You shouldn’t struggle financially, if you’re practicing Fa’asamoa the right way… #SamoanCulture

Pintail Foundation, LynnAlaimalo, AigaSeries, SamoanWriters

Why my generation struggles with this loving Samoan tradition

Not relating to the article above, I recently shared about faalavelave’s, Samoan family functions and events, and what it means to Samoan people, excluding the financial strains it brings upon our Samoan people as relayed in the article above. I shared something else with advantages others invest in such as wills and insurances. Besides the point of this article, I want to share what I think of Samoan faalavelave’s.

We mourn differently as Samoans. That’s how the world perceives and measures the level of respect & love vested in the hearts of the family-oriented Samoan people. Some soldiers & workers are only allotted a certain amount of time for leave and/or PTO. Some also endure hardships with AWOL (absent without leave) when they travel home for funerals. It’s hectic but clarification is good.

When you put in that leave request, make sure you thoroughly explain your culture so people can simply understand how Samoan funerals are different and how its preparations are a composition of week long activities prior to the day of the funeral. It almost feels like a systematic tradition. It’s like but barely (due to traditions yielding & meshed with newer practices) an old remedy ancestors used by gathering together to bear gifts for the mourning family. It’s a functional family tradition to support one another – the palagi or anyone outside of Samoan ethnicity call it a will and insurance.

While the will renders rights to funeral coordinators or legal representatives to contact immediate families, subsequently burying or cremating the deceased in less than a week; the Samoan way requires attention to detail and careful planning weeks prior. Word is then conveyed to both sides of paolo(inlaws) & gafa (extended lineages & families).

Families gather accordingly heeding plans from immediate family members, and tasks are then executed. In the Samoan way, for most who don’t have wills, their colors and tasks are usually taken or arranged based on spoken or visionary dialogues – a hint of where they want to be buried or what they loved, fave colors etc. For others, they legally follow a person’s will. While insurance covers everything for others, the Samoan way is quite similar to a tenet merited – a significant must which requires everyone to contribute starting from the high chief of the family down to the youngest village lad or the taule’ale’a – even a person married to an immediate family member. His or her families, or in-laws, customarily partake in the event. In Samoa, you’ll usually hear families refer to them as “paolo ma ni gafa tau tupu, tau i le lagi, o se faamalumaluga ou te malu a’i.” Their purpose is monumental as their contributions also marks 2 vital events in the Faasamoa: 1)Faailoa aiga (inlaws’ recognition of support) 2)Faamatua (fine mats revealing the other family of the children).

Although our traditions are slowly fading in this evolving world, there is but a lot of love and respect for my culture and how it continues to gleam uniquely among its rarity of preserved practices. From Samoan events, there’s little sarcastic slang names procured through the process like aiga basket, aulelei keige ole aiga, su’e mea i faalavelave a isi, makagofie gaoo o le aso, soia le ai savali ma ku, nimo manatu ile lauga, foliga aiu ma faauu, manaia tapenaga, fai vae o pusa elegi and so forth..American Samoa has only one plane that flies twice a week and a round trip ticket is approximately 2grand if lucky with Hawaiian Miles. Those preparations aren’t simply executed but the perfect saying in Samoa that notably ceases hardships is: Many hands and shoulders makes work lighter. O le limalima faatasi ma le so’oso’o tauau e mama ai so’o se avega. That makes the Samoan culture more exceptional along with similar traits of Israel. Like Israel, Samoa ingrains its neighborly villages with matai’s or chiefs as well as families. For instance our pyramids of chiefs are labeled respectively while families are considered Sâ’s – like sä Levî, sã Iutã, as transcribed in the Book of Joshua, relatively like our aiga, families, Sã Pai or Sâ Lafai.

Embrace your Samoan culture with love and share about it with the world so they’ll understand. In case someone is mistaken, nope, aiga basket is not a culture. It’s stupidity. Value original rituals, and practices. They’re fond punaoa, resources and measina, treasures that exhibits our rare but unique Faasamoa. No matter where you travel in this world as a Samoan tamaita’i (female) and tama/ali’i (male), go with assurance and pride in your aganuu, culture, as it entails brief and vital values of who you are without explanation and where your feet touches. That is your faasinomaga.

Now with explicit information on the article shared above, I cannot speak for it as I was born in American Samoa and raised in both Samoan islands. We perceive and see things differently and too often I’ve experienced dialogues of financial strains. For example, having only one ketchup and mayo jar in the fridge the whole year until there’s a faalavelave where families splurge big in foods and gifts as well as monetary donations but face hardships with feeding children.

I agree that the love is there and should always be vested among our traditions, but there should be limited ground. Our Samoan culture is so big and monumental from one family to another, deep roots, lineages and so forth. That is us from the beginning and we cannot hinder what has been a part of us from the beginning as it is with belief that our histories and our genealogies were recited and repeated often so much that we know exactly who we are. Our faasinomaga, which is our place in this world.

What we have to be careful and take note also is the difference between real tradition and evolving, yielding traditions. Meaning, Samoan Fa’asamoa traditions were mere, humble and simple creations of fine mats, and livestock, not money, canned food products and Westernized practices. Some fine mats are now firmly designed with feathers with different unusual decors. Other fine mats are no longer used by Samoan people.

Livestock are becoming rare as canned products and cases are mostly used. Everything has yielded over to monetary gifts which is not part of the Fa’asamoa. The newer generation that struggles with any practices should be speaking up more for it and investing time in faalavelave’s to know, to evoke and compel examples, to inspire and to be the first to set that example where, perhaps our leaders and village councils might take notice in the mou (fading) away of our real Samoan practices and adjust our traditions to the original practices.

12644844_1653986741533600_2266393059249809687_n

Pacific Islander: Current traditions aren’t my ancestor’s traditions…unlearning the past or present?

Pintail Foundation, LynnAlaimalo, AigaSeries, SamoanWriters, traditions and culture

I’ve read several links about dialogues focusing on the topic of unlearning the past. It helped me to analog with current issues that we are undertaking as Pacific islanders.

I’ve found one topic to be true of the nature of a Pacific islander, this is the fact that we have self-woven the traditions that have inhibited our freedoms to be who we are, as indigenous people. Our world, as many believe, is an evolving one that many have chosen to live with what was inserted in their studies about our history, while others may have laid it on the back burner, doing little or nothing at all with. 

As a writer, it was suggested, that it is better to focus on the issues that brought dilemmas to our shores. However, I do feel that focusing on these issues could defeat the purpose as the real message are issues within that require more careful reiteration. Like colonization— a resistance for quite some time that my ancestors experienced through various changes in both Western and Eastern islands of Samoa. Furthermore, change and the overpowering of rights became the key reason among their hopes to rescind past conventions and treaties. However, as the looming theory of changes and rights faded, granted stability procured freedom and cultural structures hence, the original agreements. The question that comes to mind when I think of unlearning the past is: Was this the actual intention of our ancestors or the idealistic gesture of generations that followed?

Let us look at United States Territory of American Samoa, if we reawaken the dialogues of our ancestors, we can understand their thoughts and synthesize from any barriers on their first encounter with Naval commands. Gathered from researches in the Tuaua v United States of America cases; it is believed that the notion of chiefs tendered over the Deed of Cession was that the Samoan people had and would become automatic citizens, and a few agreed that this was the hope of our ancestors. Some say that our Eastern Island chiefs wanted to be independent while expecting zero interference with cultural practices – however, other records indicate further beliefs that according to the chiefs who signed the Deed of Cession, the American Samoan people are automatic citizens. To this day, this continues to be a rather interesting topic for newer generations. The question is, was this a common dialogue passed on by word of mouth or was it a newer approach to eliminate any distraction to the current chief system in place?

For those who believed that our forefathers thought we were automatic citizens after signing the Deed of Cession, the actual signing of the treaty was only the beginning, as they came to realize that this seemed to have been only to replace the original name of the archipelago from Tutuila to American Samoa, leaving the American Samoan people’s status as a United States frontier to remain the same. This meant that those who were born in American Samoa were automatic United States Nationals and not United States Citizens, as they were lead to believe.

If the 14th Amendment is precisely read, it renders a solid understanding that doesn’t include ownership of lands and resources. Natural citizens under a United States soil comprehend that The United States Territory is categorized under “other uninhabited United States soils”, which means American Samoa had been the only country or territory to sit in the same category along with other atolls – these consists of trees, rocks and coral reefs and no human beings on soil – to this present day.  Perhaps, this is just another unlearning needed with regard to the agreement in the 1900’s. However, it’s going to require a great deal of reformation in the systems, as well as the original laws. Whether it was agreed upon by chiefs for American Samoans to become automatic citizens, or the fact that agreement was misunderstood.

Whatever the case, learning about what this Deed of Cession really means perhaps that it could help us unlearn some of the imbalances and discrimination that is now being faced over it.  For Samoan Elders, the future of their children meant more to them than anything, for example in the words of my father: “Do well in school and when you grow up, pursue a great future for yourself. Obtain knowledge, light candles along the way and share your knowledge with the world, as not many of us were fortunate to receive education when we were young.” This is what became my light source and basis of my desire to learn, since leaving American Samoa.

Systems may change all around us, every day, but our practices and culture remain the constant part of us no matter where we migrate to. As Mahatna Gandi once said, “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and soul of its people.” No matter where we are in this world, our culture goes with us and we are the Samoan culture.

If there would be anything I want to unlearn as a Samoan woman, it would be to unlearn the contemporary practices and habits inserted into our way of life as a people. Unlearn that our daughters are to be tamed in duties appropriately good for them in the eyes of another, but sustain the fact that we have to steer cognitively and positively to promote equality where our daughters can become anything they choose to be in work environments and among cultural responsibilities. Steering away from the practice of degrading young women with taboo threats, can build equilibrium among our Samoan people evenly.

I fathom out building bridges and learning about different cultures. Not just our own cultures; or that of our neighbor’s, but every culture as a whole, and on the condition to be able to infuse and share values in building these bridges and equality with anyone in the world, as it would be simply insignificant if I was not allowed the same privilege. I want to unlearn the fact that no one is perfect, keen, holy or beyond anyone, because once we transfer this energy and practice into our children, it becomes a cult and plank in the eye that continues to malinger their paths and approaches in life when they grow. They’ll lose creativity to grow and empower, because the imperfections and labels forced onto them hindered their abilities to grow and be themselves.

Although I am an ocean of my own kind, an ocean of my own genes and upbringing, I know that we are all oceans that’ll in due course need to balance our waves of togetherness. Together, we can make a difference as Samoan people, divided will not define others but ourselves. I always witness how we grasp echoing the wrongdoings going on in the world forgetting about how we’re treating each other as a family. As a people. As a brother and sister. As a Samoan to a Samoan. A wave’s current will always go separate ways, as long as oceans destroys oceans. Together we can accomplish many things, divided we fall and our metaphysical yearnings for just leads nowhere.

My interest in building bridges has always been about equality, empowering and always knowing who I am, while taking on responsibilities elsewhere with an open mind. Personally, I feel that it’s good to be knowledgeable about the inequalities that my people are undergoing, yet, if I choose, to let these inequalities consume and define me, then I’m none other but another person opening up a door to my own intolerant ways of ignorance.

I want to unlearn the fact that while our compass of focus is magnetized on the outer issues, perhaps we must look within at issues of child molestation and sexual assault compounding among neighborly villages. The issues of moetolo’s (night creepers), the neighbor that winks at your 5-year-old daughter on her way to school, the issue that when a young girl has been sexually molested, she is demeaned in every way by her family, while the guilty are free to walk away. We need to unmask the label of disgrace forced upon women. From what I had seen growing up, the greater disgrace does not come from a man getting a woman pregnant, but the woman who gets pregnant from the man. The dose of treatment for the two is completely different. We hear people mutter about it over conversations: She’s pregnant! A sin! Disgrace! That is a greater dysfunction for us, than what the world actually perceive of it.

I want to unlearn about our trending practices of consumption and the overly insinuation of how to splurge the love in fa’alavelave’s or huge life event. We complain about global warming, but we’re so caught up with buying consumption brands that we forget why our nature suffers. Loving our very own does not have to be reflected in who has the biggest contributions of herring cases. These were not the practices of our ancestors, our elders rationed and celebrated with only a few things such as fine mats, and organics- not in bulks of wholesale goods. They believed that sacred covenants among families came from unparalleled relationships and presence. Seeing loved ones there to support them with hands and legs is more suiting than anything one could ever buy, a fine mat and livestock may seem small now, but hearts were content with the practices passed down by our ancestors before our time. All of these practices have yielded over and are quickly being replaced, which is why I ask again: Was this the actual intention of our ancestors or the idealistic gesture of generations that followed?

We are all a combination of chiefly families with vast acclaimed roots – any chief name makes any family high and most especially noble. There were no competitions as to whose chief title was bigger in the past, because at the end of the day, roots became widespread across the islands, and everyone was, in some way or another, related. Since we’re right on this certain part of the discussion, another question comes to mind: Would our ancestors agree with Matai (Chief) Titles being given freely to visitors as gifts or even anyone in our islands under the age of 14 or 15 years of age?

It sometimes feel unusual having my hair hanging over my shoulders. Curled and sprayed to battle the breeze from my car window. I wish I was able to smell that apple fragrance from my Prell shampoo I used growing up, and even better yet, the Lux soap and its beautiful fragranced lather. There’s always this soothing line that ladies hovered sacredly about the Samoan lady with the fine hair being tied back into a bun as a tradition. Yet, upon seeing the circa captures of Samoan belles back in the day in museums when settlers first arrived in the Samoan islands, I began to wonder over their pictures whether these pictures of Samoan women with their hairs down was a tradition back then – needless to mention that cotton fabrics and combs were imported into the islands during colonization as well.

Clothing was woven out of dried Pandanus leaves and Paper Mulberry or U’a, that was also used in making Tapa so very long ago. No cottons. No fabrics. Only later were cottons imported, and thus began the sewing of blouses and skirts, also known as the Puletasi used to wear for a variety of community functions and family events. The basic necessities were provided by visitors, that were welcomed then and have been very much embraced over the years. So, the question I ask again: Can our current traditions and practices even be compared to the older traditions practiced by our ancestors back then?

Lastly, our Samoan Tattoos, or Tatau, one practice of many that is held as a link to our original ways as applied and practiced by our forebears. Most structures as we see now also connect us to demigods in the past.  The old story of Taema and Tilafaiga exhibits a renowned history of tattooing for the Samoan people. Taema and Tilafaiga were sent to Fiji to learn the art of tattooing. Originally, their adventure back to the Samoan islands immediately changed the message of tattooing as it was preconceived by the masters of tattooing. Tattooing was only supposed to be for the women, but during an encounter at sea, the new song sang by the sisters changed from tattooing the women to tattooing the men. To this day, women, men and non-Samoans are all getting the Tatau or Malofie (Samoan Tattoo for Chiefs and their daughters only).

A great deal of disagreements among our Samoan people have questioned a threshold whether Samoan tattoos were ever limited to just Samoan people. However, I am reminded of our practices and also ask, would we rather inspire the world and share our traditions, or the other way around?

It’s interesting how people are curious to learn of the Samoan culture, and the only satisfactory way of explaining this is, the heart of our ancestors shared the love with the simplicity of what was practiced with an open mind for others to learn from us. After all, I like to think of my sacred traditions as a reflection of that shared love, not defined as tight oppression, which would demean who we truly are as a people. To be mindful of the evolving world, while not allowing the world to permeate our practices in any way that would isolate our values which could later be viewed as an abomination.

Our sole purpose as a people should be to focus on the issues and dilemmas within our own circles. As novelist Paulo Coelho once said, “Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers.” We are all oceans that will, in due course, form waves of success together.

My father shared a Samoan fishing proverb which relates to our Samoan culture. “Toe timata le upega,” is a facilitated call to protect the catch from falling out of the upega (net). This relates to our Samoan culture in every way from dangers of influence or extinction. This world is an evolving world, but when we take hold of our traditions and not add in to it, we can save our culture and pass it on to our children the way it was left by our ancestors.

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Marcus Garvey

Pacific Islander: Current traditions aren’t my ancestor’s traditions…unlearning all!

Pintail Foundation, LynnAlaimalo, AigaSeries, SamoanWriters, Unlearning of Culture or Past

I’ve read several links about dialogues focusing on the topic of unlearning the past. It helped me to analog with current issues that we are undertaking as Pacific islanders.

I’ve found one topic to be true of the nature of a Pacific islander, this is the fact that we have self-woven the traditions that have inhibited our freedoms to be who we are, as indigenous people. Our world, as many believe, is an evolving one that many have chosen to live with what was inserted in their studies about our history, while others may have laid it on the back burner, doing little or nothing at all with.

As a writer, it was suggested, that it is better to focus on the issues that brought dilemmas to our shores. However, I do feel that focusing on these issues could defeat the purpose as the real message are issues within that require more careful reiteration. Like colonization— a resistance for quite some time that my ancestors experienced through various changes in both Western and Eastern islands of Samoa. Furthermore, change and the overpowering of rights became the key reason among their hopes to rescind past conventions and treaties. However, as the looming theory of changes and rights faded, granted stability procured freedom and cultural structures hence, the original agreements. The question that comes to mind when I think of unlearning the past is: Was this the actual intention of our ancestors or the idealistic gesture of generations that followed?

Let us look at United States Territory of American Samoa, if we reawaken the dialogues of our ancestors, we can understand their thoughts and synthesize from any barriers on their first encounter with Naval commands. Gathered from researches in the Tuaua v United States of America cases; it is believed that the notion of chiefs tendered over the Deed of Cession was that the Samoan people had and would become automatic citizens, and a few agreed that this was the hope of our ancestors. Some say that our Eastern Island chiefs wanted to be independent while expecting zero interference with cultural practices – however, other records indicate further beliefs that according to the chiefs who signed the Deed of Cession, the American Samoan people are automatic citizens. To this day, this continues to be a rather interesting topic for newer generations. The question is, was this a common dialogue passed on by word of mouth or was it a newer approach to eliminate any distraction to the current chief system in place?

For those who believed that our forefathers thought we were automatic citizens after signing the Deed of Cession, the actual signing of the treaty was only the beginning, as they came to realize that this seemed to have been only to replace the original name of the archipelago from Tutuila to American Samoa, leaving the American Samoan people’s status as a United States frontier to remain the same. This meant that those who were born in American Samoa were automatic United States Nationals and not United States Citizens, as they were lead to believe.

If the 14th Amendment is precisely read, it renders a solid understanding that doesn’t include ownership of lands and resources. Natural citizens under a United States soil comprehend that The United States Territory is categorized under “other uninhabited United States soils”, which means American Samoa had been the only country or territory to sit in the same category along with other atolls – these consists of trees, rocks and coral reefs and no human beings on soil – to this present day.  Perhaps, this is just another unlearning needed with regard to the agreement in the 1900’s. However, it’s going to require a great deal of reformation in the systems, as well as the original laws. Whether it was agreed upon by chiefs for American Samoans to become automatic citizens, or the fact that agreement was misunderstood.

Whatever the case, learning about what this Deed of Cession really means perhaps that it could help us unlearn some of the imbalances and discrimination that is now being faced over it.  For Samoan Elders, the future of their children meant more to them than anything, for example in the words of my father: “Do well in school and when you grow up, pursue a great future for yourself. Obtain knowledge, light candles along the way and share your knowledge with the world, as not many of us were fortunate to receive education when we were young.” This is what became my light source and basis of my desire to learn, since I leaving American Samoa.

Systems may change all around us, every day, but our practices and culture remain the constant part of us no matter where we migrate to. As Mahatna Gandi once said, “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and soul of its people.” No matter where we are in this world, our culture goes with us and we are the Samoan culture.

If there would be anything I want to unlearn as a Samoan woman, it would be to unlearn the contemporary practices and habits inserted into our way of life as a people. Unlearn that our daughters are to be tamed in duties appropriately good for them in the eyes of another, but sustain the fact that we have to steer cognitively and positively to promote equality where our daughters can become anything they choose to be in work environments and among cultural responsibilities. Steering away from the practice of degrading young women with taboo threats, can build equilibrium among our Samoan people evenly.

I fathom out building bridges and learning about different cultures. Not just our own cultures; or that of our neighbor’s, but every culture as a whole, and on the condition to be able to infuse and share values in building these bridges and equality with anyone in the world, as it would be simply insignificant if I was not allowed the same privilege. I want to unlearn the fact that no one is perfect, keen, holy or beyond anyone, because once we transfer this energy and practice into our children, it becomes a cult and plank in the eye that continues to malinger their paths and approaches in life when they grow. They’ll lose creativity to grow and empower, because the imperfections and labels forced onto them hindered their abilities to grow and be themselves.

Although I am an ocean of my own kind, an ocean of my own genes and upbringing, I know that we are all oceans that’ll in due course need to balance our waves of togetherness. Together, we can make a difference as Samoan people, divided will not define others but ourselves. I always witness how we grasp echoing the wrongdoings going on in the world forgetting about how we’re treating each other as a family. As a people. As a brother and sister. As a Samoan to a Samoan. A wave’s current will always go separate ways, as long as oceans destroys oceans. Together we can accomplish many things, divided we fall and our metaphysical yearnings for just leads nowhere.

My interest in building bridges has always been about equality, empowering and always knowing who I am, while taking on responsibilities elsewhere with an open mind. Personally, I feel that it’s good to be knowledgeable about the inequalities that my people are undergoing, yet, if I choose, to let these inequalities consume and define me, then I’m none other but another person opening up a door to my own intolerant ways of ignorance.

I want to unlearn the fact that while our compass of focus is magnetized on the outer issues, perhaps we must look within at issues of child molestation and sexual assault compounding among neighborly villages. The issues of moetolo’s (night creepers), the neighbor that winks at your 5-year-old daughter on her way to school, the issue that when a young girl has been sexually molested, she is demeaned in every way by her family, while the guilty are free to walk away. We need to unmask the label of disgrace forced upon women. From what I had seen growing up, the greater disgrace does not come from a man getting a woman pregnant, but the woman who gets pregnant from the man. The dose of treatment for the two is completely different. We hear people mutter about it over conversations: She’s pregnant! A sin! Disgrace! That is a greater dysfunction for us, than what the world actually perceive of it.

I want to unlearn about our trending practices of consumption and the overly insinuation of how to splurge the love in fa’alavelave’s or huge life event. We complain about global warming, but we’re so caught up with buying consumption brands that we forget why our nature suffers. Loving our very own does not have to be reflected in who has the biggest contributions of herring cases. These were not the practices of our ancestors, our elders rationed and celebrated with only a few things such as fine mats, and organics- not in bulks of wholesale goods. They believed that sacred covenants among families came from unparalleled relationships and presence. Seeing loved ones there to support them with hands and legs is more suiting than anything one could ever buy, a fine mat and livestock may seem small now, but hearts were content with the practices passed down by our ancestors before our time. All of these practices have yielded over and are quickly being replaced, which is why I ask again: Was this the actual intention of our ancestors or the idealistic gesture of generations that followed?

We are all a combination of chiefly families with vast acclaimed roots – any chief name makes any family high and most especially noble. There were no competitions as to whose chief title was bigger in the past, because at the end of the day, roots became widespread across the islands, and everyone was, in some way or another, related. Since we’re right on this certain part of the discussion, another question comes to mind: Would our ancestors agree with Matai (Chief) Titles being given freely to visitors as gifts or even anyone in our islands under the age of 14 or 15 years of age?

At times, it’s strange to feel my hair hanging over my shoulder. Curled and sprayed to battle the breeze from my car window. I wish I was able to smell that apple fragrance from my Prell shampoo I used growing up, and even better yet, the Lux soap and its beautiful fragranced lather. There’s always this soothing line that ladies hovered sacredly about the Samoan lady with the fine hair being tied back into a bun as a tradition. Yet, upon seeing the circa captures of Samoan belles back in the day in museums when settlers first arrived in the Samoan islands, I began to wonder over their pictures whether these pictures of Samoan women with their hairs down was a tradition back then – needless to mention that cotton fabrics and combs were imported into the islands during colonization as well.

Clothing was woven out of dried Pandanus leaves and Paper Mulberry or U’a, that was also used in making Tapa so very long ago. No cottons. No fabrics. Only later were cottons imported, and thus began the sewing of blouses and skirts, also known as the Puletasi used to wear for a variety of community functions and family events. The basic necessities were provided by visitors, that were welcomed then and have been very much embraced over the years. So, the question I ask again: Can our current traditions and practices even be compared to the older traditions practiced by our ancestors back then?

Lastly, our Samoan Tattoos, or Tatau, one practice of many that is held as a link to our original ways as applied and practiced by our forebears. Most structures as we see now also connect us to demigods in the past.  The old story of Taema and Tilafaiga exhibits a renowned history of tattooing for the Samoan people. Taema and Tilafaiga were sent to Fiji to learn the art of tattooing. Originally, their adventure back to the Samoan islands immediately changed the message of tattooing as it was preconceived by the masters of tattooing. Tattooing was only supposed to be for the women, but during an encounter at sea, the new song sang by the sisters changed from tattooing the women to tattooing the men. To this day, women, men and non-Samoans are all getting the Tatau or Malofie (Samoan Tattoo for Chiefs and their daughters only).

A great deal of disagreements among our Samoan people have questioned a threshold whether Samoan tattoos were ever limited to just Samoan people. However, I am reminded of our practices and also ask, would we rather inspire the world and share our traditions, or the other way around?

It’s interesting how people are curious to learn of the Samoan culture, and the only satisfactory way of explaining this is, the heart of our ancestors shared the love with the simplicity of what was practiced with an open mind for others to learn from us. After all, I like to think of my sacred traditions as a reflection of that shared love, not defined as tight oppression, which would demean who we truly are as a people. To be mindful of the evolving world, while not allowing the world to permeate our practices in any way that would isolate our values which could later be viewed as an abomination.

Our sole purpose as a people should be to focus on the issues and dilemmas within our own circles. As novelist Paulo Coelho once said, “Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers.” We are all oceans that will, in due course, form waves of success together.

My father shared a Samoan fishing proverb which relates to our Samoan culture. “Toe timata le upega,” is a facilitated call to protect the catch from falling out of the upega (net). This relates to our Samoan culture in every way from dangers of influence or extinction. This world is an evolving world, but when we take hold of our traditions and not add in to it, we can save our culture and pass it on to our children the way it was left by our ancestors.

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Marcus Garvey
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Moana continues to reign, I’m enjoying every hot ticket in town I can buy….

Pintail Foundation, LynnAlaimalo, AigaSeries, SamoanWriters

 

I watched Moana four times already, and still can’t get enough of the dialogues, songs and story.  My daughter have always grown to appreciate her roots, and the movie is an addition to her pride about being a young Polynesian girl.

So what do I think of this famous Moana movie that has topped Box Office consecutively? One word: AWESOME with the heart-ful O!

Moana is an awesome synopsis with a historic sightseeing of a known past of “who we are” as Polynesian people and who our ancestors were as navigators who read swells and stars, and talented in storytelling. I’m sure there was an aha moment on the captures of indigenous people who survived the oceans and lands for many years.

A set of stones placed by chiefs of the past and Moana’s pink conk shell depicted a significant view of a young, curious female conquering her voyages and later becoming a female chief – something rare in our culture if we go back in years. There are taboos in titles. A female holding a chief title was one. Although she claimed that she was not a princess, Moana still upholds a unique undistinguishable title like that of Elsa’s. Elsa of Norway as the only Disney queen, and now Moana, the matchless, brave female chief with a shell-adorned tuiga (crown only a chief’s daughter wears in Samoa) who believed in the call of the ocean, her ancestors and grandmother.

I love how the characters conveniently posit features and norms of the Polynesian people, that while there were some heated communications before its release about the features of the demigod Maui, the villagers resembled the beauty and posture of the Pasifika people, the importance of preservations and their quality of respect for culture and nature. Tehiti (sp? Tefiti) or the island that turned into a curse or volcano to me is a resemblance of our rising oceans and the climate effects which continues to threaten our islands! It’s a great movie to reverse a message back to the world that global warming is alive and well in the Pacific.

My child loves the ocean. For the long run, I reminded her the importance of water in our lives. Seventy percent of Earth is water, and 97% of the oceans that we fathom fishing and navigating in as Polynesians holds all of Earth’s body of water entirely.

My favorite character was not Maui or Moana, but the person who resembled the groove of a Polynesian islander like the little boy doing the boogey while Moana was conducting a dance lesson among the children.  On a more serious note, the crazy island lady, Moana’s grandmother, is my most favorite character on the entire movie – who exhibited all the qualities and values of upbringing, culture, ancestors and the sacred relationship between young people and elders.

I enjoyed watching Moana, and all the beautiful reminders it brought to always defy the odds as wayfinders while never forgetting who we are.

Fa’afetai Disney! Way to Go Seiuli! Way to go Tevaka! Way to go Auali’i!!

Featured Image: Disney

(Any diet feeds or suggestions? Good Reads) by TIME)This is the Best Way to Prevent Holiday Binge Eating — TIME

Pintail Foundation, LynnAlaimalo, AigaSeries, SamoanWriters

When it comes to holiday weight gain, the problem isn’t just one or two big meals; it’s the drawn-out stream of constant parties, cookies, dinners, leftovers, and “special occasions” throughout the entire season. Even just a few days of overindulging can have real effects—not just on your waistline, but on other ways overdoing it can…

via This is the Best Way to Prevent Holiday Binge Eating — TIME

 

This will be a tough battle to bear for families, as it is mainly a course of action for all on one day in the year to savor all bites for the occasion. Unfortunately, in this little town we’re currently residing in, not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving.

With Native tribal nations adding in to the population count for the city, they prefer to  hunt for deer during the Thanksgiving weekend. There is a belief that since Mayflower settled in Murica back in the days, Native Tribes encountered grief and mischief during their first experience with settlers. Some were killed, and a widespread of massacre occurred during Christopher Columbus’ visit to Murica. With that particular incident, Native Indians do not celebrate Christopher Columbus or Thanksgiving.

As a Samoan, I’ve learned to carry on the traditions of my ancestors – from preparing meals for my family and welcoming friends over for a hot dish. With meals of all sorts added in to my menu – it leaves behind space to add in to the occasional menu of turkey, stuffing, ham and green bean casserole. From my traditional dishes, I will have Samoan chop suey,  taros, bananas, raw fish mixed with coconut milk and plenty desserts from pudding and more.

This year is different however. I am hosting Thanksgiving with my mother and siblings in town. So I’ll be cooking more. I found an important label reading to be a consideration for my cooking. Instead of oily seasonings and butter, I found other ways to paste the turkey as an alternative for healthy eating. It’s an inconvenience especially when it seems different, but it’ll work out well where everyone gets to enjoy all the dishes without catching a food coma after, although it’s impossible not to.

I am looking forward to it and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving with your friends and families!

(Couldn’t have said it better) Sharing this article for GOP & Democrat understanding. I’m Gonna Call Out Your Christianity — femwoc

Pintail Foundation, LynnAlaimalo, AigaSeries, SamoanWriters

You know you are to love by feeding the hungry—but vote to cut food stamps and other welfare programs. . . . You know you are to love by hearing and seeing to the cries of the “least of these”—and yet cast your vote for a man whose character and policies speak to only inflict more political persecution and social anguish on already vulnerable bodies.

via I’m Gonna Call Out Your Christianity — femwoc

This is so powerful!!! My sentiments exactly.

(Great Read by TIME) Astronauts Have Been Celebrating Thanksgiving in Space Since 1973. Here’s How — TIME

Pintail Foundation, LynnAlaimalo, AigaSeries, SamoanWriters

As Thanksgiving approaches, time-honored, turkey-centric celebrations will assuredly take place wherever Americans happen to be come Thursday—even if that location happens to be somewhere in outer space. Celebrating American Thanksgiving on the Final Frontier has been a tradition of the United State’s space program for decades. The first American astronauts to be in space on…

via Astronauts Have Been Celebrating Thanksgiving in Space Since 1973. Here’s How — TIME

I think I still remember watching a NASA video of astronauts living the life on Thanksgiving in space. It was an extraordinary capture, although I couldn’t see myself even lasting a day in space. It was pretty interesting seeing that these plastic bags that looked like IV pouches preserved foods that were floating in the air freely. I thought it was pretty interesting to see how astronauts survive in a whole different realm.

She encountered a large rattlesnake on the way, but Sia Figiel kept going! #WOW

Pintail Foundation, LynnAlaimalo, AigaSeries, SamoanWriters

Back in May of 2016, I received a Facebook message from Sia Figiel – inquiring about a reading opportunity in my local area. Nothing prepared me for a better answer at the time – been that she was an acclaimed name shifted in all of my searches for Pasifika readers – but I said, “Oh sure, yes!”

 

She arrived a week a later after spending three days on an Amtrak train. This whole encounter somewhat felt like Sia was joking in the beginning, hence that there are so many hacked pages on social media and anyone could voluntarily fabricate a page to send messages around. Later, when she called me to say that her train was almost here, I wondered again, “Who am I for someone to sit three days on a train to visit in Wisconsin?” It felt surreal, yet I couldn’t contain my excitement.

 

On the day she arrived, Sia stood at the train stop with her walking sticks when my daughter and I zoomed past the train tracks looking for her. I didn’t cook anything, but a Plan B came in handy as the arrival time, quite usual for transportation of all sorts, brought skepticism with which I thought would be delayed due to some unforeseen circumstances. But she was on time. She stood there calling, “LIGI!!”

 

We sat in a restaurant munching on sweet-sesame flavored Bulgogi beef, string beans, and chow mein noodles later. It was like there was a bright beam among us as we chuckled and conversed on where we were originally from – following an introduction of the nine-thousand population city we resided. She was amazed by the small town and its history of the indigenous people – the Ho Chunk Native Tribe Nation  – who long resided in Wisconsin before other ethnic people were brought via homestead in uninhabited cornfields of the state. Her shocking reaction caught me for a person who has traveled the world. Her trip to Wisconsin is her first ever visit and she was loving everything about this small town of Tomah.

 

So…after reasoning and connecting lineages and puzzles about our families, I asked her, “So…the sticks. Can you tell me something about that?”

 

Sia briefly shared that her new founding inspirational walk was in June and the walking sticks are to be used for her walk across America –  to raise awareness in the fight against Diabetes and Obesity for Pacific Islanders as well as the world. By walking 3,000 miles across America, she’ll be exhibiting a sense of awareness to the Pacific Islanders in a standard approach to address and speak about the effects of the illnesses with Samoan groups and churches scattered across the southern American states.

 

On June 2016, Sia Figiel began her trek with another co-founder of Walking ODDE Warriors, Mario Lemafa from Washington DC. Every struggle, obstacle, adventures and encounters they’ve experienced – while walking on the lonely roads that never ends – gave them something they’ll notably cherish. They’ve met a diverse group of individuals and endured challenges along the asphalts they’ve made their temporary abode during the walk. They’ve explored different realms of behaviors; even welcomed by newfound friends in small towns and cities they’ve settled in for a bottle of water or space in Good Samaritan homes to shelter them by sunset before continuing.

 

Since their journey began, they were able to update fans and supporters on their Live Facebook Page, WOW-Walking ODDE Warriors. I was able to compile all of it for your reading pleasure with a kind request to support #WowWalkingODDEWarriors wherever you are in this world.

 

Sia and Mario’s next stop will be Texas. If you want to follow their trek across America, you can on Facebook via WOW-Walking ODDE Warriors.  They were able to speak at Samoan community groups and several churches since their adventure began. You’ll find updates and galleries of everyone they’ve met while trekking south.

 

Below are all the updates Sia and Mario wrote on their Social Media Facebook Page since they left Washington DC for the Obesity and Diabetes Awareness Walk Across America:

 

 

May 31, 2016 Washington DC

“Please join the W.O.W Team as they leave the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tomorrow Morning at 10am. Please join us and be a part of this powerful moment as we begin our journey, we would be honored if you would walk with us along this journey at your capacity. SO much love and thank you to each and everyone of you for your endless love and support.”

 

June 2nd, 2016 Washington D.C.

“Day 1 diet. Nothing but Humble pie. Blisters at bay. Over packed. Major unloading. Asher I want to be like you when I grow up..You feel me? Hydration 24-7. H2O is King. The kindness of strangers moves me. Thanks”

“Day 2. Protection vs. Future blisters. Need to get in more miles today.”

“Today we’re walking from Alexandria to Dale City, south of here. If you have networks along that way, please give us a holler! Danke schon! Grazie! Malo ‘aupito! Vinaka vaka levu! Mauruuru! Merci! Thank you thank you!”

“mario here: just arrived in Woodbrige, Virginia having walked 18 miles from Alexandria. we left our generous hosts the Slater’s, Bethany and Peter with their blessings in good spirits, encountering people who wished us well along the way. North Virginia for a walker is like climbing a stairmaster at the base of a verdant mountain covered in suburban properties. hill after hill, i felt as the navigator, that my “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance” Capricorn attitude combined with my general sloth calm headed demeanor, would see us both through. unfortunately, my walking partner Sia was injured halfway toward our destination due to illfitting shoes,”

 

June 8th Alexandria, Virginia

“There are moments during this walk when I feel like I’m treading on sacred grounds. I would come across a dead deer and my heart sinks. Or step on green or yellow garden snakes that look so stunning when touched by the sun. Traffic of course is a constant. There are times when we are literally walking on the road alongside the big industrial trucks. Now and then one would honk their horn to show solidarity. Other times it’s an inpatient driver who calls out to get the fuck off of the road. But those are rare and the first of this kind happened yesterday and I reckon he was drunk. The energy you take into a space is the energy that becomes synergized and sustains everything around you. I’ve come to believe this to be true. So many of our interactions have happened because we initiate it ourselves. I mean that’s what this walk is all about, isn’t it?”

 

July 2, 2016 Fayetteville, North Carolina

“we made it in to North Carolina yesterday, exactly a month since we started on June 1st! now in Weldon, we have walked 321 miles. we have met wonderful people on our journey so far and intend to keep it that way. here are some pics from the past two weeks.”

 

July 14, 2016 Sumter, South Carolina

“Sia and i walked through South Carolina the other night. we’ve been waking up earlier and earlier lately due to our destinations increasing in distance. when we left our friend Gene a couple moons ago,”

 

July 27th, 2016 Augusta, Georgia

“Sia and i have crossed into Georgia! had to turn over this fallen sign to find the peach- never really cared for borders anyway. the Carolina’s were good to us, serendipity was our constant even from Columbia into Augusta, the occasional cloud our gift in a sun drenched land, a bounty of colorful and kindly strangers as ripe as the corn fields we passed. from here on out we walk West. 155 miles to Atlanta!”

 

September 4th, 2016- Alabama

“We made it to Sweet Home Alabama!”

 

September 18th, 2016-Florida

“DAY 110: 967.5 miles.
Crossed into our 6th State last Sunday and we’re now in Panama City!, Florida! The Gulf of Mexico is fresh & gorgeous! Swam with joyful noise & salted happy feet! From here on out, we’re heading West! Thanks for your support. U, InvictUS! Always”

 

October 30, 2016-Mississipi

“We made it to Biloxi, Mississippi! W the help of these kind and gentle folks who shared their hearts w us. Much needed mercies after a week of consecutive high mileage on the road. Next destination: New Orleans, Louisiana!”

 

November 12, 2016

“Welcome to Louisiana!”

 

November 17, 2016

“K..to the very sneaky birthday party committee..I did not expect this and yes. I waz surprised like any diabetic who finds out there’s a birthday cake and it’s sugar free, gluten free and you can actually eat it and not go into a coma or take extra insulin for that matter..”

13895403_1169364039802669_5830124116318997808_n

 

After Sia left Wisconsin, I realized how much I’ve learned during her one-week trip here. Moreover, there were several dialogues where she theoretically entertained topics that are precisely worthy to be reminded in anyone’s adventures as an advocate and voice for her people. Clearly from a heroine, Sia enabled my soul to continue growing for our people. And I thank her everyday for that. Because it is also Diabetes Awareness Month (November), I share this with humbleness across the world with hopes that we are taking precautions and maintaining a healthy goal as examples our Pasifika children can sustain now and in the future.

Happy belated birthday literary queen and God bless your journey with Mario! I am vying in prayers to be at your finish line in California welcoming you in with a cooler of water, real food and hugs.

 

 

 

 

 

The heart is an organ of fire, but it reveals what most are in dire need of. #Truth #AMA

Pintail Foundation, LynnAlaimalo, AigaSeries, SamoanWriters

After winning the award for Favorite Female Artist, Selena Gomez delivered an emotional speech to her critics and fans alike.

Her full remarks were:

“In 2014 this stage was actually the first time that I was authentically, 100 percent honest with all of you. I think it’s safe to say that all of you know my life whether I like it or not. I had to stop because I had everything and I was absolutely broken inside. I kept it all together enough to where I would never let you down but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down. I don’t want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what’s in here [holds chest]. I’m not trying to get validation nor do I need it anymore. All I can say from the bottom of my heart is I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be able to share what I love every single day with people that I love. I have to say thank you so much to my fans because you guys are so damn loyal and I don’t know what I did to deserve you. If you are broken you do not have to stay broken. If that’s anything whether you respect me or not that’s one thing you should know about me. I care about people. Thank you so much for this. This is for you.”

A lot of people sell or live off well by portraying something other than themselves. However way they’ve chosen to stand in the market, I think they’ve meaningfully chosen to not be themselves among critics and fans. I think it’s great, however, I can’t find myself ever mimicking a though, notion or another person’s life or accept it as my own life.

It’s okay to have your own theme and product the way fans accept it, but I feel that it’s fairly significant for a person to be who they are always. In the long run, people will value and respect you more for being yourself.

Women will thank and appreciate this in the long haul, Selena!

How the First Woman Was Elected to U.S. National Office, Exactly 100 Years Ago — TIME

Pintail Foundation, LynnAlaimalo, AigaSeries, SamoanWriters

On the eve of the Election Day that will cap Hillary Clinton’s campaign as the first-ever woman nominated for President of the United States by a major party, the U.S. marks an important anniversary in the history that made Clinton’s run possible. It was precisely a century ago, on Nov. 7, 1916, that Montana’s Jeannette…

via How the First Woman Was Elected to U.S. National Office, Exactly 100 Years Ago — TIME

Interesting read, yet it takes one great leader to make a difference and to also remind women, that sky’s not the limit. If Hillary wins, she’ll not only become the first woman President in the United States of America, but also the first Secretary of State and First lady to become a President.

While the ongoing battle in campaign ads continues, there is that feeling of hope, regardless of bygones and issues discussed among people. With insurmountable faith, there is yet still hope for America, that while its citizens are dialoguing among themselves, meme’ing the should’ve’s, could’ve’s and would’ve’s – the whole world observes in riots or in silence the outcome for elections in just two days.

History will play itself, regardless. Whether Clinton or Trump will win, it’s still history playing right before our eyes. I believe Hillary’s going to win. Not because of any doubts or thoughts, but I’ve said it and know it.

Hillary will win, and history will revel among this long cycle of campaigning.