The roots of Hawaiian culture stretch south to older areas of Polynesia and beyond to the islands of the Western Pacific and the edges of Asia. The first settlers to Hawai`i brought with them the more ancient Polynesian traditions and lifestyles. Over generations, they adapted their beliefs and ways of living to accommodate their new island home, adding new gods like Pele to their pantheon and honing new skills such as surfing. As a distinct Hawaiian culture took shape, it grew in response to Oahu's forests and coral reefs, Molokai's shallow offshore waters, Kauai's steep valleys, Maui's high summit and Hawai`i Island's ever-changing volcanic lands.
Differences between Hawai`i and the larger Polynesian family grew more pronounced once the era of transpacific migrations ended. In many artistic endeavors - kapa making, featherwork, hula - Hawaiians surpassed the rest of their cousins in skill and proficiency. A highly structured and sophisticated culture blossomed in the Islands' benign climate and lush abundance. Over time, Hawaiian society grew as distinct as Hawaii's endemic plant and animal communities, left for eons to evolve in isolation. (http://www.hawaiihistory.org/index.cfm?CategoryID=305)
Maternal mitrochondrial DNA evidence indicates that the ancient Polynesians, including the Hawaiians, are genetically linked to indigenous people of Southeast Asia. This is supported by both by archeological and linguistic evidence. Speakers of Austronesian languages spread into the western islands of Micronesia and then Melanesia between 3000 and 1500 BC. The historic path of the ancient Polynesians can be followed with a large degree of certainty through the archeological record they left behind. A distinct culture appeared c. 1500 BC in Northwest Melanesia, Known as the Lapita, this culture stands out in the archeological record with its large permanent villages with beach terraces located along the coasts. They also developed pottery in a wide variety of shapes and patterns. (http://www.mythichawaii.com/hawaiian-history-culture.htm).
© 2014 Selah International. All Rights Reserved.