At 08:15 PM 5/13/00 +1000, Daryl Adair wrote:
>Why did the European myth of a people in New Zealand before the Maori
>arise? And why has it persisted despite clear contrary evidence?
The whole idea of Celts in ancient New Zealand is obviously batty, but
wasn't there ever anybody else on those islands in times past -- other
Polynesians, for example? I could be wrong but I once read that the Maori
have only been in New Zealand since c. 1000 AD -- it would be odd if nobody
else had ever stumbled upon it before then, but then again I suppose the
same was true for Iceland.
Interestingly the ideological myth in Nova Scotia runs in the opposite
direction -- it is commonly stated that the Micmacs have been here for
10,000 years, whereas in fact whoever was here first left rather quickly
Micmacs themselves only actually showed up two thousand years ago. The
cachet or mystique of being indigeneous involves being first on the scene,
so the real sequence of history is distorted to allow the Micmac that honour.
The need for this could be avoided if we employed a definition of "aboriginal"
as the oldest existing culture rather than the first, but then of course all
sorts of European cultures would qualify for it too.