Language Week reminds of speaking Samoan's worth: Samoa Tofia

The celebration of the "Samoan Language Week" in New Zealand is a timely reminder to all Samoans about the importance of the Samoan culture and our native tongue. 

That's the opinion of the founder of Samoa Tofia, Taloto Obed Unasa, during an interview with the Samoa Observer.

"We need to save our culture, lands, and identity. You would know the true Samoan by the way he or she stands, walks, speaks, and sits," Taloto said.

"We need to protect our culture and language which makes us Samoan."

Speaking about learning the language and culture, Taloto says it is important for Samoans abroad to visit Samoa and live in the villages.

"A lot of the times we are just doing things because someone else is doing it, without really understanding what is it all about, why it's sacred and why we do these ceremonies."

When asked about ways Samoans overseas can learn about their cultural heritage and the Samoan language he said, "There are a lot of other ways to learn the culture and understand the language. There are usually Samoan Aganu'u programmes in New Zealand and Australia."

"The other thing I think is quite rich in our own communities is the church, there are a lot of churches overseas that actually have the cultural practices and ceremonies. They welcome that type of participation in their programme which is where people can go and learn the culture," he said.

According to him, Samoa Tofia had a language programme for young Samoans in Queensland Australia to learn more about the Samoan language and culture.

"There are those programmes and people out there who are actually trying to share the culture and also the language within the communities overseas," he said.

"Samoa Tofia is all about trying to safeguard our language and cultural heritage. Our organisation is really about preserving our cultural heritage which includes the language," he said.

He further stated that we need to make sure that our language is a continuing part of our own identity and culture that we share with others who are trying to get a better understanding of our own cultural practices as well as keeping our language alive and that to understand the Samoan culture, you need the language and to understand the language you also need the culture.

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