Posted by: austronesia | December 29, 2008

Tongan Site Dated Oldest in Polynesia

Tongan site dated oldest in Polynesia
13 January 2008

Arhcaeo News

Using pottery shards, archaeologist David Burley says they have confirmed Nukuleka, just east of Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, is Polynesia’s birthplace. The confirmation comes as something of a blow for Samoa which has advertised itself for decades as the ‘cradle of Polynesia’. Fiji’s Sigatoka dunes have also made claims to be Polynesia’s birthplace but they appear now to be several centuries younger.
     Archaeologists have focused on Nukuleka for the past five years following the discovery of rich pickings of Lapita pottery. A distinctive type of pottery, named for the site in New Caledonia where it was first found, was carried through Melanesia and into the Pacific by a mysterious group of people who eventually became the first Polynesians. Professor Burley, of Simon Fraser University in Canada, said that a final excavation last year had nailed Nukuleka’s position as Polynesia’s first. The pottery was 2900 years old. “Tonga was the first group of islands in Polynesia to be settled by the Lapita people about 3000 years ago, and Nukuleka was their first settlement in Tonga,” he said.
     The site for the village, at the mouth of the Fanga’uta lagoon, was ideal. “They came here first about 3000 years ago when the lagoon sea level was higher than today. There were no mangroves, so the lagoon shore was a big beach, and the lagoon was full of shellfish, and everything that we have dug up was packed with layers of shellfish,” said Professor Burley. “The area was rich in shells and researchers found that the people were eating lots of turtles and birds. What we are trying to prove is that this is the first site in Tonga, and everything that we have found verifies that,” he added.
Within a century of establishing Nukuleka the first Polynesians had settled the whole of Tonga. “Then a thousand years later they moved eastwards to eastern Polynesia,” concluded BurleyTechnorati Tags:

Posted by: austronesia | December 29, 2008

Stolen artefacts point to lost Philippines tribe

Stolen artefacts point to lost Philippines tribe

Archaeologists in the Philippines believe they have discovered evidence of a
lost tribe in sacks of broken pottery seized from antiquity smugglers.


.Archaeologists in the Philippines believe they have discovered the remains of a lost tribe in 22 sacks of broken pottery seized from antiquity smugglers

The haul was found somewhere near Palembang town in Sultan Kudarat province

Archaeologists in the Philippines believe they have discovered evidence of a
lost tribe in sacks of broken pottery seized from antiquity smugglers.

Twenty-two sacks of pottery, including burial urns sculpted in human form
believed to be more than 2,000 years old, were found loaded on a tricycle in
Sarangani province on the Filipino island of Mindanao in August.

It is thought that they originated in the neighbouring province of Sultan
Kudarat, but the precise location remains a mystery and there are fears that
the tribe has in effect been lost again because the artefacts were moved by
treasure hunters.

A man who said he owned the artefacts showed police what appeared to be forged
documents. The authorities contacted Eusebio Dizon, the head of the
archaeological unit at the National Museum, who has studied ancient burial
jars before.

“These ones are really different,” he said. “They are a different people. The
pottery has human faces that show emotions.

“The Manobos, Tirurays and B’laans tribes that have survived over time do not
bury their dead in painted anthropomorphic jars. So, we have no idea what
kind of people are behind these unique burial jars.”

“The more important thing is to find out the location, the origin of these
shards,” said Dr Dizon.

Scholars believe the site could be one of the earliest human habitations in
the Philippines and are anxious to examine whatever evidence remains in its
original location.

But finding it will not be easy. The museum lacks resources for a major
expedition and the area is rife with Muslim rebels whose fight for a
separate homeland recently escalated. The rebels demand huge payments to
allow archaeologists to work.

Bandits add a further complication and, finally, archaeologists are in a race
against thieves.

KAPI, an organisation of Filipino archaeologists, says that “treasure hunting
continues at a brazenly large scale” in the country. “Archaeology has been
losing this battle for decades now and will continue to do so if treasure
hunting and illicit antiquity trade are not stopped,” said a spokesman. “We
cannot tell the public how much information has been lost.”

Rene Miguel Dominguez, the governor of Sarangani province, said: “These
pottery pieces are part of our prehistoric history and the government must
do everything to protect the site where these materials were found.”

Archaeologists say that the laws are already in place but enforcement is
mostly absent.

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Posted by: austronesia | December 28, 2008

Broad Native Hawaiian Constituency demands Withdrawal of Appeal

Broad Native Hawaiian Constituency demands Withdrawal of Appeal

Honolulu Advertiser Staff Writer

Members of the normally conservative Royal Order of Kamehameha I and the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs joined other Native Hawaiian groups at the state Capitol yesterday to protest Gov. Linda Lingle’s position on ceded lands — lands that once belonged to the Hawaiian government before the 1898 overthrow.

“It’s not so much the number of people here today but it’s which came out,” said Vicky Holt Takamine, a kumu hula and president of the çIlioçulaokalani Coalition, which coordinated the rallyattended by roughly 100 people.

Members of the pro-independence umbrella group Hui Pü and the newly formed Hawaiian Independence Alliance also were among those taking part. The groups are protesting the state’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn a Hawai’i Supreme Court ruling in January temporarily barring the state from transferring or selling ceded lands pending unresolved claims by Native Hawaiians.

“If you’re going to have a nation, you need an economic base,” Khan said. “We’d like to have a decision made by the Hawaiian nation as to what happens to those lands.”  Others at the rally such as Takamine and Clifford Hashimoto, ali’i nui for the Royal Order, said they do not believe the state should sell or transfer ceded lands — period. Hashimoto, in a statement read by Royal Order spokesman William Souza, said “the fall of the Crown Lands will result in the final solution of Hawaiians. The actions of the Old Order are back.”

Former OHA Trustee Adelaide “Frenchy” DeSoto said ceded lands should be used to benefit Native Hawaiians by providing them housing and health services. “Maybe our people don’t have to be on their knees all the time begging,” DeSoto said.

Native Hawaiian rights attorney Dexter Kaiama took issue with the state’s position that Hawaiians may have a “moral” but not “legal” high ground when it comes to ceded lands. Rather than have a U.S. court decide what happens to ceded lands, “ask your country to submit itself to the international courts,” Kaiama said. The Lingle administration has insisted that it has and will con- tinue to support Native Hawaiian causes and that its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is being backed by a brief supporting the appeal by 29 other states, does nothing to diminish that. Attorney General Mark Bennett, after yesterday’s rally, also reiterated his view that the state’s position on the case has not changed since it was filed against the Cayetano administration in 1994.

The original lawsuits brought by four Native Hawaiians and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and then later joined, sought to temporarily halt the sale of about 1,500 acres in Lahaina and Kona to private interests to finance affordable-housing projects for moderate- and low-income families regardless of whether they have Hawaiian blood, until Hawaiian claims to the lands had been resolved. “We continue to believe that the Hawai`i Supreme Court’s de-
cision was legally incorrect and that it’s our responsibility to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to re- verse the decision because we believe it was fundamentally, legally incorrect,” Bennett said. The Lingle administration believes the issues raised by Native Hawaiian groups should be addressed by the legislative branch of government, he said. That’s why both he and Lingle have lobbied hard for Congressional passage of the Akaka bill, which creates a process that leads to federal recognition of a Native Hawaiian government entity.

There is no inconsistency in arguing that ceded lands are the managerial jurisdiction of the state government while lobbying for the Akaka bill, he said.

Some of the groups at yesterday’s rally oppose the Akaka bill while others support it. Ceded lands are the 1.2 million acres once owned by the Hawaiian government and subsequently taken over by the U.S. as a result of the 1898 annexation. Those lands were then passed to the state and designated for five purposes, including but not exclusively for the betterment of Native Hawaiians. They make up a bulk of state- owned lands and 29 percent of the state’s land mass. Takamine said her group planned yesterday’s rally to coincide with the Christmas vacation visit by President-elect Barack Obama in hopes in gaining his attention on the matter. Takamine’s group is planning a larger event that will take place in Waikïkï on Jan. 17, the anniversary of the 1893 overthrow of Liliu`okalani, Hawai`i’s last monarch.

Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at or 690-8908.Technorati Tags: ,

Posted by: austronesia | December 28, 2008

Families of Disappeared Protest at Plaza Miranda, Manila

Families of disappeared protest at Plaza Miranda
By Katherine Evangelista
First Posted 21:18:00 08/30/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Families of victims of alleged “enforced disappearances” held a protest at the historic Plaza Miranda outside the Quiapo Church on Saturday calling for justice for their loved ones.

The rally is in line with the celebration of the International Day of the Disappeared which was declared in Costa Rica on August 30, 1981, Desaparecidos said.

Various artists performed songs and read poems during the program which was attended by some 100 members of various militant groups like AnakBayan, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, National Federation of Peasant Women Philippines, and AnakPawis.

Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teddy Casino also issued his support for the cause of Desaparecidos.

“Ang bawat iyak, hinagpis at ngitngit ng pamilya ng mga nawawala ay galit, hinagpis at ngitngit ng sambayanang Pilipino dahil sa isang sibilisadong lipunan, hindi puwedeng payagan ang isang karumaldumal na krimen gaya ng sapilitang pagkawala (Every cry, sob, and anger of the family of the missing is the cry, sob, and anger of the Filipino people, because in a civilized society, this crime is not allowed),” Casino said in his speech during the program.

The protesters demanded for the resurfacing of their loved ones and for the punishment for “state perpetrators of enforced disappearance.”

The group slammed the government’s Oplan Bantay Laya projects which they blame for the disappearance of their relatives.

“Even as we remember and give tribute to our missing loved ones, we also demand that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s regime be punished for its implementation of enforced disappearance,” said Mary Guy Portajada, spokesperson of Desaparesidos.

Almost 2,000 disappeared have been recorded beginning the term of former President Ferdinand Marcos until the present regime, Desaparesidos said.

Since the beginning of President Gloria Arroyos’s term in 2001, some 193 victims have been reported missing or were victims of extrajudicial killings, the group added.

“Enforced disappearance is the worst kind of repression. It must be stopped, and heads of State which implement this must be punished,” Portajada said.

The group added that disappearance “violates the right to life, liberty and dignity, and the right to trial and due process, the right against torture and illegal detention, the rights of persons in detention, and even the right against the desecration of one’s body.”

The relatives of the desaparecidos said they no longer expect to receive justice from the courts since the Court of Appeals and lower courts have continuously denied their petitions for writs of habeas corpus and amparo.

Nevertheless, the group appealed for the ratification of the 2006 International Convention for the Protection of all Persons against Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance and the passing of a pending bill which criminalizes enforced disappearance.

“The proposed bill has been gathering dust in Congress and in spite of the continued cases of disappearance, no one has been punished,” Portajada said.

House Bill 2236 or the “Anti-enforced disappearance Act” is a popular bill and has been signed by 132 congressmen but objections were raised by the Technical Working Group tasked to polish the bill, Casino said.

The party-list congressman said the representatives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are opposed to the bill.

“Ang mismong mga tao, mga opisyal na may tungkulin na pigilan ang sapilitang pagkawala ang siya mismong mga gumagawa ng krimen. Mismong mga pulis at mga militar ang siya mismong dumudukot sa mga aktibista, organisador at mga pinaghihinalaang kalaban ng pamahalaan (The same people who are responsible for stopping the crime are the same people who are committing it. The police and the military are themselves abducting activists, organizers, and anti-government oppositionists,” Casino said.

Progressive party-list members in the Congress will lobby for the passing of the HB 2236 by the end of this year, he said.

Meanwhile, after the program in Plaza Miranda the protesters marched to Mendiola Bridge bearing lit lanterns which symbolized the lighting of the way for justice for the victims of enforced disappearances during the Arroyo administration.

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Posted by: austronesia | December 28, 2008

Many Pay Respects to Malaysian King

Many pay last respects to ruler

Monday, December 29, 2008

SINCE 10am today, the Istana Besar Seri Menanti here has been receiving a steady stream of people who came to pay their last respects to the late Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Ja’afar ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman, lying in state at the Throne Room of the palace.

Among them were Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and his wife Raja Datin Seri Salbiah Tengku Nujumuddin; former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali; their son Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir; Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and Chief Justice Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi.

The remains of Tuanku Ja’afar, who died at 11.45am yesterday, were in a casket draped in yellow placed atop a seven-tiered dais, also draped in yellow.

Four officers, one each from the police force and the three services of the armed forces, were posted at each of the four corners as the casket guard.

Tun Mahathir, when approached, described the death of Tuanku Ja’afar as the loss of great person whom he had known for a long time, even before he had become the prime minister.

‘I had known Tuanku for a long time,” he said.

Tuanku Ja’afar will be laid to rest tomorrow.BernamaTechnorati Tags: , ,

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