets, etc., in trade, and some were thrown into the boats, leaving the strangers to make what return they chose. His journal dwells at great length upon the thieving propensity of the natives. His boats were surrounded by native swimmers, who trade off with small articles that came within reach of them, and among them were women who were not the actual plunderers, but who procured the opportunity for others by engrossing the attention of the seamen.

p. 465
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« Reply #95 on: February 27, 2010, 01:13:30 pm »

To reach the landing-place the boats had to pass a small isolated rock upon which many persons had congregated, and who sang a song of welcome, accompanied by gestures showing that the visit was acceptable. On shore the party was surrounded by a crowd clamorous to obtain something from the strangers, the few presents offered were accepted, and then everything that came handy appropriated in the most open manner. This led to a scuffle, in which sticks and stones were freely used, resulting in a fight in which the native chief was shot and killed. The punishment of the natives, according to European ideas, was both cruel, and unnecessary. La Pérouse judged the same crimes more leniently, and did not feel justified in committing murder to avenge petty thefts. The outrages perpetrated upon the defenseless people by Captain Rugg, of the Friend, and other freebooters, including the Peruvian slavers, require no comment.
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #96 on: February 27, 2010, 01:14:13 pm »

THIEVING.

The natives did not attach any moral delinquency to the practice of thieving. They had a god of thieving, and successful operations were believed to be accomplished under his patronage, and only detected when not sanctioned by that spirit. The detected thief was made to suffer for his crime by an established system of retaliation peculiar to themselves, but the individual never lost caste or the respect of his friends. Thieves caught in the act might be beaten, knocked about, and the aggressor was permitted to offer no resistance in the efforts to escape, although he might be the largest and most powerful. Before the retaliation could be enforced, the theft had to be proven and fixed
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #97 on: February 27, 2010, 01:14:31 pm »

beyond question, then the plundered individual was at liberty to recover the value of the loss from any property available belonging to the robber, and in the event of the value not being recovered, articles of value could be destroyed to equalize the amount. Retaliation for theft could be enforced by the weak and feeble against the strong and powerful, and, any resistance would call to their aid the entire community.
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« Reply #98 on: February 27, 2010, 01:14:47 pm »

The rite of circumcision, so common throughout Polynesia, is unknown here, and their language contains no equivalent word for it. At the present time, all the natives have professed Christianity, and the ancient customs have been replaced by the ceremonies of the church to a great extent, but since the departure of the missionaries there has been a tendency to return to the old ideas, and many superstitions and practices are mingled with their religion. The marriage ceremony is performed by the acting priest in
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #99 on: February 27, 2010, 01:14:58 pm »

the church, but the practice is permitted with children who have not reached the age of puberty, and the betrothal is conducted by parents, the relations of the female paying a stipulated amount, generally in food to be consumed by the friends at the feast given to celebrate the event. It, is not certain that polygamy ever existed, but an ancient custom permitted the husband to sell or lease his wife to another for a stated term. On account of the disproportion in the number of the sexes, celibacy was a matter of necessity, and

p. 466
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #100 on: February 27, 2010, 01:15:10 pm »

probably originated this custom. Love of family is a strong trait in their character; children are fondly cared for, and the desire for offspring is general.
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #101 on: February 27, 2010, 01:15:38 pm »

TATTOOING.
Tattooing is not practiced at the present time, none being observed upon children and young persons. But all those advanced in life are ornamented on all parts of the body. Unlike the Samoans and other islanders, where a standard pattern is adhered to, the designs were only limited by the fancy and ability of the artist. Both sexes were tattooed (Figs. 4, a and b), but the women to a greater extent and with more elaborate designs than the men. The material used in tattooing is obtained by burning the leaf of an indigenous plant called "ti" which is, moistened with the juice of a berry called "poporo." A tattoo comb is made of bone or fish bones fastened to a stick, which is held in position and struck with a sharp blow.
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #102 on: February 27, 2010, 01:16:33 pm »



FIG. 4, a.
TATTOOING ON NATIVE WOMAN (FRONT VIEW).
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #103 on: February 27, 2010, 01:17:07 pm »



FIG. 4, b.
TATTOOING ON NATIVE WOMAN (BACK VIEW).
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #104 on: February 27, 2010, 01:17:17 pm »

The highest ornamentation was as follows: A narrow band around the upper part of the forehead, at the edge of the roots of hair, with little circles extending down upon the forehead and joined to the band

p. 467
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