A couple of months ago Deidre Tautua wrote an article for the Samoa Observer about a book launch of Volume Eight of Samoa Ne’i Galo, which was held at the Fale Samoa of the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.).
The book was compiled by the Ministry’s Culture division over many years. Minister of Education Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio said the book is not only important for the kids, but for everyone. “On behalf of the Government, we want to acknowledge the hard work of those who had put this book together. I know it’s not an easy work and also the gathering of the information is not easy, but this is a useful resource to the students,” he said.
Mr Sio added, “This project provides a documented record of our rich heritage and makes possible a rekindling and nurturing of the awareness of and pride in our rich past and culture. I also want to urge the Ministry to not touch or change any of the myths and legends that have been told by the matais (chief) of the villages who are involved. But I believe that later on, the Ministry will hand out the book so the villages that were involved will be able to look at it.”
Volume eight documents 20 legends researched from 10 villages in Savaii, Upolu and Manu’a. “I have also been told that this is the eighth volume of this book, but up until now I still haven’t seen the first, second and third volume, so hopefully the Ministry still has copies so that we can advertise,” Sio said. “And hopefully the Ministry will give out copies to all the school and not let these books sit on their shelves.
“So thank you to all who have worked and compiled this project so that our children can understand the myths and legends of our country as well as its meaning and how it is useful to them.”
According to the statement from M.E.S.C., the challenges of this program and safeguarding our oral history through documentation, involve issues of ownership as well as the reluctance of our people to tell the stories and legends pertaining to their villages and families to outsiders. This work continues with research and documentation of volumes nine and 10 already underway.
The project is an initiative of the Government of Samoa who funds it with assistance from U.N.E.S.C.O. This research program has documented 160 legends so far. The Samoa Ne’i Galo Series is a teaching resource and is available to the public through M.E.S.C. and our local bookshops.