Samoa Language Center In Hawai‘i Receives Multi-Year Grant

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Le Fetuao Center works to preserve, maintain Samoan in the U.S.

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Dec. 28, 2013) – The Le Fetuao Samoan Language Center has received a three-year grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) to preserve and maintain the Samoan language, including $211,639 for the first year of operation. It is the first ever award by the ANA for Samoan language preservation and maintenance in the U.S.

Responding last week to this landmark award, U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) said, "This is an important step and a powerful acknowledgement of the importance of the Samoan language and culture in our nation."

"While we in Hawai’i are aware of the impact Pacific Island cultures have on our community, this will give Le Fetuao a chance to spread that knowledge across the U.S. I want to congratulate and thank the center for their hard work and commitment to their language and culture," she said.

Elisapeta Tuupo-Alaimaleata, the Center’s founder and Executive Director, said the grant’s impact will go beyond just the language. "We have a strong family-oriented project that's providing learning opportunities that teach not just the language, but values in our culture. Hawaii is such a diverse community and one thing we need is to value our cultures and languages in a humble, respectful and honorable manner. Our work under the grant will support grassroots opportunities to empower families to value education for their children in general.

"Our ultimate goal is to ensure the survival and continuing vitality of Samoan language and culture for future generations. The objectives of the grant are to document a Samoan Language Curriculum for Hawaii and mainland, develop a Samoan language teacher certification process, and expand our site. This is all new to our Samoan community in Hawai’i, but we understand the effort is valuable.

"I want to acknowledge the very valuable assistance we received from the Administration for Native Americans under the leadership of Commissioner Lillian Sparks. The ANA not only provides discretionary funding for community-based projects, but also offers free training and technical assistance through its Pacific Regional TA Provider, Ka'anani'au, LLC. We as a Samoan language learning center and community are very grateful for all the help and assistance they provided to reach our language preservation goal."

The Le Fetuao Samoan Language Center operates free learning services to help youths and families living in Hawai’i, providing free Samoan language learning sessions to all who wish to learn the language.

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