The article discusses the relevance of family as the foundation of well being for Samoan and Tongan elders. Negotiating dual identities (Samoan American or Tongan American) can be challenging, particularly when contexts of each identity are at odds with one another. This study indicated relevant findings that underscored the role and responsibility of Samoan and Tongan elders in transmitting cultural ways of knowing and doing to current and future generations. The role of families then becomes all the more important as they are key to supporting the health and wellbeing of their elders.

Key Take Away Points

  • The importance of families in Samoan and Tongan cultures as they contribute to the well being of their elders.
  • Families as a core structure in the Samoan and Tongan ways of life.
  • Aspects of the family and community systems can serve as protective or risk factors to their members.
  • Elders in the Samoan and Tongan cultures serve as holders of knowledge in their respective cultural customs, traditions, values, and language that are necessary to preserve indigenous cultures for current and future generations.

Author Biography

Dr. Godinet is currently an Associate Professor with the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawaii. She has been a principal investigator of numerous research projects that focused on the impact of various systems and institutions on Pacific Islander adolescents and their families. Her scholarship include issues of disproportionality and overrepresentation of Pacific Islanders in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems; risk and protective factors involving juvenile delinquency among Pacific Islander adolescents; and contributions to the advancement of cross cultural resonance in social work practice.

A Response To:

Halaevalu F.O. Vakalahi, Emily S. Ihara, and Moana P. Hafoka, Family Roots: Sustenance for Samoan and Tongan American Elders