Le Api | The Notebook

A collection of thoughts and stories – mostly from a Hamo Geek Girl – exploring the language and culture of Samoan people.

Matai: A Complicated System of Chiefs

Matai: A Complicated System of Chiefs

Matai is the Samoan word for leader, or chief, or even (in the poetic sense) father. Samoan society is organized by family, and each family has its own matai titles, which are connected to certain districts, villages and plots of family land. And that was the short...

How to Greet a Samoan Matai (Chief)

How to Greet a Samoan Matai (Chief)

The heartbeat of Samoan culture is love and respect, or fa'aaloalo. How we greet people is a very public demonstration of this respect. Like a lot of languages, we have informal greetings for our peers and friends and then formal greetings for people we don't know as...

Matai – How to become a Samoan Chief [Part 2]

Matai – How to become a Samoan Chief [Part 2]

This is the second part of our series on The Path to Becoming a Samoan Chief. Please read Part 1 first, if you haven't already. Part 1 gives you a bit of background - where do matai titles come from? Who decides how your family's titles are distributed? How do you...

How Samoans treat their elders

How Samoans treat their elders

In general, the Samoan attitude towards aging is pretty similar to other cultures. To us, old age is wisdom and accomplishment. It's a time to sit back and enjoy the spoils of life. But how do younger Samoans treat our elders?  Samoan culture emphasizes alofa (love)...

A Samoan Matai and Language Challenge

A Samoan Matai and Language Challenge

I love the Samoan culture the way I love my family: I would protect and defend it with my life I don't always agree with it and sometimes we fight One aspect of our culture I always seem to be in the ring with is our matai system, or fa'amatai. On the one hand,...

Fa’alupega and the Samoan lauga

Fa’alupega and the Samoan lauga

Fa'alupega is often the first building block of a Samoan lauga (speech). When addressing a gathering of people, it is custom for the speaker to acknowledge all the other matai in the room, to greet each of them not just by title name, but with an acknowledgement of...

Ie Sina – a lost Samoan art

Ie Sina – a lost Samoan art

I was back of house at the Melbourne Museum, browsing their hidden Pasifika collection, when I first saw one of these. This is Samoan? I asked. Yes, came the reply... and apparently, when a group of Samoan community elders visited a few weeks earlier, they gasped and...

A proverb about being late

A proverb about being late

I've been hanging out with my uncle lately. He's a pretty intense kinda guy. He's loud, laughs like thunderclaps - or sometimes suffocation - and he tells those long, drawn out jokes with such conviction the anticipation kills you... and then the punchline is hit or...

Village One Samoana

Were you once a One Samoana ‘Native’? If you were a member of the One Samoana social network (which ran from 2008 – 2012), then a you may recognize some of these Native-written blogs from a heartbeat and a lifetime ago.

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