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Skidmore College

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Samoa: Pacific Communities and Social Change


This research will explore oral tradition, indigenous beliefs prior to Christianity, and the significance of place through the study of Samoan myths and legends. The researcher will investigate the tradition of storytelling by hearing the stories from Samoan elders themselves. These stories will be supplemented with details from secondary written resources in order to compile comprehensive versions of the myths and legends. The research will consider the affect that Christianity has on the meaning of the stories and examine whether traces of indigenous belief/religion are preserved today through storytelling and the remembrance of myths. The researcher will spend a significant amount of time in the villages of the myths in order to understand the role of place and environment in Samoan stories. The stories’ connection to a physical, tangible environment and being embedded within the elements of nature will provide another way in which to study the selected myths. Visiting the places of the stories will also provide the researcher with an avenue of personal reflection and a means of establishing another layer of understanding. The investigation of Samoan myths and legends not only sheds light on stories of the past, but also delves into other realms of Samoan culture. Myths, legends, and storytelling open windows to the past while simultaneously providing a lens in which to view and understand Samoan culture and belief today.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Folklore | Other Arts and Humanities | Performance Studies | Rural Sociology | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Culture


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