Anthropologists and linguists have long assumed that East Polynesia was first settled from Central Western Polynesia, most likely from Samoa. Presented here is a very different history, one involving a northern settlement pathway from atolls off the east coast of the Solomon Islands some 2,000 miles (3,200 km) northwest of Samoa. Evidence includes 73 lexical and grammatical innovations reconstructible in the development of several nested Northern Outlier subgroups. East Polynesian is shown to share all of those innovations and thus subgroup with the Northern Outliers. The 73 reconstructions also provide evidence against an "Ellicean" subgroup and associated theories that East Polynesia was settled from Tuvalu, Tokelau, and/or Pukapuka.