Chapter 22. Rapa Nui


We owe the dead everything. Our ancestors put us here on this island paradise and gave us everything, fertility, health, and wealth. This is why we worship them. They watch over us now, their stone faces arrayed along the shore, facing us, not the sea.


Each clan claimed descent from a son of Hotu Matu’a, the first settler and supreme chief of the Rapa Nui people, so the chief of each clan had a special relationship and a special responsibility with respect to his ancestors. This could explain why they carved and moved the mo’ai. Mo’ai gave the important ones places where they could stay near us.

Spirits in things

It’s obvious that spirits live in things, not just in people. Spirits live in volcanos, in rocks, even in our tattoos. So, too, the ancestors live in the mo’ai. Even if this doesn’t happen elsewhere, it happens here. It’s not for nothing we call this island Center of the earth and Eyes that look to the sky.