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Race,Multiculturalism , and Geography in Barack Obama's Dreams from my father - Essay Example

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Race,Multiculturalism , and Geography in Barack Obama's Dreams from my father

Some of the best sources for anthropological studies on Hawaii’s pre-colonial history, particularly in regard to their Polynesian ancestors, are the Hawaiian chants, legends, mele or vocal music, which are handed down from the ancient generation to next. (McDermott, Wen-Shing and Maretzki 5) Along with other artifacts, these materials tell a story of Polynesian ancestors journeying from Tahiti to Hawaii. Indeed, specific anthropological findings show that settlers from the Marquesas and Tahiti started arriving in Hawaii from 500-1000 AD. The new settlers colonized the new territory and brought with them pigs, dogs, taro root and other crop plants. The discovery of Hawaii of these settlers may have been an accident at first but subsequent Tahitians migrations showed a different pattern. Vast waves of Tahitians, with their advanced seafaring abilities, migrated to Hawaii in 1450, perhaps encouraged by those who have journeyed back and forth between Polynesia and Hwaii carrying with them tales of the new found land. These migrations enlarged Hawaii’s population to a peak of 250,000. (Friary and Bendure 24) The Polynesian voyages eventually ceased but the culture flourished in Hawaii and the settlement was able develop a society that is both highly unique and isolated from outside influence.
The emergent social structure in pre-colonial Hawaii was characterized by a hierarchal system reminiscent of the medieval Europe with its classes of ruler, priest, knight, and commoner. When Captain James Cook, for instance, stumbled upon the civilization, he found that Hawaiian society was then consisted of the ali’I (ruling class), the kahuna (priests or experts), the maka’ainana (commoners), and the kauwa (slaves). Particularly, the anciet kapu system demonstrated a highly rigid but advanced Hawaiian society as it provided a system of restriction and separation of roles. The kapu had many benefits for the natives: roles were never confused and ...Show more


Observers would often marvel at the Hawaiian value of Aloha, a unique tradition that demonstrates multiculturalism at its best. This is not without reason because in…
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