The Ceaseless Samoan Legacy

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Lumana'i O Samoa's taupou of Fall 2014, making her way in for the "taualuga" or the grand finale.

Being a Samoan is more than just a race, but the way of life. From the culture to the gender roles, everything is an established practice and has been passed down from generation to generation for over 100 years.

The Samoan hierarchy is taught at a young age and is taught that there are certain ways to do certain things. Everything is done with “faaaloalo” and it is more than just respect. It is a way of living in a community with harmony.

In American Samoa, being a taupou (or a daughter) of a high chief comes with a lot of responsibilities. Everything she does is being watched from the way she talks, walks, and presents herself because her actions will reflect back to her family especially her parents.

A taupou is generally a daughter by birth of the chief, the pupil of her brother’s eyes and the mother’s special duty to see that she is not led astray. A taupou must be perfectly chaste and pure.

When certain events are being held, she is a ceremonial hostess leading the native dance. The dance is called a “taualuga,” which symbolizes the roof of the house.

When building the house, the roof is the last piece to be put on which is why the dance is the grand finale or finishing touches of the event or ceremony. The “taualuga” is known for it’s graceful refinement, facial gestures and subtle hand movements.

The taupou performs the kava ceremony that usually takes place when greeting highly distinguished guests.

Samoan culture is very conservative and it is appropriate to dress very modestly.

Taupous who wear revealing clothes such as showing the area between knees and thighs are disrespectful and frowned upon.

A taupou serves as a servant in her family, village, and church. These acts of services have been in the ancestry and will continue to be passed down from generations to generations.

In the village where the father serves as a high chief, the daughter stays active within the “maota,” which is where the village and family meetings are held.

When food is served at these meetings, she helps the older ladies with scooping and plating of the food. She serves the chiefs according to their positions and then stays back to clean up the food area and maota.

Every village has a Woman Committee and she is to be part of it. This committee consists of women of the village that meet up every month to discuss issues to beautify and strengthen the village.

As a culture founded on God, a Samoan woman is to follow it’s foundation. It is stressed that she is to be involved in all church groups and activities.

She serves as a voice in the church choir, a teacher in Sunday school and an active member in the church youth.

With everything that goes on within the family, church or village, the daughter is always her mother’s right hand. She maintains a clean orderly household and takes care of her younger siblings.

Although the responsibility of a taupou never ends, it is an honor for those who are chosen to be one. The privilege to continue what the ancestors have kept alive is a prestige opportunity.