Pacific Voyager Forum

American Samoa => Samoa Quake and Tsunami News => Topic started by: Tavita Tusitala on August 19, 2009, 02:20:29 PM

Title: Samoan Heritage Week in Honolulu, Hawaii
Post by: Tavita Tusitala on August 19, 2009, 02:20:29 PM
August 8, 2009
Gov. Togiola closes successful Samoan Heritage Week in Honolulu

Samoan Heritage Week ended in Honolulu at Ke’ehi Kagoon Park with the words “Samoa’s culture stands, and is kept in place by three strong pillars – respect, sharing, and cooperation.”

In today’s closing ceremony, attended by Honolulu Mayor Muliufi “Mufi” Hannemann, and a host of Samoan traditional and government leaders and clergy, Samoa Governor Togiola told all Samoans to allow the event - "Celebrating our Samoan Heritage" – to be “a banner of challenge for all Samoans in Hawaii.”

"This is a new day for Samoans in Hawaii. And I thank Mayor Hannemann for co-hosting this event with us, and for his leadership in helping us make this dream a reality." said Gov. Togiola. "I call this a fa’ama’ite. Fa’ama’ite means to start or begin something new. Today’s fa’ama’ite is to be founded on Samoan culture. It is a banner of challenge for all Samoans in Hawaii."

“Heritage” means inheritance – something passed down from our ancestors, a birthright, a legacy. Our parents did not have gold or silver or oilwells to leave us - only a culture.  So we ask, what is so important in this heritage that the leaders of American Samoa have travelled miles to celebrate? The answer is simple - our culture – our aganuu (is in effect, our gold, our pearls and diamonds). Everything precious about us is lodged in our culture."

"Samoa’s culture stands, and is kept in place by three strong pillars – respect, sharing, and cooperation. "

"Respect teaches the values of love and honoring one another, showing mutual courtesy and kindness. You and I both know that those were the precepts upon which we were raised."

"Sharing is the unwritten rule of behavior in Samoan communities, a life where we lived and interacted with one another very, very closely. In that life of sharing, no one was richer than the other – and no one was poor, neglected, or suffering from want. You all know that before the introduction of money, no Samoan was considered poor. We all had the same things, and when one family was in need, we could provide them with enough to get back up. Now that our wealth is measured in dollars, we are finding it difficult to give up money to help another family get back up."

"Cooperation or working together enabled our parents to fulfill their dreams and complete monumental tasks – like sailing vast oceans in ‘alias, building large guest houses, and digging roads over mountains – tasks no one person alone could do."

For three and a half millennia our culture has stood strong and firm on those three pillars – respect, sharing, cooperation.