Talking Chiefs
Samoan Tulafale or Talking Chiefs, are great story tellers.


A High Talking Chief's fly whisk, or fue (foo-ay) for their speeches. This whisk is used with a wooden staff called a to'oto'o (toe-oh-toe-oh)


Because the Samoans did not have a written language before the arrival and teaching of modern missionaries they relied upon elaborate recital of legends, genealogies, and myths to remember their history. These were saved over long spans of time in the form of stories. Most formal public gatherings still began with a traditional recounting of relevant stories.

Other stories are in W. Somerset Maugham's The Trembling of a Leaf--a collection of his classic short stories of the South Pacific. Rain, Mackintosh, Red, and The Pool all take place in the Samoas. Today, many folks in Pago Pago regard Sadie Thompson, the main subject in Rain, as a true historic character.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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