Samoa supports Am. Samoa Language Commission
By: Tosimae'a Tupua
The establishment of the Samoan Language Commission of American Samoa on April 5th this year reaffirms Governor Lemanu’s belief that the maintenance of the Samoan language is essential for the retention and ongoing use of fa’asamoa.
During the 2Samoa talks last Friday, Chairman of the newly established Samoan Language Commission Peseta Tia Seloti said the value of learning the Samoan language should never be under-estimated. For many Samoans living here, especially the younger generation who identify themselves as Samoans, the common issues of struggling to maintain language and culture are very real.
There is no learning without language and learning for many Samoans students in the territory has been marginalized through the neglect of Samoan in schools. She recognizes the growing urgency around the need to preserve and encourage the ongoing growth of Gagana Samoa amongst our young people today. Older Samoans are more likely to speak Samoan than younger Samoans, and this is not a sustainable future. We must use, savor, celebrate and teach our Samoan language - this cannot be emphasized enough, said Peseta.
‘There are many avenues the local Language Commission can explore or perhaps seek assistance from such as the International Indigenous Peoples Conference. It is an international body that focuses mainly on education to help those involved in language commission matters.” said Fiame. She continued, “The Samoan language acts as a bridge across generations as the learners immerse themselves into the language, they also immerse themselves into the cultural contexts behind the language. As their confidence in the language grows, so too does their confidence in themselves as Samoans. Consequently, it solidifies their identity and sense of pride.”
PM Fiame Naomi Mataafa said Samoa stands ready to assist the Samoa Language commission of American Samoa whenever help is needed. She also advised Peseta to enquire about the New Zealand Maori Language Commission as they have better systems.