Presentation on theme: "THE SAMOANS By: Shyra Tilley Per.212/4/08. The beginning The Samoans based the existence of their island on the fact that there were heavens above and."— Presentation transcript:
The beginning The Samoans based the existence of their island on the fact that there were heavens above and waters below, and no place to stand. Tagaloa looked down from above and thought he would make such a standing place. This he did, and called the rock he had created manu’atele. So pleased was he with his creation that he thought to make a second rock. He divided the first into little stepping stones- Tonga, Fiji, and other islands- and he tossed these into the sea. Tangaloa returned to Samoa and fashioned a vine to hug all the rocks in the sea. The vine spread and spread, and soon the leaves emerged worms-worms that had no heads nor arms nor true life. Tangaloa gave them these things- arms and legs, heart and head,- and thus made them people. He reached down and took pairs of these new people-one woman and one man-and set each pair upon an island. These islands needed a king, and so he created a king for each of the islands. But then he thought again: there must be a king of kings, one who would be greater than the others. He chose the son of Day and Night to be this ruler. But when the boy was about to be born, Tangaloa saw that the baby was attached to strongly to his mothers womb. The boy was stuck by his abdomen, inside his mother’s body. When he was born, his belly ripped away, and the wound was great. The scattering of the islands that would be his home was thus named Samoa- “Sacred Abdomen”
Introduction and history Samoans are western Polynesian people whose home is about 2300 miles south of the Hawaiian islands. The islands of Samoa are of volcanic origin, with sandy beaches along a coral reef coast. The Samoan islands cover about 12 hundred miles and have a population of bout 193,000. The island chain is divided into two political units.
The Matai Samoan villages are organized around the household and the extended family unit. Each household is headed by a man, the matai, who is responsible for those who live under his roof. Electing a matai is a process of a deliberation that may span weeks, and is often hotly contested. Different branches of the family each have a candidate they wish to put forth, and they offer a variety of arguments to support him. There are generally based on the man’s intelligence, wealth, ceremonial knowledge, previous service to family’s interests, and in recent years, both his years of formal education and his ability to negotiate with Europeans in issues of politics and economics. Once elected the responsibilities of the matai are many. He is expected to provide leadership in all facets of family life. If there is a dispute, he is the arbiter. He encourages warm family relations, offers advice, directs religious participation. He oversees lands, and represents the family in village affairs. His demeanor must be different from his former posture as a man of lesser import.
Chiefs and Talking Chiefs The matai are considered chiefs Talking chiefs are the village orators, and are famed for the exquisite ceremonial speech. In public ceremonies, the talking chief bears the responsibility for all oratory portions of meetings, sports competitions, property and marriage exchanges, and other ceremonies. When exchange parties set out to another village, the talking chief is always in attendance, and upon arriving in the host village, he must recite from memory a highly stylized recitation of salutations.
The Aumaga and the Aualuma The Aumaga builds houses, repairs roads, plants and harvests the gardens, fishes from the coral reef, and cuts coconut meat for sale. They also have to cook and serve food at ceremonies. Unmarried woman have a parallel group called the Aualuma. Like the Aumaga serves the needs of the village by undertaking all of the social, economic, and ceremonial tasks that older chiefs wives can no longer accomplish.
Marriage and family The household of the bride and groom are equally involved in the planning and expense of the wedding They have an enormous feast with guests bringing smaller dishes to contribute The couple walk throughout he village to a church where a religious ceremony is performed then after the gift giving begins Once married the newly wed couple cannot start a new household Samoans have an ambilineal kinship system, they can choose to affiliate with any number of groups through their mothers or their fathers. Where ever the couple reside they are expected to work cooperatively with the rest of the household. In the Samoan culture the elderly are valued by their fellow villagers
The fono The fono, or village council, is the central decision-making forum of the village. Informal gatherings of talking chiefs, which set the agenda for the council meetings, allowing all the matai to know what issues are to be debated and resolved.
property It is the matai who controls the land, in that he holds sway over allocation of plots and the ways in which those plots are used. He does not however have the authority to sell the land or will it to his own children upon death. Family land essentially belongs to the corporate group. The vote on its disposition and work on cooperatively. Land in a Samoan village is divided into four categories. The first is village house lots which contains trees where you can pick fruit, or a taro patch. The second is plantation plots which are outside the village, either on the hills over looking the houses or along the coast. The third is a family reserve section, the plots where taro and yams are cultivated. These plots ay be lent to other villagers, who may use them to grow crops for their own consumption. The village also provides a site for hunting wild pigs and bird. There is also a site high in the mountains where the people can fish.
Cultivation They use the slash and burn method as a source of getting food. Then they use digging sticks to dislodge rocks and loosen the soil for planting. Coconut is the most important crop and the one with the most variety of uses. But despite the value of the coconut the taro is preferred as a food. It is eaten cold and nearly every meal, also breadfruit There are many specialists but no agricultural specialists Village councils set up a work schedule to organize the agricultural life of the community. So if the copra is supposed to be cut on Tuesday, it is easy to spot someone trying to sneak into the bush to steal.
Fishing Unlike cultivation, fishing does have its specialties. These are the Tautai, they captain the 30 foot long outrigger canoes, and sit in the stern of the boat fishing for bonito( A breed of Mackerel) The sign of a skilled tautai is the necessity of many of his crew to swim alongside the boat, on the return trip, owing to the quantity of bonito now occupying their place. They also capture fish in nets, and use dynamite or poison.
Domestic Work In Samoa men are primarily responsible for food preparation, but they are especially involved in cooking traditional meals. When women prepare parts of the meal they provide things such as cake mixes or canned goods which they often cook in modern vessels, among them pressure cookers and deep fryers. In the pat most dishes were prepared in earth ovens, which is when stone are the base, and kindling is lit on top to heat the stones. Another layer of stones is added once the blaze is at its peak, and in less than an hour the embers are removed, leaving hot rocks that can be spread out to accommodate the amount of food to be cooked. Layer upon layer is built, with the leaves acting to prevent the food from burning. The top most layer is a canopy of broad leaves, which serve as a lid, trapping the heat. This method is most commonly used for cooking fish and vegetables When pigs are roasted their preparation is more complex, pork is the focus of ceremonial meals and preparation and division of the meat is of the utmost importance.
The Supernatural Samoan myth tells of the tagaloa gods, the Autua, who live as a family on the top ten mountain tops that form heaven. These gods appear not to have been attended to in the ways in which many people worship their deities. There were no priests who attended them, although matai and talking chiefs might invoke their names at feast and ceremonies. At mealtime, spoken prayers of thanks might be offered. The Autua were the higher level of deities. Beneath them are the Aitu, the spirits of ancestors which are often though capable of wreaking havoc if displeased. They sometimes take human for again, dressing in white and appearing in the night. It is thought that if families are behaving improperly that Aitu will send an illness which is characterized by chills, fever, and bouts of delirious behavior. Curses may be effected by herbal remedies administrated by local specialists. Some Aitu are significant only to a particular family or village, taking the form of birds, fish, or game animals, these often become taboo items for the group that recognizes them as spiritually important.
Religion Samoans were long regarded by other Polynesian people, as having no religion. When Christian missionaries came to Samoa in the early 19 th century they were met with very little resistance. Some chiefs argued that this new religion ought to be quickly accepted, as it brought with it the promise of acquiring valuable material goods. They also thought that war might be prevented by embracing Christianity Christianity was the means to successfully convert entire villages. The church became the focal point of community life Samoa is now almost entirely Christian, but there still remains great affection for and knowledge about their own local spiritual traditions and mythology.