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Hawai'i | It's not the paradise you envisioned

January 29, 2016

 

 

While thinking about art and crime, and vice versa, I was reminded of the film called "Apocalypto," a film about the Mayans and the fact that one of their most well known traditions is that of human sacrifice. It brought to mind a similar culture that hit close to home, particularly the Hawaiian islands. I grew up in Hawai'i, I learned the culture and history of the islands that many tourists fail too see beyond sunny skies and endless coconut trees. More so, coming from Hawai’i I also thought about the fact that the Ancient Hawaiians also practiced Human sacrifice. The idea of Hawai’i essentially being this sort of “paradise” loses it’s appeal when you know that an aspect of it involved war and human sacrifice.

 

The ancient Hawaiians believed in various gods to bring them prosperity. Of these deities, Ku was the God of War. It is known that the Hawaiians practiced human sacrifices to Ku by sacrificing the kauwa, otherwise known as prisoners of war during ancient Hawaiian times. Those who also broke kapu ( laws/taboos) were also sacrificed.

 

This may be considered an art due to the structures created to perform these sacrifices. These structures were one of the types of Heiau’s (Hawaiian temples). Human sacrifice Heiau’s have become land marks and widely visited tourists sites due to the history and architectural art that these structures have. The murders themselves were depicted in Hawaiian culture through the creation of petroglyphs written in the lava rock, most commonly found on the Big Island, Hawaii along the Ka’u coast. No one is truly sure of the meanings behind petroglyphs but assumptions have been made that they were created to share stories of major events in Hawaiian history. (http://www.gohawaii.com/en/big-island/guidebook/topics/petroglyphs/)

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