I wish I could have seen everyone at the Storytime Kick-off this morning. However, I understand time and distance restraints. In the interest of including everyone however I will post the story I wrote for the storytime. Easter Island is a very interesting place, and worth learning more about. Google it with the kids.
This island has many names. Some call our home Easter island or Isla de Pascua. It is the San Carlos island to James Cook. But we have our own names. My people are the Rapa Nui. When my ancestors landed on this island it seemed imbued with magic. Covered with beautiful trees, volcanic mountains jutted from the forests. My people had traveled from the west. Voyaging from distant islands, they sought peace.
They were led by the great king Hota Matua, and his counselor the wise chief priest of the sun god Kon-Tiki. They brought with them a written language, the only one of it’s kind in all the islands, we call it RongoRongo. They sailed the seas for months on end. It is said that they were almost dead of hunger and thirst when they at last arrived on the small triangular island. Mother used to say that the ancestors bodies rocked for months after they landed because they were so used to the feel of the waves bumping their rafts. As Hota Matua first opened his eyes on the island he thought he had walked into the afterlife because the beauty of the island was so immense. Kon-Tiki then named it, “Te Pito O Te Henua” (Navel of The World). It was an isolated place, the ocean stretched in all directions. But after being at sea for months they thanked the ancestors that they were finally on dry ground.
Later, Hota Matua, and the priest Kon-Tiki had a dispute and separated into two different tribes. Kon-Tiki moved to the opposite side of the island. The tribes lived peaceably, . . . until the leaders died. The ancestors built the first Moai after the great Hota Matua died. His wives and children mourned greatly. They feared for the safety of their tribe, and built a great monument of Hota Matua to protect them. The first Moai was made of clay. It was small compared to the ones that came later. They cut down trees to transport it. The head of Hota Matua watched over his people, he protected them. Kon Tiki’s tribe also began to build Moai.
Over the centuries that followed the people built larger and larger Moai for the dead kings, all resembling the first. Eventually, they began carving them from the great volcano, Rano Raraku instead of crafting them out of clay. As more trees fell, more people were born on the island. The trees were used to build houses, and fires, but mostly to transport the Moai. Momma said that it was many centuries later when they chopped down the last huge tree. She said they were building the great Moai then. Statues that arched into the sky, almost to the clouds. There were thousands of people on the island then, too many for the island to feed. People became hungry, and scared when food ran out. They stopped building the Moai, they lost their faith in them. There were many battles, and most Moai were toppled and destroyed.
Later white faced explorers and missionaries came to the island, bringing new ways, and diseases. They destroyed most of our written records. Later archaeologists came and restored the Moai as they were meant to be. Most of our history is destroyed, but the Moai remain. I feel like they still watch and protect us. They remind us of our past. They warn us against greed. Today we do not build Moai, we build stories. Great stories of the past, to warn of the future.