National Geographic : 1900 Nov
THE SAMOAN ISLANDS "le Tupa" (the grown), upon the chief who is to be recognized as the sovereign of the group, Manua, together with Tutuila, is repre sented by Lufi-Lufi in Upolu. The Samoans are preeminently a people of contrasts. They are all nominally Christians and Sabbatarians. In every village is a church, reproducing accurately,both in its architecture and decorations, build ings used for similar purposes in Europe and America. Nearly all adults can read and write, and the missionaries print for them books relating not only to religious but to secular subjects as well. Alco holic liquors, though easily obtainable, are but little used. On the other hand, both sexes go almost naked-a short loin-cloth being their only garment-and are oiled and painted in a strangely bar baric manner. Though iron is used in weapons, pottery is unknown, cups and bowls being made from cocoanuts. Similarly, in the moral sphere they seem to have many of the gentle virtues. They are cour teous and hospitable, and yet a trivial quarrel changes them in stantly into barbarians who mutilate their enemies when dead and resort to other savage practices. Extreme laziness is a leading char acteristic. They can scarcely be induced to labor on European plan tations, and on their own they do only just enough work to supply their immediate needs. They do not trade, there is nothing to hunt or shoot, and although there is plenty of fish in the sea, they rarely eat them, and are with difficulty induced to catch them for foreign ers. It is not surprising that people who are at once lively, intelli gent, and without occupation-people for whose wants nature has amply provided by giving them a warm climate and a plenitude of vegetable food, gathered without exertion-should quarrel with one another, or that their passion when once exhausted should leave no trace of sullenness behind. For practical purposes, the natives may be divided into four classes. At the head stand the chiefs, who are hereditary in the sense that they must belong to certain families, but elective in that they exer cise authority by virtue of titles conferred on them. The Tulafale, talking-man, is their executive officer, who phrases their thought in eloquent language, and is frequently the central figure in the district and the source of authority. Below him and above the lowest class, composed of what are known as the " common people," are the native teachers and catechists, who wear more clothes and do less fighting than the rest of the population and are under the general charge of the European missionaries.