Samoa’s history for many years has always been verbally handed down from generation to generation, and in many cases parents to their children.
This is according to Nanai Liutofagaomataafa Tokuma, the son of the late Turaroe Tokuma and the late Ulalemamae Leiataua.
Nanai is leading his family’s fight against the Government’s decision to evict residents of Sogi from their homes.
Nanai believes the land they are living on is their inheritance.
Representing the descendants of Turaroe Tokuma is lawyer, Pa’u Tafaogalupe Mulitalo. Tafailagi Peniamina of the Attorney General’s Office represented the Samoa Land Corporation (S.L.C.) and the Ministry of Public Enterprises.
This week, Nanai said in Court that his father was accused of killing a Chinese businessman at his shop in the 1920's.
He claimed that they found out in the end that it wasn’t him.
“My father told me this,” he said. “I wasn’t born during that time."
“He told me he was arrested and detained and then some men came and told the Court at the time that it was them who killed this Chinese businessman.”
The matter was before Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke.
He has adjourned the hearing, noting that the story by Nanai was something that allegedly happened before he was born and therefore Nanai’s legal team needs to provide evidence.
Speaking to the Sunday Samoan, Nanai said he wanted to clarify this point.
“I want to make it clear that history over the years was not recorded in any form, rather it’s all handed down verbally,” he said.
“Of course I did not see what had happened, I wasn’t born then and yes I wasn’t there, but my father told me what had happened."
“The point is, back then, family heritage was passed down by word of mouth. There were no recordings at the time but that’s how it has always been for Samoa."
“I want to make it clear that I did not lie, I had merely told the Court the accounts of what I was told, nothing more."
As an elder of my family, it is what I was told by my parents.
“Word of mouth was how we kept our culture and traditions alive over the years, not records because there were none at the time.”