Participants discuss Pacific Islanders’ connection to the land and environment or fonua or fanua, which includes the mother’s womb and placenta. They learn about the importance of preconception health (the health of women and men before pregnancy). They gain experience navigating health resources.
- Welcome, Review and Follow Up
- Cultural Concept Fonua or Fanua
- Video: It Takes a Family
- Presentation on Preconception Health
- Break (Optional)
- Navigation Activity
- Fono Assignment
Cultural concept fonua or fanua
Land is a central part of Pacific Islander identity. When we care for the land and environment, that care comes back to the people. “The purpose of this relationship and exchange between the environment and [its people] is to maintain harmony in life in sustainable ways.” (Tu‘itah, 2007)
Fonua (Tongan) or fanua (Samoan) means all nourishing environments, including the land, physical environment, ecosystem, etc. This includes the mother’s womb and baby’s placenta.
Fonua or fanua is also the word for the baby’s placenta. The placenta is an organ formed during pregnancy, which connects the mother and baby. Through the placenta, the mother provides oxygen and nutrients to the baby.
“In the world of the womb, the baby is sustained by her fonua [fanua], the placenta. The baby is later born into the [land], where she experiences life and builds relationships with the fonua [fanua]: the entire ecology, including its human inhabitants. As part of the birth process, the remains of the [placenta] that sustained the baby are returned by burial to the [physical land] ... Upon her death, she is returned to her fonualoto [tu‛ugamau] (land within the land), or her grave.” (Tu‘itah, 2007)