Decolonizing schools: Women organizing, disability advocacy, and land in Sāmoa

ANESI, Julianne
Publication Date 
2019
22 pp

In the 1970s and 1980s, Sāmoan women organizers established Aoga Fiamalamalama and Loto Taumafai, two educational institutions, in the independent state of Sāmoa. This article examines these schools’ support of students labelled as ma’i (sick), specifically those with intellectual and physical disabilities. Through oral histories and archival research, I show the vital role performed by the women organizers in changing the educational system by drawing attention to the exclusion of disabled students. I focus on the collective labor of Sāmoan women and their influence in decolonizing schools. In this regard, the women organizers used Sāmoan concepts of fa’a Sāmoa (culture), fanua (land), and tautua (service) as ways to redefine the commitment of the education system. This is a story about daring to reimagine indigenous disabled bodies and their futures through knowledge systems, theory, and literature.

 

Disability & the Global South (DGS), 2019, Vol. 6 No. 1

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