SAMOA
ORIGIN OF NAME, THE PEOPLE, NAVIGATORS ISLANDS,
LANGUAGE, RECEPTIONS AND INSIGNIA OF RANK   

Numerous legends have been created about the first people who populated the islands, and the origin of the name Samoa. These legends, with several versions of each, have been handed down through the generations.

Apparently, the legends were concocted to establish the claims of different islands, or the names were made up to fit each contradictory legend. Evidently Samoans have never agreed, do not agree now, and never will agree on this point. However, all of these legends, regardless of their origin, are fantastic and very amusing.

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For example, some claim that the islands of Samoa were rolled down from heaven by the Great God Tagaloa. Others contend that the islands were drawn up from the bottom of the ocean by means of fish hooks, while others are equally as positive that the islands were pushed up from the ocean bed by the cuttlefish, Feepo, who exclusively own the lower region of the sea, which was known as Sa-le-Fe'e (region of the cuttlefish).

                   

They are all very interesting, though not scientific. However, they serve well to indicate the primitive mentality of many of the people. As to the origin of the Manu's Group, there seems to be special version that is popular among their own group of chiefs. They believe in the legend that Tagaloa, the Heavenly Being and god of the universe had two children, a son named Moa and a daughter named Lu. Having married, Lu had a son who was also named Lu, after herself. One night while Tagaloa was asleep, he heard his grandson Lu singing a chant, "Moa-Lu, Moa-Lu." After a while he would change the names, chanting, "Lu-Moa, Lu-Moa" putting his own name first and "Moa," his uncle, last. Tagaloa hearing this became very angry. He considered the lad very presumptuous. The idea of his grandson trying to make himself more important than his uncle Moa moved Tagaloa to make the correction. Tagaloa at once ordered his grandson to do a favour for him and scratch his back. As Lu was starting to do this, Tagaloa seized the boy and started to beat him with the handle of his fue (flapper).   

Young Lu was frightened, and escaped and came down to earth. Tagaloa sternly warned Lu when he was with him for the last time to always remember to honour Moa in all he did. Whatever he did or owned should be kept sacred for Moa. On earth Lu remembered his grandfather's stern warning and named his new abode "Sa-ia-Moa," which means Sacred-for-Moa. Sa-ia-Moa was condensed to Samoa.

The people of Manu'a contend that this legend is absolutely true. As proof of its veracity, they point to the fact that "Moa" usually means center or chicken but it is never used in Manu'a to mean this. Chicken to them is "manu," not "moa." Furthermore, the word "Moa" is the family name carried by the holders of the king's title, Tuimanu'a.

THE PEOPLE

Samoan legends all agree on one point, and that is that Tagaloa-Lagi (Tagaloa of Heaven) was the supreme being who created things in the beginning. The Maoris speak of their ancestors as having come to New Zealand by canoes. Possibly those canoes were from other Polynesian Islands. The striking similarity of languages spoken in different Polynesian island groups which are thousands of miles apart allow us to think of the Polynesians as a racial unit. The names "Tagaloa" (known in other Polynesian groups as Tagaroa) and "Maui" are often attached to the legends of all Polynesia. It is curious and significant that the language relationship between the outlying or marginal groups of the Polynesian Triangle are closer than are those with groups near the center. A Maori from New Zealand and an Hawaiian can understand each other, and both can follow the conversation of natives in various Tuamotu islands.

There is a general opinion among some writers, according to the history of Tonga, that the ancestors of the Polynesians lived in Asia. Some think that the Tongans are descended from people who lived in Arabia, and thus they are related to the Hebrews, who had rules of tabu (taboo), and other customs like the Tongans. However, most Tongans believe they came from Samoa for these reasons: The name "Tonga" means South, and it is believed that the name was given because the Tongan group is south of the old island home, Samoa. The languages of the two groups are also very similar.

Strange as it seems, the ancient Samoans maintain that they came directly from Heaven. Presumably, this is one reason why the Samoans are so proud. Tell a Samoan that he originally came from a foreign land, and you will immediately lose his friendship. To him it is an insult. Members of the royal lines of Tuiatua and Tuiaana are always addressed as "Tupua," meaning god or idol. The title "Tapaau Faasisina" that is exclusively King Malietoa's is also suggestive of the deity. Literally translated, it means "White God." The term "Tapaau i le lagi" (God in Heaven) is often used in church for prayers and sermons, as well as in ceremonial addresses by noted orators.

Dr. Peter Buck, the world-famed Polynesian anthropologist, connects the migration of the Polynesians with that of the Asiatics. Samoa was said to be their central location. From there they travelled in large canoes in all directions and populated the other islands of Polynesia. He claims Malayans are affiliated with the Polynesians. Similarity of languages, customs and traditions, as well as the natural growth of the same trees and plants tie the Polynesians to the Malayans.

Thor Heyerdahl, the internationally famous explorer and author of the wide seller Kon Tiki, lends support to the theory that the Polynesian islands were peopled by pre-Inca dwellers from South America. His scientific findings were made when he and his five companions set out from the coast of Peru on a balsa-log raft, constructed after the pattern known to the pre-Colombian Indians. The daring and dramatic journey made in 1947 took 101 days, as they drifted with the currents until they landed safely in the Tuamotus. The journey demonstrated, he believes, beyond any doubt, that the pre-European inhabitants of South America (the Indians) could have reached Polynesia. To support this thesis, Mr. Heyerdahl has assembled an impressive accumulation of evidence indicating that the seafaring Polynesians crossed the Pacific in their canoes. He argues at length that there was a caucasoid strain in the early Indian population, because there is a very close resemblance in their features, also that sweet potatoes, coconuts and bananas are said to be native plants of South America. Other writers have also called attention to the fact that burial of personal valuables with the dead, as well as performing death feasts in Polynesia, is a typical custom and tradition of the Indians. Their wailing during funerals and death ceremonies is also identically the same.

In support of the theory that such migration from South America could have taken place, reference is made to a test of the ocean current made by the United States Government in 1903 in the Pacific Ocean. Several sealed bottles were dropped into the water along the west coast. In the sealed bottles was information in several languages instructing the finders of these bottles to record the date, location and name of the finder when any of these bottles was found. It also made a request that they report the finding to the department of the government concerned. One of these bottles was found by Miriama Touli (an aunt of Dr. Kipeni Su'apa'ia) at Salelologa, Savaii, Western Samoa, one Saturday afternoon while she was fishing on the reef at low tide. The rare-looking bottle was taken ashore by the finder. Coincidentally, on the next day, which was Sunday, the Touli family was visited by a citizen of the United States, who was then the President of the Latter-Day Saints Mission in Samoa. When the bottle was broken on the advice of Elder Martin F. Sanders, the instructions contained therein were immediately carried out. Apparently, Mr. Heyerdahl drifted southwest following the course of the bottle over forty years later. Other bottles from similar tests are said to have been found in Fiji since then. The tests proved, beyond any doubt, that the ocean current runs directly from the west coast of North and South America toward the islands of Polynesia. The east-to-west wind blows almost daily in Samoa.

Numerous arguments based on language, culture, current and wind have not yet brought the explorers, anthropologists, scientists, archaeologists and the most capable historians of Polynesia anywhere near an agreement as to the original home of the Polynesians. The Samoans claim that they are the indigenous inhabitants of their islands. In view of the contradicting opinions on the subject, it shall be pointed out only the natives' view, based on their legends as handed down through several generations.

It is to be expected that sooner or later the world scientists in their study of the bottom of the oceans will reveal submerged islands and continents in the Pacific. The world-known Pago Pago Bay in Tutuila, American Samoa, is proven beyond doubt to have been formed by an ancient crater. Boulders of solid coral and lime are found on several hills in Hawaii, and sand is found in several valleys far inland in several islands of Polynesia. There are several scientists who contend that the islands of Polynesia were parts left intact of the continent Lemuria which submerged in the midst of the Pacific. The Samoan word "Lii" scientifically means a group of stars, known as Pleiades. The vowel "a" in Samoan means "of". The word "Alii" then should mean "of stars." This again points favourably to the opinion of the Samoans, that their Aliis (Chiefs) originally were heavenly beings incarnated on earth. They know of no legends stating their migration from any other part of the world. 

Legends record continuing contacts between the people of Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, Uvea and "Islands of the East" by canoes. This proves that current and wind did not make navigation impossible. For generations the seamen of Samoa followed their course during the day by the position of the sun, and at night by the stars. On entering a channel, even in the darkest night, they would count the waves and steer their canoes safely in and out to open sea. A modern compass then would have been unnecessary. They are proven navigators and seamen of skill. Thus the name "Navigators Island" was well-earned and properly applied. The Samoans say that nothing could prevent them from sailing in their large canoes northeast to South America and southwest to Malay.

It is an acknowledged fact that when a people migrate from their native land they will eventually lose part, if not all, of their own culture, as well as their own traits and characteristics. A change to a new environments in a new location tends to change their usual way of living and even their language. It was not so with the Samoans. When the first white man discovered Samoa, the Samoans had then, as they do now, their own kings and chiefs. Their ancient social functions have never been changed, even by the introduction of modern laws and foreign forms of government. Their refined chief language and common everyday dialect is the same now as it always was. The Samoans deified their chiefs in the past and they still consider them today as divine beings on earth, and they are honoured as such by the people. The great power and influence of the kings and chief council throughout thousands of generations in the past served to keep Samoa a united and happy people. They are naturally kind, reverent and loyal. There is not the least doubt that it will continue to be the same in the islands as long as there are any Samoans in Samoa. 

NAVIGATORS ISLANDS

History states that the greatest surprise to the discoverers of Samoa was the large fleet of canoes that swarmed around their ships. "Navigators Islands" was he name appropriately applied by these first white men. For many generations before Samoa was discovered, the Samoans travelled from island to island in home-built canoes. Considering the fact that metal tools were not introduced until several years after the discovery of the islands, it is miraculous how the Samoans could build their large, double, war canoes then. It is still a mystery how it could be possible to build so many varieties of canoes with only stone adzes and sea shells. Undoubtedly necessity has forced many generations in Samoa to work hard to accomplish many things. It is believed to be true that the natives used fire extensively in the building of their canoes. Cutting of large trees for logs were said to have been done by burning.

Alia (double war canoe) is built with a deck joining two large canoes together. An alia could hold three hundred or more men conveniently. Cooking by heated rocks, as Samoans do on land, enough foods to feed a whole village can be easily prepared aboard the alia. Alia is the battleship of the Polynesians. The whole body is made of wood planks joined together by means of tying the planks together on the joints with coconut fibre sennit, using the breadfruit sap as pitch for calking to make it water tight. Modern shipbuilders have been amazed, and have wondered how it could be possible to have such a large ship without the use of an electric saw. They are made by hand and not a single metal nail is ever used. The alia is used for transporting warriors from one island to another. Its large sails are made of mats. Large lalis (wooden drums) are always carried on board for signals and entertainment. It was a scene that can never be forgotten when the last alia to float in Samoan waters passed Tuasivi, Savaii. The war canoe was then on its last trip to Mulinuu, Upolu, where it is now preserved by the government for tourist attraction.

Taumualua (two bows) is next in size to the alia. It is built in the shape of a modern whale boat. Either end can be the bow; hence its name. These were built by well-to-do families and used extensively for malagas (travel). They are made of light planks joined together, like that of the alia. Taumualuas are propelled by paddles and can be steered from either end.

Vaaalo (bonito canoe) is a sport canoe. It is streamlined and made light for speed in order to catch bonito (tuna). When seagulls are sighted at the horizon, the fleet of vaaalo races to the scene and drop their pearl lures to the school of tuna. In season canoes are filled with tuna and the villages feast well. The crew of the vaaalo is limited to four. Some can only carry two paddlers safely. These are streamlined canoes and are usually decorated with seashells and pearls at the bow and stern. Tuna fishermen of Samoa use no live baits to attract the school. They race ahead of the school using their pearl baits which are attached to the lines on bamboos. "Atu e!" ("A bonito!") is shouted from almost every canoe of the fleet as soon as they have reached the school, and each fisherman hooks a tuna. The fun begins and the joke is on the crews who cannot keep in speed and arrive later. When the school is sufficiently attracted by the shiny baits, they usually stay there just to be hooked and the sport shout from the whole fleet is suggestive of a chorus chanting in crescendo. The act is continued until the fishermen cannot hold any more tuna in their vaaalos. Before the fleet returns home the highest chief there would call all the fishermen together to feast on the raw tuna, and they share their catch with the less fortunate ones, if any, in the group. Bonito-catching is the sport of the chiefs which is very popular all over Samoa. In the villages tuna is first served to the chiefs in the guest house, and when there is any surplus it is served to the families. Vaaalo is also built, like the alia, with light planks.

Soatau (war aid) canoe is next in size. It is hewn out of a log and can carry three or more paddlers. It was always used during war to carry provisions, warriors and spies under the cover of night. Hence its name Soatau, which literally means "help in war." It is a big canoe with a large outrigger. In peacetime it is used mostly for carrying freight.

Paopao (canoe) is the smallest of canoes, and is mostly used by the family. Like the soatau, it is made of one log hewn to the desired size. Some are made especially light so as to make it possible for one person to carry it alone to and from the sea.

Some people who sketch, paint or engrave from their imagination, seriously err in showing the Samoans pulling their paddles, as the European oarsman pulls his long oar. The paddle is only about four feet long and has a shovel-like sharp point. The paddler faces the bow of his canoe. As he digs in he sends water flying behind him, as he makes a speed of seven miles or more an hour. The more paddlers, the greater the speed.

It is an acknowledged fact that the Samoans are among the greatest of seamen. Their proved ability in sailing and paddling their canoes in the roughest of sea and darkest of night, even without the aid of a compass, in and out of the dangerous channels, is a marvellous work and a true mark of genius. Samoa has surely earned her title, "The Navigators Islands."

LANGUAGE
 
The language used by the chiefs of Samoa is very poetical and figurative. Symbolic phrases are used lavishly in speeches during ceremonies and political debates. The everyday language is used by all, including the chiefs during personal conversations and at home. However, it is good manners to address the chiefs and elderly persons politely at all times, especially if they are strangers or visitors. Correct salutation should be used at all times in speaking to chiefs, church ministers and government officials.
 
Ancient poems and chants sound meaningless to those who do not speak the chief language. The meanings intended by the orators in public speaking, and also by the composers and authors of chants and island songs, are often misinterpreted. Errors that have appeared in some popular writings were caused by misinterpretation of intended points by unqualified interpreters. Literal translations sometimes reverse the meaning intended. Note the following Samoan-to-English translation: "O ia o le tu'ua i le nuu." Literally, it means: "He is the last one left in the village." The correct interpretation according to the intended meaning is: "He is the most capable orator in the village." "Ia mamao ni ao taulia ma ni tootoo gausia." Literally it means, "May dark clouds be kept far off and the wand of authority be not broken." The often-used term means, "May sickness spare the High Chiefs and death pass over the Orators."
 
Strangers have remarked that the difficulty in Samoa is not in finding a chief, but in finding a common man. Apparently the comment by the visitor was caused by his having little or no knowledge of the Samoan language. For instance, the word Alii (chief) also means lord, sir or gentleman. It is not unusual in the courtesies of everyday conversation for all men to call each other Alii. Even little boys address each other by using the word Alii just as papalagi (white) boys would say, "Yes, Sir; No, Sir; Gentleman," etc. Chiefs are very courteous and you will always hear, in formal as well as in informal gatherings, such formalities as may be translated into English as: king, prince, high chief, under chief, or talking chief So-and-So. Instead of the plebeian "you," it is "Your Majesty," "Your Royal Highness," "Your Excellency" or "Your Honour." 
 
The following are few of the words as used in chief and everyday language:
 

English

Chief Language

Everyday Language

     

head

ao

ulu

hair

lauao

lauulu

eye

fofoga

mata

teeth

oloa

nifo

hand

aao

lima

see

silasila

vaai

hear

fafofoga

faalogo

speak

saunoa (to chief)

 

 

fetalai (to orator)

tautala

eat

taumafa

'ai

bathe

'au'au (to chief)

 
 

faamalu (to orator)

ta'ele

house

maota (to chief)

 
 

laoa (to orator)

fale

die

tu'umato (to chief)

 
 

maliu (to orator)

eti

food

mea taumafa

mea ai

     
There are fourteen letters in the Samoan alphabet, they are:
A,E,I,O,U,F,G,L,M,N,P,S,T,V.
 
In the pronunciation of native words observe the continental sound of the vowels:
 

A

 - as in the English Ah

E

 - as in the English Education

I

 - as in the English It

O

 - as in the English So

U

 - as in the English Pull
 
Spelling is in accordance with the phonetic sound of the word, with no double consonant. A vowel can be either before or after a consonant, and they can be doubled or tripled, viz., fou (new), faaola (save), etc. The "ng" sound, as in sing, is written with the single letter "g". The written word "Tagata" is therefore pronounced as if written - tangata.
 
There are no sounds, as in the English, for b, d, h, x, j, z, ch, sh, wh, st, ts, dr, br, and pl. For ph, the Samoans use F, H., K and R are only used in biblical names and foreign words recently introduced and used. K is carelessly used in the place of T, but several graduates from parochial schools speak correctly and use T in their pronunciation as it appears in the written language.
 
Construction of the Samoan language, as in all other dialects of Polynesia shows:
 
a. The adjective following the substantive.
b. Number indicated by a change in the article.
c. The possessive pronoun preceding the noun.
d. The nominative following the verb.
e. Time indicated by a preceding particle.
f. The passive formed by a suffix.
Foreigners note with interest the great similarity in the various Polynesian dialects. The following are eight words as spoken by eleven of the best-known branches of Polynesia:
 

English

Sun

Moon

Star

Cloud

         

Samoan

La

Masina

Fetu

Ao

Hawaiian

La

Mahina

Hoku

Ao

Maorian

Ra

Marama

Whetu

Kapua

Tahitian

Ra

Ava'e

Fetia

Ata

Tongan

La'a

Mahina

Fetu

Ao

Niuean

La

Mahina

Fetu

Aho

Rarotongan

La

Malama

Etu

Ao

Marquesan

Oumati

Mahina

Fetu

Ao

Manahikian

La

Marama

Fetu

Ao

Fakaofoan

la

Masina

Fetu

Ao

Niuan

Ra

Marama

Fetu

Poa

 

 

 

 

 

English

Heaven

Rain

Lightning

Thunder

         

Samoan

Lagi

Ua

Uila

Faititili

Hawaiian

Lani

Ua

Uwila

Hikili

Maorian

Rangi

Ua

Uira

Whaititili

Tahitian

Ra'i

Ua

Uira

Patiri

Tongan

Langi

Uha

Uhila

Faijijili

Niuean

Langi

Uha

Uhila

Paku le Lagi

Rarotongan

Langi

Ua

Uila

Mangungu

Marquesan

Ani

Ua

Uia

Fatutii

Manahikian

Langi

Ua

Uira

Faititiri

Fakaofoan

Langi

Ua

Uila

Faititili

Niuan

Rang

Ua

Vashiri

Ngulungulu

         
Vulgar language is seldom heard. Using the deity's name in swearing and "cussing" is never heard of among the Samoans, unless it be in a foreign language by foreigners or by the few who speak English. The worst swearing or "cussing" a native does is calling someone a dog, a beast or a servant. "May you be baked in the oven," "May you be drifted to the Hades," or "May Moso (a ghost) consume you," are mostly heard when parents scold their children.
 
Gentleness and meekness are characterized in the language of Polynesia. With such great similarity, anyone would naturally conclude that once upon a time they all lived happily together until they were spread out and populated the islands of the Polynesian Triangle. "E iloga te tamaalii i lana tautala" ("The nobilities are identified by their speech"), is an old but still popular phrase in Samoa which is self-explanatory. Parents start early to instill in the minds of their children the importance of always speaking politely. It is because of this that the islands of Polynesia are known worldwide for the hospitality and courtesy of their people. In the air and at her beautiful beaches and villages, "Love" is indeed contagious. It is the key and magic word of Polynesia. Whether it is greeting or farewell, it matters not. It is either Ofa! Alofa! Aroha! Talofa! or Aloha!
 
RECEPTIONS
 
Samoans are fond of going on malagas (trips). The receptions in the villages are enjoyed by the hosts and guests alike. Entertaining village guests are occasions of feasting and merry-making. Long before the first missionaries arrived in Samoa, the Samoans had a code that was surprisingly similar to the Golden Rule. They always believed that it is more blessed to give than to receive. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," was practised by the people long before the New Testament was translated into their language. A similar proverb has been quoted in Samoa centuries: "E tupu auafa avea i lo auafa teu pea." ("Goods given make quicker return than goods held.") The Samoans are taught in childhood that giving is a blessing and not a loss. A traveller is invited, as he is passing a home, to come in to rest and to eat. It is very seldom that anyone plans to accumulate wealth for the comfort of his family while others are in want. It is honourable to give, they think. Because of this, it is ill-bred in Samoa to offer guests anything but the best.
 
The chief's home and guest house are shrines and places of refuge for strangers and villagers alike. "E iloa le tamaalii i le tauvale iai o tagata" ("Cordial receiving of strangers is a mark of nobility") is an old memory gem of the chiefs. The rule in the guest house is, "Be kind to anyone and everyone." Arrival of guests in a village is very exciting. All chiefs among the guests are formally received in the High Chief's guest house by the village council. According to custom, every member of the village chief council brings with him a dried root of 'ava (piper methisticum) which he presents to the High Talking Chief of the visiting group. Formal acknowledgment of the 'ava presentation is announced by him as he greets the village chiefs. This is followed by the formal welcome speech by the orator of the village. In the meantime the village maid (Taupou) and and young men of the visiting group would be pounding and mixing the royal drink. After the orator of the visiting group replies to the welcome speech from the village, the whole assembly joins in clapping of hands as ordered b the 'ava announcer that the royal drink "is being prepared and ready to be served," which he announces at the top of his voice. The "cup of friendship" is then filled and served by the attendant according to the ranks of the chiefs of both parties. In the regular and well-guarded system, the visiting high chief drinks first and the village High Chief is served last. All the other chiefs in the assembly are served between. Only known capable men serve as announcers. An error in serving the lesser chiefs before the higher chiefs has often caused bloody battles.
 
Elaborate king's 'ava receptions are held in open air on historical ceremonial grounds where chiefs assemble during the crowning of a king or receptions for dignitaries such as a king, prince or president from any nation in the world. The attendants for the occasion are selected from the highest chiefs of the islands and a few of the high talking chiefs. The ceremony is called to order by the carrying of the large 'ava bowl from the other end of the village. It is done in warlike fashion. No one dares interrupt, cross or stand idly in the path of the attendants as they pass on their way to the malae (public ground) where the king and the dignitaries are assembled. Very often in the past, ignorance was not excusable and offenders would be killed.
 
Usually a hundred or more high chiefs serve as attendants. They would be in full regalia, each wearing a headdress. From the ranks of the high chiefs are also selected two or more orderlies. They would see to it that strict reverence is observed by all present. Children are not allowed on the grounds, and those attending are not allowed to stand, but must sit cross-legged on a mat or lawn. On both sides of the attendant who mixes the drink sit the attendants in formation, strictly motionless until the announcer declares the 'ava ready to be served when they would all join the entire assembly in clapping hands. The king is first served the 'ava and other royal guests and high chiefs who came to join in the celebration are served according to their rank. Originally, chewing of the 'ava root by all the attendants was the only way allowed in the formal preparation of the ceremonial drink. Modernism has changed the ancient custom for the sake of sanitation. All 'ava roots prepared for receptions now are either grated or crushed by pounding between two stones.
 
 
Kings have their own aumaga (attendants) who serve in formal 'ava receptions and other ceremonies in the king's own dominion. These groups of kings' attendants are known by their own group names. Their position is greatly honoured all over Samoa. In most of the cases when it is an affair arranged by the governments and that more than one king are to be present, the attendants are selected from the high chiefs and orators. The kings, as well as their attendants, always consider the rights of others, and when their place is taken by the high chiefs on special occasions they consider it an honour and they gladly cooperate. The set protocol of serving the 'ava according to rank is strictly followed in all occasions. Apparently it has served to avoid confusion and disrespect.
 
A feast in Samoa is usually very elaborate. Little consideration is given to the amount of labour and cost involved. In government celebrations to serve more than one hundred roast pigs is quite common. In the villages during preparation for weddings, chief's initiation, funerals and anniversaries, relatives from great distances all over the islands come to join by contributing ietogas (fine mats), pigs, money and labour. This spirit of giving in order to help is a trait by which the Polynesians are well known in the world. The family tie is, to the Samoans, a sacred heritage. The uniting and working together during festivals serve as family reunions. It is there where they come to know each other better.
 
The Samoans are a proud people and cannot afford to have it said that they did not supply enough food at a feast. Members of the chief council give their lives willingly in the protection of their village and individual rights as prescribed in their codes. False doctrines and claims often made by undermining chiefs are immediately corrected. The experience of Samoa is the same as that of other countries and people according to history. Little men grasping for power often scramble for personal advantages. They an discontent for political prestige. Evidently they were responsible for several of the wars recorded in the history of Samoa.
 
TITLES AND HEREDITARY RIGHTS
 
The chief's name is different from his 'ava title. Lesser chiefs and orators are served in 'ava ceremonies by their matai (chief) names as they do not carry 'ava titles. It is a mark of distinction in chief assemblies. Most of the chief names and 'ava titles were originated to commemorate past heroic acts performed by the chief's ancestors, and they have been handed down and recognized in the chief circles for hundreds of generations. Most of these names were awards from the kings or the chief council to which the chief now belongs. These chief names are supplemented by able orators with the names of other meritorious acts performed by other holders of the title in the past, since the inauguration of their first chief. Thus, a chief can be addressed legally by other titles by which his family is well known. These hereditary rights were strictly guarded by the holders of the titles since the time when they first had a chief appointed. Although the orators are specifically assigned the duty of representing the high chiefs and village in social functions and they originally did not carry 'ava titles, some of them now carry 'ava titles awarded to them by their high chiefs and chief council, for their ability and wisdom in the directing of the affairs of their village and district. They are often addressed as "high talking chiefs." In less important village functions, other orators re directed y their head to perform. The system gives every member of the chief council a chance to progress. It is in this way that they educate and train substitutes.
 
In the selection of a new chief, one must first be voted on favourably by his family before the day of his inauguration. When he is first introduced to the chief council he is seated in his proper place in the guest house, according to the rank of the title that he is about to receive. Several speeches of congratulations and admonition are made by members of the council, to which he replies and promises his ever-loyal support, and says that he will sustain all the chiefs in their action on matters that will be for the prosperity and blessing of the people. If he is a high chief, the announcer will call his 'ava title as he drinks his first 'ava with the chiefs. He drinks first in the ceremony that would make him a chief for a lifetime. The council then is asked to remain and join the village in a feast prepared by his family for the occasion.
 
Kings are not classified as chiefs. They are monarchs of groups of islands, dominions and political districts, composed of several villages. They are not members of the chief councils in the villages where they reside. Very often foreigners write about the kings of Samoa as high chiefs. This error is caused by their ignorance of he affairs of the people. Kings only act on political matters involving all of Samoa or their own particular dominion. They are recognized in Samoa by Samoans as kings and never as chiefs.
 
In general political gatherings, when all the islands are represented and participating, it is very difficult for an orator to address the assembly by their individual salutations. It is impossible even for the most capable orator to do the job thoroughly in order not to omit a title and offend someone. For this purpose it has been established in the system to address the chiefs by either groups, district or island. Chiefs present in such gatherings from the districts and islands do not feel slighted or offended, knowing that they were included in the address under the popular salutation of the district of island to which they belong. It is not unusual for the orators to add more to these general salutations in order to assure better results on propaganda or reconciliations.
 
The kings aumaga (attendants) are known as a group by their own exclusive titles. they also have Sa'o-tama'ita'is (maids of honour). The kings then are addressed by their royal titles, and honoured with an 'ava title, and also served by his aumaga and Sa'o-tama'ita'i.
 
The High Chiefs also have Chief titles, 'ava titles, men attendants and a village maid. Their rights and privileges are honoured in their own villages and when they are guests in other villages and districts. To know the "Who is Who" in Samoa and the owners of the different titles is knowing Samoa. It is the key to many privileges in the islands.
 
INSIGNIA OF RANK
 
Just as there are different countries in the world, so are there different languages, customs and traditions. Samoa is no exception. Things that are sacred to some people may be insignificant to a Samoan. There also some ceremonies that are sacred in Samoa that might be considered as barbaric by foreigners, who never have lived the life or participate in the solemn rituals of Samoa. Although they may have not contributed to the general uplift of mankind, they should be considered as part of the pattern that moulded the Samoan characteristics and made them loving, considerate and devoted to their chiefs, and made them as kindred to each other through hundreds of generations. They have inherited and retained the fine traits for which the whole Polynesian race is widely known.
 
Insignia of rank in Samoa, though simple, are honoured and respected by all. The right to wear a Tuiga (headdress) and dance with the Nifo-oti (goat-horn-shaped sword) is exclusively for the high chief and his family to be used during village and district functions. The right to use a Tootoo (staff of authority) and a Fue (Flapper) is that of the talking chief. The high chief, if forced by circumstances to employ a substitute for an incompetent orator, uses the talking chief's staff and flapper himself, with even more honour and distinction.
 
The Pale Fuiogo (mother-of-pearl headband) is used in the place of the headdress, mostly on less important occasions. The headdress is made of selected, blonde, human hair, with four or more decorated stems in the center, above the forehead. Formerly, mother-of-pearl was used exclusively for the headband at the base over the forehead. Since the arrival of the white man, glass was introduced and used with imported pearls as a decoration on the headdress.
 
The Nifo Oti was formerly made of wood, carved and decorated. It is now made of silver-plated steel with a wooden handle. The orator's staff is like a long walking-cane made of hardwood, six to seven feet in length. The Fue is made of special, long coconut fibers and a handle made of ironwood or foot or so in length. The Fue is made of special, long coconut fibers with a handle made of ironwood a foot or so in length.
 
Kings Malietoa, Tuiatua (Mataafa), and Tuiaana (Tamasese), if they had yielded to several suggestions during he Tripartite Government, that they change from native to European royal dress, their present successors would now appear like kings of other countries. The kings were then greatly honoured by their own native dress and saw no advantage nor need of a change. As their ancestors, the present kings of Samoa cling to their native dress which is comfortable in their own climate. It is only when they are in their offices and for church on Sunday that they attire in lavalavas, coats and ties. In formal evening parties they usually appear in tuxedos. Samoan dress is not only comfortable in a warm climate but it is convenient when traditional ceremonials are performed for their guests or in their honour.
 
Other than the symbolic headwear, Ao ma Pa'ia, that king Tuimanu'a puts on during his coronation, his everyday wear is the same as other kings. It is the most well-guarded secret in Manu'a where the crown-like headwear is kept after each coronation.
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