AMS159 Research Paper GROUP2 (1)

AMS159 Research Paper GROUP2 (1) - Samoa: From Traditional...

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Samoa: From Traditional Farming to an Export Economy INTRODUCTION Samoa represents a community created in an isolated environment. Samoans were originally forced to be completely self-sufficient however, European as well as other outside influences have created a more modern market economy. By studying their evolution from an environmentally-friendly and sustainable small farm community to an export economy dependent on cash crops, we hope to be understand how the global economy and foreign influence may impact the Samoan culture. In this study we will focus on the way these factors have changed traditional farming tactics in Samoa as well as their relationship with the environment. PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY Samoa is a set of volcanic islands that lie south of the equator halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. Located in the Polynesian region of the South Pacific, Samoa has a total land area of less than 3000 square kilometers. Samoa’s largest islands are Upolu and Savai’i which cover 95 percent of the land mass. All of the islands are mountainous, fertile and suitable for agriculture. The islands are also fragile and subject to natural disasters, such as the destructive cyclones of 1990 which caused widespread damage to the country’s economy and infrastructure. The volcanic islands have narrow coastal plains and are surrounded by coral reefs ( , 2006). MYTHOLOGY OF SAMOA Although people know the geography and location of Samoa, many are unaware of the cultural story of creation. The Samoans have a detailed story of how Samoa came to be. They believe that in the beginning of time, the only things covering the earth were the heavens and water. In the heavens was the god Tagaloa who decided to create a stone which he could stand on and call, Manu’atele (Maun’a). He later decided he needed more resting places that could serve as stepping stones and created Savai’i, Upolu, Tonga and Fiji. Tagaloa was pleased with his work however realized he needed an extra stone in between the islands of Savai’i and Manu’a, so he created Tutuila. The island of Tutuila would then be a place of repose for the chiefs. After Tagaloa sent a sacred vine to cover all of the rocks had created, he noticed that worms had grown from them. He decided to provide the worms with a beating heart, arms, legs and heads thus becoming humans. He then placed one female and one male on each of the islands. He took the male, Sa, and the female, Vai’i, and the island became known as Savai’i. This type of naming continued for each of the other islands. Tagaloa decided that he wanted men to be appointed to rule the islands, thus becoming lords. Tagaloa was proud of all he had created however he wanted a king above all of the other kings. He wanted this king to reside in Manu’a as this was his first creation. When the king was born, his abdomen was attached to his mother’s womb. He was then named Satia i Ie Moaatoa (attached by the abdomen). His domain was now called Samoa (sacred abdomen)
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AMS159 Research Paper GROUP2 (1) - Samoa: From Traditional...

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