She defends Samoan culture in Hawaii

Elisapeta Tuupo‐Alaimaleata is an American-Samoan educator and passionate advocate for the Samoan language and culture in Hawaii. She is the founder of the Le Fetuao Samoan Language Center in Honolulu.

Peta, as she is better know, started out as a classroom teacher in American Samoa, where she later worked as a teacher coordinator for the University of Hawai’i’s Manoa teacher training program. Prior to launching the language centre in 2008, she worked on projects focusing on literacy development and community empowerment at the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu for over a decade.

Peta’s teaching often extends beyond the classroom curriculum. She works and collaborates with the wider Samoan community in Honolulu and other parts of Hawaii as well as with organisations (including government agencies) to create opportunities for Samoan children and their parents to learn their heritage, language and culture using interactive, hands‐on and culturally relevant education and language strategies.

“Elisapeta speaks with so much passion about the Samoan language and how language learning empowers people, especially the Samoan diaspora in Hawaii,” says Gingerlei Porter, Associate Director of the Honolulu-based Pacific International Training Desk.

“My language and culture is the foundation of my identity, of who I am as a person, and education can help keep it alive,” says Peta, adding: “So I utilize my talent for teaching to keep things alive so my children can learn, so my people can have the gift of speaking and understanding Samoan, a treasure that was passed on by our ancestors.”

 

(This portrait of Elisapeta Tuupo‐Alaimaleata was first published by the Pacific Community for the 70 Inspiring Women campaign, it is reproduced here with their permission.)

The 70 Inspiring Pacific Women campaign has been produced by the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with Australian Aid and Pacific Women. The campaign marks the 70th anniversary of SPC, and leads up to the 13th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 6th Meeting of Ministers for Women in Suva (Fiji) from 2nd to 5th October 2017.

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