Samoan from Hawaii
Join us as we travel the distant and fascinating lands of Indian Country. This download was originally aired nationally as a public radio program titled Oyate Ta Olowan--The Songs of the People during the 90s. Each Oyate download includes the 30 minute program plus the full length songs featured during the program.
Pulefano is Samoan but lives in Hawaii. See the longer description below to hear a short clip of this show and to read for a full account of our journey to meet Pulefano.
Oyate Ta Olowan was produced by Milt and Jamie Lee with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. The series was aired nationally by Public Radio International.
Samoan from Hawaii
His full name is Pulefano Galeai, but he answers to simply “Pulefano.” We met him at the upper tip of the island of Oahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands. Pulefano is the cultural director at the Polynesian Cultural Center, an elaborate but nicely done tourist complex run by the Mormon Church.
Pulefano is originally from Samoa. He and his wife, Susan, have seven children and live on Oahu in the village of Laihe. He went to college for three and a half years and went through agent's school with United Airlines.
Pulefano was born in 1945 in the village of Makusana on the Samoan Island of Tatula. His mother and father were composers and were instrumental in setting up the Samoan music for the Polynesian Cultural Center. Although they made their homes on Oahu to be near the Mormon Temple, Pulefano did return to Samoa and stayed for nine years, becoming a chief and living in the traditional way, in open-aired huts in the village.
During our visit, Pulefano generously provided us with tickets to visit the Cultural Center and the big stage show that night featuring, of all things, a "live" volcano. This is a beautiful place and well worth visiting.
American Samoa is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Samoa is just one tiny group of a total of 20-30 thousand islands. The land base of all of these islands combined is still less than the current state of Alaska. The Samoan islands are believed to have been occupied for approximately 3,000 years and are sometimes called “the cradle of Polynesia.” It is thought that the original Samoans came from Southeast Asia but made their way to the islands long ago.
The natives of Samoa are an enduring people whose primary occupation for thousands of years has been fishing. They were famed for the construction of seaworthy canoes and traveled extensively between the islands.
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Listen to a short sample here.