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Blood, bones and breath: the human body as a cultural site of knowing; exploring multiple notions of trinity with Va Tapuia as the basis of the lived Samoan experience

Koya, Cresantia F. and Alo, Allan A. (2011) Blood, bones and breath: the human body as a cultural site of knowing; exploring multiple notions of trinity with Va Tapuia as the basis of the lived Samoan experience. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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    Nobel laureate Eric Kandel’s life work examining dualities of ‘learning’ and ‘memory’ led to his dissertation that “we are what we are through what we have experienced and what we have remembered.” His ideas, that psychological and emotional processes are premised on our life experiences, were considered ground breaking in the scientific world and led to his Nobel Peace Award in 2000. Contrastingly, this ideology has underlined the basis of life in Pacific Indigenous Knowledge Systems (PIKS) for thousands of years. Premised on the wisdom of PIKS, this paper reflects on cultural memory; experiential learning and identity formation. It presents the lived Samoan experience of two diasporic realities and explores the notion of trinity within the wider cultural understanding of Va Tapuia. The discussion situates cultural identity within the treble cosmological abstractions of place, space and time and their cognizance with physical and metaphorical notions of ‘Land, Sky and Sea’. The authors examine the transference of these constructions to personal life philosophies of ‘body, mind and spirit’ in the context of the worldview of Va Tapuia; the sacred connection of all things. It uses genealogy, as the point-of-reference-text (Kinchelo and Berry, 2004) of perceived cultural reality and identity and assesses these from multiple frames of spirituality, gender, and sexuality. Dual areas of interest investigated include ‘indigenous standpoint theory’ (Tuhiwai-Smith, 1999) and ‘power’ (Foucalt, 1980). The authors take the standpoint of the Samoan life experience in relation to tensions within the multiple realities of the 21st Century. At the centre of this discussion lies the struggle for self-determination and expression as part of a collective cultural psyche against a backdrop of globalization where the mainstream prioritizes individualistic self-construct. The authors review their lineage as cultural points of reference and spirit-learning, through story-telling and personal experiences, as critical to the development of internalized self-image and identity. Within this line of reflexive cultural expression, particular attention is paid to the significance of spirit guardians and dreams as spiritual connection to ‘knowing’ place within the cultural space – time continuum.

    Item Type: Other
    Additional Information: The Samoa Conference is an annual event hosted by the National University of Samoa. Previously the Measina Conference, the Samoa Conference is an international event conducted in the English Language while the Measina has been reviewed to be an annual event conducted in the Samoan Language. My interest in presenting at the conference was two-fold, firstly as a Pacific islander of Samoan descent and secondly with my own interests in Pacific Studies and Education. I presented two papers with Allan Alo, presented on a Panel in response to Albert Wendt (along side Sina Va’ai and Vanya Tauleao). I also assisted Allan Alo, Momoe Von Reiche and Leua Leonard in choreographing “inside us the dead” a students performance enacting Albert Wendt’s poem of the same title and participated in the Poetry night event.
    Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
    Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Education
    Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies
    Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
    Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2011 15:12
    Last Modified: 28 Jun 2012 13:46

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