Rapanui. Easter Island. By Denis O'Leary. ISBN-13: 978-109975026-7. 100 pages. $19.95 Color illustrated photographs. 6x9.
This a color photographic, historical, and contemporary description of the island. Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island and Isla de Pascua, has long been said by natives to be at the navel of the Earth. The people of Easter Island knew of no others for hundreds of years and built their society and belief system until contacted by the outside world in 1722. It is still unknown if the social collapse that followed was from a natural disaster, forced by the human contact or more than likely as a result of a combination of the two.<br><br>In the center of the South Pacific Ocean, Rapa Nui is located 2,191 miles west of the coast of Chile, South America in the center of the Pacific Ocean. Some 2,704 miles northeast of Tahiti, the island remains even today the most isolated inhabited land on the planet.
Today, 7,750 people live on Easter Island. A territory of Chile, many who live on the Island consider themselves Rapanui before Chilean. Spanish is the language spoken by most, but the almost lost language of the island is taught in schools and families to bring the pride of the native islanders to the front. Note that the island and native language is "Rapa Nui" and the people of the island are "Rapanui."
Denis O’Leary has been an educator for nearly three decades and long served in civil rights organizations as well as been an elected school Trustee for sixteen of those years. Denis O’Leary has authored fascinating books that reflect respect for diverse Latin American cultures such as Alba Walking in the Shadows, Esteban’s Caravan, children’s books about César Chávez and Grandpa’s Short Handled Hoe. It is no wonder that when Mr. O’Leary traveled to the most remote location on Earth, Easter Island, with his wife and son, he wanted to relate what he saw and learned to students and community. Through Denis O’Leary’s photography, interactions with Rapanui and research we are shown a whole story of the mysteries and culture that developed over the centuries at the navel of our planet: the island of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island.