How the big laui’as are hurting Samoa

Dear Editor,

Re: The big laui’a

You got that right. The real problem is that there are people, ie, the big Lau’ias of Samoa along with the P.M., who are trying to change the traditional concept of land as a thing which had no monetary value into the concept the investors have, that land is a commodity with a monetary value. 

Under the traditional concept land’s value has always been one of sustenance, not land’s having cash value. 

To make money off land in the way of plantation, stores, small family business, and etc... still has the traditional concept of sustaining oneself and ones families off the land. 

The big lau’ia the P.M. love so much, are helping him remove the traditional concept of land in the Samoan peoples psyche to one where lands are conceived of as cash. This is the palagi concept of land. 

This new concept will alienate people from their lands even if it is leased rather than sold outright. I will make an analogy using children. Your children have no cash value. 

Your children can work and bring money to the home to help sustain the home, but you would not sell your children for cash because they have no cash value. The next question would be, would you lease your child to a factory owner for one hundred years for a small monthly payment, and still say this child is part of your family. 

You would not because you would never see your child for 100 years, even though you did not give up custody of your child, but you just leased your child for 100 years. 

The truth is you have been alienated from your child and you have given up all right as a parent over your child. This is what Tuilaepa and his big Lau’ia are doing by creating a lease system with customary lands. 

The traditional lands, which were once part of the family for sustenance, not cash, will become a cash commodity that the investors have autonomy over and you will never see your family member again. 

In the traditional understanding of customary land, land is part of the family. It is this concept that Tuilaepa and his ilk are trying to erode. 

This will destroy the Samoan family, because customary land is part of the Samoan family, just like a child is.


Wendy Wonder 

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