Your Ad Here
Bookmark this page

Mu and Menehune of the Pacific

The Legend of the Two Very Different Brothers

There once was two brothers. One was called Kulabob; he was tall and light-skinned in comparison to Manup, who was dark and stocky. Kulabob invented canoe-building, in particular the large ocean-going sailing canoes used to traverse great distances across the seas. Kulabob invented "planting magic" and pot-making, useful arts and spiritual matters. After giving people culture, ritual formulas, and language, Kulabob empowered certain people to preside over various food plants and artefacts.

Manup, on the other hand, was responsible mainly for giving laws and customs, a man of the land, and a hunter and a fisherman.

One day, a conflict erupted between the two different men. Kulabob transformed into an "immortal lizard" and ran up the Ngaul tree to escape harm. Manup and his followers chopped at the tree continuously, but the plant kept "regenerating". Manup then burnt the bark instead, preventing the tree from regenerating and the tree fell into the bay, throwing Kulabob into the water.

Realizing defeat, Kulabob finally decided to design a great ocean-going outrigger sailing canoe and then put "pale-skinned men, pigs, dogs, fowl, food plants and artifacts" on the ship and sailed "east under the cover of a volcanic eruption."

Manup tried to do the same but his canoes sank. Others of Manup's kind could sail, but the vessels did not possess the sea-worthy nature of Kulabob's craft, and thus the men of Manup turned back. However, in some cases Manup succeeded and ended up traveling north and west along the coast, eventually founding the Sepik culture in New Guinea.

At each village along the Rai coast sailing east, Kulabob put a man ashore and gave each the power of speech, food plants, a bow and arrows, a stone axe and adze, rain and ritual formulae. Kulabob moved on eastward again.

Prehistoric Colonization of the Near Pacific

 The following legend is commonly known amongst Islanders of the near Southwest Pacific as the Kulabob and Manup story, which is regarded by the natives of the north coast of New Guinea east along the Bismarck Archipelago to be a factual account pertaining to historical events.

Similar legends are told among the Bariai-Kabana, Lusi-Kaliai and Anem of northwestern New Britian. The tribal peoples link the Kulabob character with Moro, Aragas, Ava or Titikolo and Manup with Alu. In one version, Molo is killed and his liver is fed to one of his sons, Aikiukiu. The son then suddenly transforms into a "powerful snake-man and provides his mother and brother with shelter, food and domesticated animals."

Surprisingly enough, ethnologists agree with natives for once that the Kulabob and Manup legend is a historical or semi-historical account. The anthropologist Alice Pomponio of St Lawrence University calls the myth a "coded history." She coins the phrase "mythical metaphor" and links the sexual escapades or "odyssey" of Kulabob with Manup's women as an ever eastward migration of Austronesian colonists into the Papaun islands. Items traded by Kulabob included knowledge of skills and technology as much as the finished products, such as canoes. The swaying tree of plenty that threw Kulabob into the water or in another version the many treasures of Kulabob into the sea, in actuality according to Alice, symbolize the trade routes of the Vitiaz and Dampier straits between New Britian and New Guinea established by Austronesian peoples moving east.

The Kulabobs and Manups: Snake People and Dwarves

Combining the men of Kulabob with the Naga snake shamans or garden magicians that I have already mined from Southeast Asian lore and legend, there appears to be two distinct peoples that existed side by side during some remote period of time within the Pacific region. The physical description of Manup is one of a dark and short, stocky figure, which Stephen Oppenheimer, in his book "Eden in the East", relates to populations of native Negrito pygmies of Southeast Asia. These short stocky dark-skinned people appear very similar to Africans but significantly shorter, with similar wide noses, and Afro curly or kinky hair. Jules Quartly establishes the Negritos as the legendary "Little Black People" that occur frequently in Taiwanese lore.

Image of native Negritos

Officially, a number of scientists theorize that Negritos form one of a group of original populations that first migrated out of Africa over 100,000 years ago and evolved or physically adapted to the smaller needs of isolated island/forest conditions, thus explaining their comparatively shorter stature. More intriguingly, however, are the many unexplained instances of so-called "little black people" that occur throughout cultural legends and oral traditions of the greater Pacific in general.

The famous "Flores Hobbit" first discovered on Flores Island in Indonesia in 2003, is also thought to be a prime example of these legendary dwarves. Anthropologists found adult skeletal remains which stood at 3 ft 11 inches along with stone tools in the Liang Bau Cave. The scientists named the find "Homo Floresiensis" and declared the race a distinct human species which co-existed with modern humans as late as 12,000 years ago. These so called hobbits were quite advanced, as evidenced by flaked points and fire use in the cave. Among locals on Flores, legends also persist of a dwarf people, small, hairy, that dwelled in caves, called the Ebu Gogo. Similar stories are told of the Orang Pendek by the natives of Indonesia.

Due to the fact that the Flores Island remained disconnected from the mainland even at lowest sea levels during the Ice Age, these Hobbits appeared to have been capable watermen, and may explain the appearance of similar accounts of hairy brown people, or dwarves in other distant parts of the Pacific via ocean-going migrations, as far as Micronesia, Fiji, Japan and Hawaii.

The Many Creeds and Colors of Manup

Other than often being noted as hairy, the dwarves are also described as red-skinned, sometimes light-skinned, smooth skinned as opposed to hairy, suggesting the presence of many different types or stocks of pygmy dwarves throughout the Pacific.The Rampasasa are an actual group of still living pymgies that do not have dark-skin. The Menehune little people of Hawaiian legend are described as being red-faced and smooth-skinned. The little Mu, on the other hand, are hairy and dark.

The Mu and Menehune of Hawaii are also credited with building the many fish-ponds that appear on the Hawaiian islands and are thought of as being great builders and fisherman that erected buildings overnight. Similarly, the Koropokkuru dwarves of local Ainu legend of Northern Japan fished and lived in shell pits, appeared red-faced and only traded with the local Ainu at night. Beckwith explains in her book "Hawaiian Mythology," that ,"In Fiji, spirit people, invisible save to worshipers, pygmies with "fuzzy mops of hair" like themselves of former days in miniature, live in the woods and caves on wild bananas and kava..."

"Two classes of spirits are described on San Cristoval, distinct but sometimes confused with each other. The Kakamora are said to be from six inches to three or four feet in height, from fair to dark, go naked with long straight hair to their knees, are strong as three or four men and fond of dancing and singing. They do not use cooked food. They have a ruler, male or female. They are described as harmless but tricky, or as malicious and dangerous, and are differently named all along the coast. The Masi are strong and stupid, easily tricked, but otherwise like people. Their descendants are skilled craftsmen and canoe makers and carvers in stone. Their work may be left unfinished because the craftsmen are called away by some trivial matter. The stories strongly resemble Hawaiian Menehune [and Mu] traditions."

So much do natives of Hawaii believe in the existence of the Mu and Menehune, in fact, that a population census conducted in 1824 recorded the tally of 65 Mu living in the forests of Laau on the island of Kaua'i. Beckwith also explains that stories concerning the gods of Hawaii called Moolelo, denote tales based on historical figures or events. "[These gods] played a dominant part in legendary history [Beckwith]." Such "Moolelo", which include stories of the founder god Kane, at times involved the little Mu and Menehune as participants.

The Little Koropokkuru of Japan

Amongst Japanese legend are the Koropokkuru, a race of little people that lived in Japan before the Ainu arrived. The Ainu describe the dwarves as short, agile, and skilled at fishing, living in pits with roofs of Butterbur leaves, hence the name Koropukkuru, meaning in Ainu "People below the Butterbur plant." These little people, "long ago", exchanged deer, fish, and other game with the Ainu, but, because the dwarves possessed a very shy nature, only traded under "the cover of night." Over time, the Ainu somehow got on bad terms with the Koropokkuru, and the dwarves disappeared forever.

Several archaeological sites uncovered in northern Japan are consistent with descriptions of Koropokkuru dwellings. Pits dug up by Edward S. Morse, a prominent 19th century archaeologist often considered the founder of Japanese archaeology, revealed many stone tools, flint tools, scrapers, knives, and pottery, which the local Ainu did not have and readily admitted to not crafting. Morse also described the tools as being particularly small, not efficient for use by normal-sized humans. In 1877, Morse investigated the so-called Omori shell mounds, and found an array of pottery that did not fit in with any pre-established traditions or known sequences. The local Ainu further denied any knowledge of pottery-making either in the past or present to Morse. In 1879, Norse published the finds, establishing the mound site as being the home of an "unknown neolithic race that predated the Ainu."

Doll images of Korokoppuru Little People of Northern Japan

Tsuboi Shogoro, a student of Morse, later continued work on the sites, and officially ascribed the mounds as being the property of the legendary Koropokkuru dwarf or pygmy people. The presence of sophisticated tools also indicates a surprisingly advanced group, as do legends that the Korokoppuru spoke with the Ainu.

 

The Elusive Mu and Menehune of Hawaii

The Rice, or Kauai version of the Mu and Menehune, establishes the Menehune as a "pygmy people" about "two feet in height" which lived in caves. "After the deluge there were left three peoples who made their home on Kauai, the Mu (Rena-mu), the Wa (Ke-na-wa), and the Menehune. Kualu-nui-kini-akua (Kualu of the little gods) and his son Kualu-nui-pauku-mokumoku (Kualu of the broken rope) are chiefs of the Mu people in Kahiki [Rice]." After some time, the Mu and Menehune emigrated after the flood back to an ancestral land, sometimes called the Land of Kane, or other names. During that mass migration out of Hawaii according to Rice, "Not one expert craftsmen is left behind."

The Kanehunamoku version of Oahu describes the Mu as "dwarf people, banana planters and hairy, with round stomachs as distinguished from the Menehune, who are smooth people with distended stomachs. After the work is completed for their chief Ola, all return to the floating land of Kueihelani and never return, but two Mu are left asleep under banana leaves." Fonander explains that the "menehune were a numerous and powerful race, the ancestors of the present Hawaiian people."
The sheer number of these distant and yet similar accounts of dwarf people coming from all across the Ocean would seem to suggest that at some point in the past the Pacific maintained a much greater and varied population of the "little Mu" before some catastrophic period greatly reduced their numbers or simply caused different types to go extinct. The sudden "disappearance" of the Koropokkuru from Ainu Japan, for example, may account for such abrupt and unexplained extinctions.

Another interesting characteristic of the little people is there ability to do things in "one night" or only at night. The Mu and Menehune, in one legend, built a heiau temple in one night by lining up all the men side to side and passing the stones, hand to hand, until the whole structure stood in place. The Koropokkuru, also, only traded and talked to the Ainu in Japan "at night". In Tonga, there is mention of a space between what was "once two islands" which became filled in and planted with trees "in a single night [Beckwith]."

Interesting google earth image of dotted atolls between the Tongan islands along the Falcon bank in center of image. Work of little Mu builders or just evidence of previous lands once inhabited by the little people?

The Giants and the Big People

Ethnologists link these Menehune sometimes with the "Mana-hune" social class of Tahitian society. The Manahune are described as coming from a land called "Havai'i", a seeming allusion to Hawaii. The people are thought of as a separate class, as commoners, and since Tahiti became inhabited by these Manahune alone, the island became known as "Tahiti-manahune." The manahune that "remained agriculturists later formed the lowest social class of plebeians" and became used for ritualistic "sacrifices" by the ruling people.

"In the western Tuamotus the 'Manahune' are known as ancient people of Tahiti, and former adversaries of the Tuamotuans, say the eastern Tuamotuans." The Tuamotuans are spoken of sometimes as giants, as at Tatakoto and Vahitahi, "but in Tatakoto as friendly giants...In Rarotonga, among the clans of Tangiia's people over whom he makes Iro chief are the Mana-une, said to be found also in Mangaia."

These Tuamotuans, I presume are either modern humans appearing taller than the local pymgy Mu or Manahune, or a distinct group of early Homonids of the paleolithic era that stood on average taller than modern humans. The Tuamotuans, which at times are described as regular men as opposed to giants in some versions may explain a perceived distinction retained within oral memory between earlier visitations of very tall people or "giants" and later accounts of a race of normal stature (modern humans) arriving later.

A number of people have suggested that early Cro-Magnon humans, which inhabited Europe as early as 40,000 B.C., stood taller on average than even ordinary modern humans, perhaps as much as 7 feet on average, and possessed a larger brain, (1,600 cc); mythical accounts of "giants" found within oral legends as far afield as the Aztecs in Mexico to lore in the Pacific islands might be attributable then to a very ancient social or racial friction experienced between a now extinct branch of Cro-magnon humans competing and/or coexisting with other differently evolved hominids during the Paleolithic.

The subjigation of the Mu or Menehune as a "lower class" as some sort of skilled slave labor by these "giants", did not seem to rob these little Mu of advanced skills or education though as all accounts always seem to allude to capable builders and craftsmen despite any apparent oppression by the "big people" or "giants," who remember at times could be "friendly giants."

The Peace and the Conflict: War and Slavery

The coexistence of two very different peoples seems to echo the Kulabob/Manup conflict legend of the nearby Southwest Pacific Islands as well. Beckwith mentions the legend of the Great Voyager called Waha-Nui (Big-Mouth) in her book, who so "oppressed the Menehune" that the little people migrated back to the "sunken land of Kane...led by their god Kane," who was himself "killed in a sea fight." I can't help but think that Kane in some way respresents the stocky Manup of New Guinea, and the "Big-Mouth" or great voyager, a tall Kulabob of the far Pacific that "so oppressed the Menehune", a giant, such as the Tuamotuans of Tahiti that used the little Manahune, or sub-class of plebeians as sacrificial victims.

In the Kulabob and Manup legend, sometimes the native Manup or little people peacefully accepted trade and knowledge from the larger "Kulabobs", but at other times refused, initiating a war or conflict; a widespread war may then account for an apparent enslavement of the Menehune in the legends of the little people appearing in folklore and oral accounts further out east in Fiji, Tahiti, and Hawaii. But Oppenheimer points out that the Kulabob/Manup conflict turns into a peaceful coexistence in some versions the further one goes eastward into Melanesia. The warring-brothers legend from the Mussau, Watom, Duke of Yorks and New Britian islands, changes from the "deadly end-game into the more friendly Tolai version of the smart brother/stupid brother, and the New Ireland loving-brothers versions [Oppenheimer]."

The avid acceptance of knowledge in some accounts by Manup and refusal in others, might explain, an ocean away, the few curious accounts of rather "smart and tricky" Mu or Menehune and, in different conflicting accounts of the same people, the little Mu that appeared instead dumb and quite savage. A second different group of little people existed on San Cristoval according to popular legend, "strong and stupid, easily tricked, but otherwise like people." Strong and stupid sounds similar to the short and agile but "stupid brother" of Manup in the legends coming from the Tolai version. That isn't say that these small dwarves were dumb in any sense of the word, as the phrase "numerous and powerful race" would seem to suggest otherwise.

Separately then, two groups of little Mu people seemed to exist, ones that readily accepted foreign trade and training to become stone "experts" and craftsmen which became conscripted workers, and others that did not, which remained hunter gatherers but eventually became forced into slavery through war. These may account for Waha-Nui, the chief that "so oppressed the Menehune" and yet on the other hand, the much politer sounding "request" for the little people to come and help build the heaiu temple of Ola on Kaaui in the much more docile Hawaiian Ola Legend. The Korropokkuru of Japan that had a "falling out" with the local Ainu may also being telling of further conflict.

Legend of Mawas and Siamang

"Once upon a time the king of the Mawas (Hylobates - gibbon) monkeys fought with the king of the Siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus - black furred gibbon native to the forests of Malaysia, Thailand, and Sumatra) monkeys in the country where our ancestors lived. Our ancestors ran away from the place, being frightened by the war, and hid themselves in a plain covered with lalang grass. The king of the Mawas beat the king of the Siamang, and the latter, with his people, ran away and hid in the same plain as our ancestors. The king of the Mawas came and set fire to the grass, and the king of the Siamang and his followers fled and crossed the Perak River. Our ancestors did not run away, having hidden themselves in porcupine burrows , in order to escape from the fire. In spite of this, the fire reached them, and singed their hair, and this is the reason why we, their descendants, have curly hair to the present day."

The following is a legend taken by Ivor Evans from Malaysian and northern Borneo folklore to explain the appearance of negrito pygmies. Mawas clearly appears to be some sort of oppressive culture that came to mainland Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra and attempted to steal land away from the shorter natives, represented by the monkey-king Siamang. The word "ancestors" clearly indicates the antiquity of the account, and given the wide distribution of the legend across the sea (Sumatra, Thailand, Malaysia and Borneo), the conflict may represent some of the oldest accounts of the first indigenous wars conducted by Austronesian colonizers attempting to usurp lands already settled by smaller negritos in the Sunda region. "Grassy plains" is also a geographical feature not commonly found today in Island southeast Asia and can only be explained by the south eastern grassy plain then present (over 15,000 years ago) on the sunken Sunda continent which once connected the isolated regions that the myth is derived. These negrito people of the monkey king Siamang are perhaps one and the same as the Manups further east near New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago region, which fought or attempted to escape even further east some kind of forced oppression.

Geographical climate map during Ice Age. Note the green strip of land, representing tropical grassland, stretching from the tip of southeast Asia up to Thailand separates all the now isolated islands that the myth comes from. 

Modern Examples of Pygmies and Slavery

Congo Pygmies

 Use of pygmies as slave labor, and the systematic discrimination, including genocide, of pygmies is not an uncommon thing even in modern times. In the Republic of Congo, the native Bantu tribes use pygmies as slaves Bantus call a "time-honored tradition." The pygmies often do all the hunting, fishing and manual labor for the Bantu tribal masters and will often get paid only at the master's "whim", mostly "in cigarettes, used clothing, or even nothing at all." Pressure from UNICEF and human rights activists has forced the Congo parliament to vote on a law which would grant pygmies special protective rights. Human nature being what it is then, it is not an all too crazy an idea to think that such widespread and systematic enslavement of pygmies, especially if pygmies were far more numerous back in the past, was even a common thing 1,000's of years ago and perhaps might give support for the existence of a large slave-trading empire or maritime culture in the Pacific that exclusively traded in small-statured dwarves, at times primitive or savage and others seemingly magical (brownies) capable of great stone construction and "feats". The only real proof for such a relationship between Kulabobs and little Mu workers is the lack of sea-worthy vessels of the Mu described in the Manup legend, and thus might explain how similar accounts of small people appear widely distributed across the Pacific due to the transportation of such legendary dwarves in antiquity via the larger and capable ocean -going vessels of Kulabob's line.

"The Time that the Sun Was Taken Away"

One hawaiian account seems to hint at the remote nature or time that these many different dwarves seemed to exist. Kamakau writes that the Mu or Menehune existed during "the time that the sun was taken away and the world was dark." Geologically, there seems to be no better explanation for such a time than the end of the glacial period, which saw a great surgence in volcanic activity caused by crustal imbalance with the sudden loss of glacial weight on the Earth's crust. Thus volcanoes that threw up smoke screens that blotted out the sun for many years dates these little mu and menehune to a "time that the sun was taken away." The well documented extinction of several species of Ice Age mega-fauna, such as the large wholly mammoths and the saber-toothed tigers, may just be a few of the extinctions that occurred at the same time that many types or sub varieties of pygmies perished as well.

An apparent mass migration or "exodus" from Hawaii of the Mu and Menehune due to a great catatrophe, or the "deluges" also beckons to be looked into further. Where did the Mu go? According to many versions, the little people left Hawaii to return to the "Land of Kane" which few scholars have attempted to locate and have not pin-pointed with any accuracy.

Sailing through "The Many-Colored-Sea of Kane"...

The Island of Kane is mentioned as being a 40 day's voyage from Hawaii going west, which places the island approximately in the area of Micronesia. According to Fonander, Kane and Lono of Hawaii made the first man and gave him a "delightful garden" called Kalana-I-Hauola, in the land of Kahaki-Honua-Kele, "the Land that moved off", also called the "Great Hawaii of greek back and mottled seas." After some thought, I began to think that what may be referred to as the "green back and mottled seas", meaning dotted by many colors, is the many green colored atolls and lagoons that dot the region of Micronesian waters near the Marshall islands, the Carolines surrounding Pohnpei, and further west near Palau island. I was greatly surprised then to read Dorothy B. Barrere's comments in "The Kumuhonua Legends", which notes the belief shared amongst some scholars "that the [original] land [of Kane]...was located in Indonesia and that Hawai'i-loa sailed northeast through the Carolines and the many-colored-ocean of Kane, studded with the shallows of coral atolls and lagoons. Passing along to the Marshall islands, the navigator sailed 2,100 miles over the deep-colored-sea to Hawai'i." The following gives good scholarly support for the identification of the sea of Kane with the "many-colored-ocean" of Micronesia, particularly in the area of the Carolines, and an original homeland of the Mu being associated with Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

Image of Palau island in Micronesia. Do these represent the many atolls of the "green back and mottled seas" of Kane traveled by the little Mu?

There are also reports of little people, very similar sounding to the oral legends of Mu in Hawaii, within the Micronesian islands, including the island of Pohnpei. Thomas Beckley cites a news article from the Fiji Times published on July 19th, 1975, which details eye-witness accounts by six school children of "eight mysterious little creatures in reeds." Similar Fijian legends associated the little people seen by the children as being the original inhabitants of Pohnpei according to Beckley.
The remains of 25 "miniature humans" were also found on the islands of Palau in Micronesia, dated to being 1,000 to 3,000 years old reported by Ian Sample in the Guardian. Scientists explain that these "miniature humans" were most likely Negritos coming from Southeast Asia which originally inhabited the island over 1000 years ago, eventually becoming replaced by modern Islander humans.

Sea-Trading Empire of the Pacific

The existence of a large trading network, domestication and colonization is clearly evident within very early pleistocene layers of the Southwest Pacific Islands and perhaps gives hints of these advanced peoples establishing initial trade routes with the local pygmies, represented historically within the drama of Kulabob and Manup. Ward Goodenough points out in his book, "Prehistoric Settlement of the Pacific," two, in his own words, very "startling" introductions into the Pleistocene assemblages of Melanesian sites. Firstly, a large number of Phalangers, a type of possum occurs in layers dated to the Pleistocene, an animal which has clearly been "transported there by humans." As early as 20,000 BP (18,000 B.C.), Goodenough points out that these small furry animals were traded abundantly, and that a large-scale "breeding program" was likely established on the island of New Ireland, and the remains of the animals were discarded in great numbers at the Matenback cave. Coupled with this is the persistent presence of valuable obsidian flakes, heavily reduced in size, which Goodenough believes indicates long distance trade, the source of obsidian of which is located on west New Britian over 700 km away.

Image of Phalanger possum eating banana 

"As more Bismarck sites were occupied, relationships between 'territories' around the archipelago presumably also evolved structurally. Such a development model, involving considerations like boundary formation and the regularizing of across-boundary social relationships through trade, has many analogues in later Melanesian prehistory...In general in this period, local canoe travel and the transfer of distant resources probably integrated colonizing outposts into distinct spheres of interaction within the Bismarck Archipelago."

I can't help but compare Goodenough's trading "outposts" to Alice Pomonio's metaphorical swaying tree of plenty that threw the many treasures of Kulabob into the sea, according to Alice, symbolizing the actual trade routes of the Vitiaz and Dampier straits between New Britian and New Guinea established by Austronesian peoples moving east. The use of the word "outposts" and the phrase "colonizing territories" by Goodenough also seems to suggest some sort of trading or maritime empire expanding in the area, fueled in some instances it would seem by war indicated by a much steadier supply of obsidian arrowheads.

Goodenough is brave enough to suggest that the domestication of plants and animals goes much further back into the Pleistocene than may be immediately apparent from current sites. Goodenough explains this by the sudden introduction of fully domesticated pigs and plants into later Holocene layers, along with what appears to be a much more complex culture.
The relatively small size of the obsidian flakes also seems suggestive of arrowheads necessary for bows, a weapon which requires a very low amount of skill-level for use in matters of war. This may provide necessary archaeological proof for the conflict described in the legend of Kulabob and Manup, a myth which crosses over 5 major language phylla scattered throughout the Bismarck region and coincidentally is well confined within the territories of the obsidian arrowhead trade network described by Oppenheimer.

The Long Memory of Kulabobs and Manups

There is a clear distinction of two different peoples as well which can be gleaned from the sites. One group traded extensively in "pet" phalangers and obsidian, and sites which didn't such as Balof 2 and Panakiwuk much further inland, contained mostly hunted animal remains, such as bats, rats, lizards, and raptor birds. These two separate types or kinds of sites, hints at the presence of two different natives or hunter gatherers, one which became willing students of the Kulabob teachers, trading in knowledge and domestication. The other group either refused trade and contact or just stayed away and hunted in the mountains, as evidenced by many small animal remains and a lack of obsidian arrowheads, a technology which seems to indicate rises in conflict (the bow and arrow provides no particular advantage of use over the blow gun or much more effective atl-atl spear thrower for hunting).

As sea levels rose, the cataloged occupation of the sites dramatically increased and changed, including the deposit of the first sea shells, indicating a "connection with coastal activities," and also the introduction of the pet phalangers c. 10,000 -8,000 B.P. Over 70% of faunal remains and tools occur within this period at Panakiwuk. This may represent some of the later and more "intense" cultural interactions and friction between the two principle characters of the Kulabob and Manup conflict legend described earlier, as obsidian flakes begin to appear in "significantly greater numbers" than before.

At the adjacent cave of Matenback dated to 9,000-6,000 B.P, "the small test pit also uncovered an earth oven, more shell tools, including a shell bead, and two fragments of edge-ground stone tools, probably axes." The same layers also reveal evidence of pig domestication and agriculture. Remember, that in the Kulabob and Manup legend, Kulabob brought many domesticated animals and plants, including pigs, arrows and bows, and stone axes.

The Refuge of Mu

If there is any place that qualifies as a more suitable candidate for an original land or homeland of the Mu or Menehune, "the green back and mottled seas," of Micronesia seems to be one of the best places to start looking; I'm not quite sure what island or landmass may be represented by the "Great Hawaii of the many-colored-sea of Kane", but for starters, Papau New Guinea, New Ireland, and New Britain are the first largest islands that appear west and south of the many-colored-atolls of Micronesia. Beckwith's mentioning of the return of the Mu to the "sunken land of Kane" would further seem to reinforce the idea that the original homeland of the little people had diminished overtime with flooding, but which still existed in the form of smaller islands or island groups; the following may be a good description of the broken island chain or archipelago of western Melanesia and the Sunda Islands of Southeast Asia. And so the mystery only seems to further deepen.

But there may be further connections located within mainland China; legends of emperor Shaohao's "birdman empire" that stretched to the "eastern paradise" across the sea seems to closely tie in with legends of sea-faring Polynesian "birdmen" or "turtle-people"; the unusual alien appearance of the Sanxingdui culture's sculptural artifacts, many of which include bird carvings, also rather resembles a more Polynesian tiki type aesthetic not in keeping with the other mainland Chinese of the same period.

 

Home Page

The Naga Shamans of the Pacific