By Andrea Orlando
The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking
What if the solution to the growing diabetes epidemic is not an innovation that comes from a lab, but a return to ancient traditional knowledge that is held in the minds of elders? That is the essence of a creative placemaking project happening in American Samoa.
We interviewed Queen Muhammad Ali about the project, called Manuia Samoa.
She and collaborators Hakeem Khaaliq, a filmmaker, and David Neary, a media archivist, are filming videos of elders, called 'Fofos,' who practice traditional medicine. They are also building a wellness hub, which is set to open in late 2019.
The interview was recorded in May of 2019 during the ArtPlace Summit in Jackson, MS. Ali talked about how she believes that an increase in consumption of fast food and processed foods in the territory is contributing to the diabetes epidemic, which is affecting nearly half the population. She believes that the traditional pescatarian diet is much more healthful and wants to promote a return to that through the project. She also wants to document and catalogue the ancient knowledge of indigenous pharmacopeia. She is scheduled to teach a session at the 2019 Pacific Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in Los Angeles June 20-22. Have a listen!