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Oral Traditions, Cultural Significance of Storytelling, and Samoan Understandings of Place or Fanua

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Title:Oral Traditions, Cultural Significance of Storytelling, and Samoan Understandings of Place or Fanua
Authors:Lilomaiava-Doktor, Sa`iliemanu
Keywords:Oral tradition
Oral history
Samoans--Social life and customs
Date Issued:2020
Publisher:University of Minnesota Press
Citation:Lilomaiava-Doktor, Sa'iliemanu. “Oral Traditions, Cultural Significance of Storytelling, and Samoan Understandings of Place or Fanua.” Native American and Indigenous Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, 2020, pp. 121–151. DOI: 10.5749/natiindistudj.7.1.0121
Abstract:Oral tradition is at the heart of Indigenous cultures. Despite being central to Indigenous histories, oral sources and ancient stories have not been fully incorporated into scholarly understandings of land and “place,” which remain couched in economic terms and treated as abstractions in dominant theoretical conceptualizations. The rich oral tradition of Samoan storytelling, as heard in the tala le vavau (ancient stories, often translated as myths and legends) of Metotagivale and Alo, highlights the core cultural values that underscore fa’a-Samoa (Samoan culture and ways of knowing) of fanua or place. I argue that Samoan Indigenous ways of understanding place can be synthesized with the phenomenology approach to contribute to a broader academic understanding of place and physical resources. In addition to the memories, emotions, and values that make places significant according to humanist and phenomenological perspectives, the language, proverbs, names, and place-names in Samoan oral traditions demonstrate Samoan relationships with place and ecological knowledge. The tala le vavau theoretically transmit and reinforce conservation ethics and ecological perspectives. The core of Indigenous Samoan ecological knowledge is the achievement of balance and the recognition of equivalence and complementarity of vā/social relations and tapu. Respect is key to maintaining balance, and we can achieve redemptive change by promoting storytelling in place-based curricula.
Description:Modified from original published version to conform to ADA standards.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10790/5366
DOI:10.5749/natiindistudj.7.1.0121
Rights:Copyright 2020 by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. This article was first published in the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.
Reprinted with permission of the University of Minnesota Press.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/
Journal:Native American and Indigenous Studies
Volume:7
Issue/Number:1
Appears in Collections: Lilomaiva-Doktor, Sa`iliemanu


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