Questions of Responsibility and Duty

Churchward’s translation of Fatongia as duty or obligation hints at the challenge of making the concept of Fatongia understandable to people outside of Oceania. A starting point should be the work of indigenous Tongan scholars who have theorised such concepts and have a deep experiential and cultural historical reference points to draw on.

One starting point is Siosiua Fonuakihehama Pouvalu Lafitani’s PhD thesis entitled ‘Moanan-Tongan fatongia and deontic in Greco- Rome: Fiefia, happiness, of tauēlangi, climactic euphoria, and „alaha kakala, permeating fragrance – Mālie! Bravo!’ It is available here to download. By linking fatongia to a state of Tongan happiness (fiefia) we can start to appreciate how fatongia  plays a role in the delivery and commitment to healing, with all the sacrifices entailed. There can be great happiness in sacrifice.

Dr Mapa Puloka references the term hohoko. Ka’ili explores that more in chapter 4 of Marking Indigeneity: The Tongan Art of Sociospatial Relations, by Tēvita O Ka‘ili. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2017.

The financial sacrifice entailed by the annual misinale is a good starting point to explore the diversity of perspectives and positions in relation to church giving.

The documentary ‘For My Father’s Kingdom’ is the best starting point to appreciate how misinale and church giving can be interpreted from many perspectives, and we need to dive deeply into the experience of giving and the impact on social confidence to start to appreciate what it means for Tongan people. In the Healer and the Psychiatrist we end in Tefisi’s misinale of 2018, as a way to reference Emeline resilience in the face of family tragedies and the vital importance of gratitude in everyday life.

There are many more video resources I can offer to expand this theme, please share in our facebook group what more you would like to see having learned of Emeline Lolohea’s healing genealogy and Dr Puloka’s use of genealogy in treatment.

Please share below your thoughts and experiences and talanoa on our dedicated facebook group.

Allied Concepts

 kavenga, n. burden, load ; responsibility.