Polynesians - History and Cultural Relations



For most Polynesian islands, contact with the Western world goes back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when explorers, missionaries, and business interests visited and eventually settled on the major islands. Hawaii was visited by Congregational ministers in 1819. Later in the century the native rulers were overthrown and the economy and political structure came under control of American business interests, with Hawaii formally annexed by the United States in 1898. It became the fiftieth state in 1959. Because of the long and intense contact with the United States, native Hawaiians who immigrated to the mainland arrrived already assimilated into mainstream American society. American Samoa was claimed by the United States in 1900, and other island Cultures were claimed at various times by Germany, France, and New Zealand. Today, Western Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu are independent nations; American Samoa is a territory of the United States; Wallis, Futuna, and French Polynesia are Territories of France; Tokelau is governed by New Zealand; and the Cook Islands and Niue are independent though affiliated with New Zealand.

Samoan immigration to the United States began in the 1950s and is part of a broader diaspora of Pacific Island Peoples to cities in their own islands, to other islands, New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Tongan migration to the United States began in the 1960s. On some islands, such as the Cook Islands, out-migration is so great that now more people live away from the islands than on them. The major factor pushing people off the islands is the lack of economic opportunity, and the major pull factor is economic opportunity in the cities or in developed nations. The actual host nation one migrates to is determined mainly by the historical ties between an island and the developed nation and the Current immigration policies of the host nation. Thus, American Samoans can enter the United States freely, but Tongans and Western Samoans are subject to immigration restrictions. Cook Islanders and others with ties to New Zealand are more likely to migrate there, although some are now moving on to the United States where economic prospects seem brighter. Most immigration has been in the form of chain migrations, with relatives assisting others who follow them to the United States. In the past, overseas immigration was cyclical; today, most immigrants settle permanently in the United States. It has been suggested that those who do return to the islands are mostly people who have failed economically overseas.

Within the United States, Polynesians remain an Economically disadvantaged group. Their cultural identity is ambiguous, as they are rarely identified by other Americans as being from a specific island or even as Polynesians or Pacific Islanders. Rather, they are more often lumped with Filipinos or Asians in general or with Latinos or African-Americans.


Also read article about Polynesians from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

1
Amy
Report this comment as inappropriate
Oct 25, 2017 @ 11:23 pm
The Polynesians are the most energetic people of his time. They are more energetic than Black people and also White people. They are all the most affiliated people compared to the normal Americans. The Samoan People are the coolest and most energetic people within the ones in the United States.

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: