It’s been very interesting times in my research journey since leaving University back in the 1990s and then returning backwards and forwards for many years during this time of having a family, continuing to work in education at different levels and now with a child in primary, high school and university education, I can truly say that a lot has changed in this time but yet a lot remains the same.
I do know that I am no longer intimidated by education as I first was as a second language learner (Samoan being my first) but then switching to English as the main medium of communication because education and the wider society deemed it so. My empathy goes out to the many Samoan diaspora (living away from the motherland) descendants who haven’t had the privilege of learning their ancestral languages as I have had although not at a schooling level but more on a audial and lived experiences level.
The webinar by Prof. Linda Tuhiwai Smith is one that has really interested me in the journeys that other indigenous peoples have taken in Aotearoa, New Zealand as well in challenging the status quo and overcoming colonialism by way of decolonising the ways that we think of ourselves, talk about ourselves and see ourselves.
This is so important for our next generations as descendants of indigenous peoples, as Samoans, in seeing and acknowledging our ancestral ways of knowing and being as knowledge holders in reclaiming our own ways of knowing and giving due credit to our ancestors for making us who we are as Samoans.
As in my studies, I’ve realised how very colonised we can become by throwing out many of our ancestral ways of being, thinking, making and calling it as the “pogisa” times of ancient Samoan or dark times very similar to the medieveal or dark ages of European. This is when in actual fact pre-European Samoan material culture show a very symbiotic way of living between Samoans and the environment.
Therefore, my researching or “tofa sa’ili” i.e. seeking the wisdom tells me that there is so much that we have to unlearn in order to relearn new ways of thinking of our tu’ua (ancestors) to fully appreciate the knowledge that was already there and that the Christian gospel could enhance without throwing out both the bathwater and the baby (so to speak).
But more on that in later postings as I continue my Doctoral journey reconsidering, reclaiming, decolonising, refreshing, enhancing, re-writing, rethinking, repositioning, reflexively, refining, reimaging, reimagining, revisioning, challenging, reconnecting, reactualising what can become for future diaspora Samoan generations…