Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gold Rush: Hawaiians to California

Peter Young has a fantastic page on Facebook telling a history of Hawaii through words and images. I often share his work with our basketball kids on our educational page (also on Facebook).

Here's a fascinating piece on Hawaiians who migrated to California and intermarried with Native Americans before and during the Gold Rush.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Voice in the Clouds

See the entire documentary HERE.

Made In Taiwan

The DNA evidence has been around for some years now, but it's still fresh for a layman like me. Global. People everywhere, though not all people, are interested in these details, of the proof about their origins. If I had Polynesian blood and science told me my ancestors were from Taiwan, I'd be tripping out.

But Taiwan back then and Taiwan today are two different worlds and cultures. Two different gene pools. These guys, Oscar Kightley and Nathan Rarere go on a special voyage.

Documentary: MADE IN TAIWAN

CrashCourse on Capt. Cook

I'm getting old. I know this because when I think of any five or 10 people from history I'd like to talk with — to interview — Captain Cook would be on that list. Definitely. He saw things nobody in the West had seen. His perspective on different islands and continents would've been fascinating to see and hear. Imagine what he'd think of our world today.

First question: "Captain, is there anything you would've done differently?"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fascination: WW2 era Sakhalin, aka Karafuto

I wondered the other day about a place like Sakhalin, where Siberians/Russians and Japanese/East Asians have a shared history. Not necessarily a harmonious history, but I know so little of it. Maybe some long-time generational fisherman families from Hokkaido consider Sakhalin their adopted home.

But what I found in this piece by Mariya Sevela was intriguing, informative and stirred up my imagination.

Sakhalin: the Japanese Under Soviet Rule
At the time of the Soviet ‘liberation’ of South Sakhalin, it was inhabited by nearly half a million people: Japanese, Koreans (mostly forced labourers), White Russians, Poles and the island’s indigenous peoples – Ainu, Nivkhi and Ul’ta. From 1942, Karafuto had been incorporated into the Japanese home islands (naichi) and was no longer the responsibility of the Ministry of Colonisation (takumushĂ´). It thus gradually became more and more an integral part of Japan itself.

A portion of the population, mainly women, children and the elderly, managed to get off the island during August. For some of them, however, the passage across the Soya Strait was a grim one; three refugee ships were torpedoed by a Soviet submarine near Hokkaido with heavy loss of life. Nevertheless, more than 100,000 did escape, reducing Karafuto’s Japanese population to some 300,000 by the time the war was over, though figures vary according to the source.
There were 300,000 Japanese on that island?? Ainu, I can see. But who are the Nivkhi and Ul'ta? 

Some cool info about Nivkh culture and clothing is at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Asia to Africa

Jared Diamond calls them Austronesians. Previous generations called them Malays. Whatever they were called, they sure got around and around.


Most native Madagascar people today, called Malagasy, can trace their ancestry back to the founding 30 mothers, according to an extensive new DNA study published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B,. Researchers focused on mitochondrial DNA, passed down from mothers to their offspring. Scientists assume some men were with the women.

"I'm afraid this wasn't a settlement by Amazon seafarers!" lead author Murray Cox told Discovery News. "We propose settlement by a very small group of Indonesian women, around 30, but we also presume from the genetics that there were at least some Indonesian men with them. At this stage, we don't know how many."

Cox, a senior lecturer at Massey University's Institute of Molecular BioSciences, and his colleagues analyzed genetic samples from 2745 individuals hailing from 12 Indonesian archipelago island groups. They then compared the results with genetic information from 266 individuals from three Malagasy ethnic groups: Mikea hunter-gatherers, semi-nomadic Vezo fishermen and the dominant Andriana Merina ethnic group.

Many Malagasy carry a gene tied to Indonesia. The DNA detective work indicates just 30 Indonesian women founded the Malagasy population, with a much smaller biological contribution from Africa. The women may have mated with their male Indonesian travel companions, or with men from Africa.
This isn't a strange pill to swallow. Growing up in Hawaii, we learned a lot as children about the currents of the Pacific Ocean, how that affection voyages across Polynesia. What they didn't teach us about Melanesia, Micronesia and any other nesia is stuff like this. Some of it wasn't known, that's for sure. DNA testing? Not when I was a kid.

Friday, July 16, 2010

More Africa to Asia

Any discussion and information about migration from East Africa to India catches my ears, but when the destination stretches as far as Vietnam and the Philippines, even more so.

This video, featuring a speaker I've never heard of, is very interesting. It's the third part of a series.

So, that led me to do a quick search about blacks in Vietnam, and sure enough, some here is research by Runoko Rashidi: the black Vietnamese were known as the Champa, original conquerors of the region. They defeated the Chinese, who referred to them as k'un-lun (a phrase I've come across a few times online) and found their way to the Philippines later, theorizes H. Otley Beyer.

More of Rashidi's work reveals his conviction that the Agta of the Philippines — known more commonly as Negritos and Aeta — are descendants of those early seafarers from Africa by way of South India. (Note that the same South India/Andaman Islands connection is also theorized to be the connection point for the Ainu of Japan, according to DNA comparisons.)

"They were the aborigines of the Philippines, and for a long time had been master of Luzon.  At a time not very far distant, when the Spaniards conquered the country, the Aetas levied a kind of blackmail from the Tagalog villages situated on the banks of the lake of Bay (Laguna de Bay).  At a fixed period they quitted their forests, entered the village, and forced the inhabitants to give them a certain quantity of rice and maize....After the conquest of the Philippines by the Spaniards, the latter took upon themselves the defense of the Tagalogs, and the Aetas, terrified by their firearms, remained in the forests, and did not reappear among the Indians."

—Dr. Pedro A. Gagelonia, a Filipino scholar

Here's an interesting quote from the foreign minister of Papua New Guinea back in 1976: 
"Africa is our motherland.  All of the Black populations which settled in Asia over the hundreds of thousands of years, came undoubtedly from the African continent.  In fact, the entire world was populated from Africa.  Hence, we the Blacks in Asia and the Pacific today descend from proto-African peoples.  We were linked to Africa in the past. We are linked to Africa in the present.  We will be linked to Africa in the future."

—Ben Tanggahma