Why those archives matter

Samoa joined the global community yesterday to commemorate International Archives Day at the T.A.T.T.E Building.

Guided by the theme “Archives, Citizenship and Inter-culturalism”, the day reflected on the importance of archives to families, villages, churches, communities, their cultures, and governments.

This is the third year Samoa has been part of this global celebration and it also marks the 69th year since the International Council on Archives was created under the support of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (U.N.E.S.C.O) in 1948. 

International Archives Day brought together records managers from government and public entities, church activists, keepers of family histories, the general public and even schools namely Faleata College, Vaimoso Primary and Saina/Toamua Primary. 

Acting Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa addressed the importance of the International Archives Day.

 “The International Council on Archives and the Annual General Meeting in 2007 agreed to launch the International Archives Day on the 9th of June every year to highlight the importance of safe keeping, safe guarding and prolonging the life of archives,” she said.

“With archives, we can find many of our stories about our histories and for us as Samoans, our history is one of the many things that we are passionate about. 

“They are important to our families and the reason being is that they tell us who we really are.

“It is also through different films that we get to know some of this information.

“I am very happy today, to see students as a part of this event because this is really important.

“Samoan people might not think too much about this but this has great significance, not only for us and our families but also students and the new generation.

“Because if the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture do not prioritize this, then any record of certificates for students would be hard to track.

“So that’s why archives are really important for our community especially for the Ministry of Health, as they hold basic information about someone’s life when they come into this world.”

 U.N.E.S.C.O. Director Nisha said Archives Day is extremely important.

 “We think it’s just papers, a document to be kept in files on the shelves so that’s the popular concept of archives and this image is a bit troubling.

“Because these are documents and records which are received, maintained, quickly information but they are to be maintained and used in pursuance of meeting accountability and legal obligations.”

She also went on to say that inter-culturalism is particularly important, as our old traditions have been passed on from generation to generation, and legends of Samoa move from one generation to one generation and these will be all safeguarded in archives. 

The event provided an opportunity for a tour of the Jensen’s family photograph exhibition, the National Archives and Records Authority’s Old Photos exhibition as well as showing Samoa’s History on films and microfilming exhibition by The Mormon Church. 

The event also included a history drama performed by Faleata College, poems and essays about the importance of safekeeping records by Vaimoso Primary and Saina Primary School.

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