2016 Fono o le GÄgana Samoa
2016 Samoan Language Symposium
â€œIa Å gatasi le futia ma le umeleâ€
â€œLanguage & culture are intrinsically linkedâ€
The 2016 Samoan Language SymposiumÂ was held in HawaiÊ»i on Friday, August 12, 2016 & Saturday, August 13, 2016 at HÄlau o HaumeaÂ KamakakÅ«okalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at theÂ University of Hawaiâ€˜i at MÄnoa. It was a wonderful gathering of people from across the globe that are dedicated to indigenous language perpetuation. The symposium is a concept developed by Le Fetuao Samoan Language Center (Le Fetuao SLC) as part of its sustainability plan to further enhance its community-based Samoan language and culture program.Â The mission of Le Fetuao SLC is to increase literacy of the Samoan language among our communityâ€™s children, youth, and parents while also contributing towards the understanding of Samoan culture and the development of Samoan identity.
Spearheaded by Le Fetuao SLC, and co-sponsored by the Administration for Native Americans, University of HawaiÊ»iâ€™s Samoan Language and Literature Program, Center for Pacific Islands Studies, and Center for Hawaiian Studies, the purpose of the symposium is three-fold:
- To increase the number of Ä€Ê»oga Samoa (Community-Based Samoan Schools) that teach the Samoan language and culture.
- To provide a space to build strong collaborative relationships between new and existing Samoan language programs throughout the United States and the Pacific.
- To promote the Gagana Samoa (Samoan language) and its importance in the 21st century.
The symposium tookÂ place over two days at HÄlau o Haumea at the University of HawaiÊ»i at MÄnoa campus. On Friday, the symposium featured a series of hands-on workshops geared towards utilizing interactive techniques to teach the Samoan language. The workshops focused on the perpetuation of Measina o Samoa (Cultural Treasures of SÄmoa) such as siapo (tapa), lalaga (weaving), and tatau (tattooing). Â The workshops also featured hands-on lessons on using art, music and dance, traditional food preparation, and technology to teach GÄgana Samoa. On Saturday, participants heard from successful Samoan and Pacific community language programs in HawaiÊ»i and gain insights and perspectives from keynote speakers and panel discussions from Samoan language educators in the United States and the Pacific region.
Individuals and groups interested in starting their own Ä€Ê»oga Samoa were invited to attend. The symposium brought together Samoan church communities in HawaiÊ»i and the United States, educators with experience teaching Samoan, community groups, students, artists and cultural practitioners in order to help create learning environments for Samoan youth that perpetuate the language and culture of Samoa.