Looking back on our history helps us understand what has shaped our country and informs how we can move forward.
This is why the Director of the Centre for Samoan Studies, Dr. Safua Akeli Amaama and her staff, were proud to march on Friday’s Independence Day parade.
“It’s a warm special and significant stay for Samoa as we remember the challenges and the foresight that our founders had in formulating the Constitution, so I think we’ve come a long way in our 56 years.”
The historian recognises that new developments bring new challenges to our nation, but it’s important to hold fast to some of traditional values and customs.
“Samoa has changed, it has developed and there’s a real urgency to retain some of our traditions especially around the language and customs, even though we see these changes, there are some deep rooted foundations that we do need to hold on to.
“So that’s where we see the Centre for Samoan Studies supporting in that way and the National University of Samoa is a developing university playing a key role in the nations education sector and we’re just really proud to apart of Independence Day.”
Dr. Safua says it would pay for our country to go further in preserving our history by exploring all facets of it.
“It would be great to remind Samoa of some of those challenges, which include the Mau Movement of the 1920s, but also the earlier movements under the German period in the 19th century.
“We have significant individuals who led the Mau a Pule under Germany and so it was a tumultuous time for our country trying to work through some rapid changes, especially when you look at Christianity and the influence it’s had on the country.
“As a historian, researching local Samoans involved in World War 1, for example they were joining the allied forces fighting in the Australian imperial forces, they were fighting in forces so Samoans have been part of that global history and I think that’s important to commemorate because it really locates Samoa in the bigger picture and the contribution that our fallen have made to the war effort, so I think it’s a really important to commemorate it.”
According the Director of the Centre for Samoan Studies, the visibility of our history places importance on our country’s history and can help in the effort to build national unity.
“We look at the clock tower and it’s a focal point for commemoration around the war effort but also what is there to commemorate influenza?, what is there to commemorate the Mau?” Dr. Safua replied.
“So there are certain aspects of our history that are not being represented perhaps in the way that could be or should be. It’s something maybe our leaders could look at and see what the important events in our history are and how we can use that to build national unity.
“It’s a historical knowledge that’s so important in our culture but perhaps there’s a view to look forward but I think looking back really helps us understand what has shaped our country and this can help us in moving forward.”