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sehorse "Visitors"

Visitors is the first of three "historical" layers. Since Western culture defines "historical" in terms of written history, these layers are very shallow compared to the many, many generations of cultural history that preceded written records. Hence it is only in the sixth chapter that we get to this point.

This chapter explores the early contact period, usually up through the end of the 19th century. As with the rest of this project, the Visitors chapter aims to provide local perspectives on these historical periods, as a counter-balance to the Western perspectives usually found in textbooks and history books.

Society gives us an opportunity to understand more about traditional leadership, population, and social issues at the outset of the "contact" period. We see something of tradition, and something of social change, depending on the community.

Explorers starts with the earliest days of contact. Who arrived, when, why, and how were they greeted? Many islands were named (at least for a while) after the nature of these first encounters. These meetings also often set the stage for the changes that would follow.

Missionaries played a major role in the early contact period, in most places in the Pacific. Their impact depending on who they were, where they came from, and how long they stayed. How did the islanders perceive them? How is the impact of the missionaries understood today?

Colony reflects on the extent to which that island entity became a colony of a larger world power—often more than one in succession. This colonial period is essential for understanding how the history of the islands played out in the 20th century, and leading up to today.

Aftermath reflects on the impact of this period, and the state of affairs in that island entity and local community around the turn of the 20th century. This sets the stage for the next chapter.

From here, the next chapter turns to the twentieth century, and moves from written history to oral history. The events in this next chapter mostly still live in the minds of the community members. Hence it is called Memories.



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