By Nasili Vaka'uta
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Extra info for Reading Ezra 9-10 Tu'a-wise: Rethinking Biblical Interpretation in Oceania
69 The tu‘a people were the ones who often suffered when sacrificial demands were higher than what they had to offer. The authority of the ‗eiki class towered above the whole society. The gods and priests were, in a way, at the service of the chiefs. One group served or used the other to uphold its own interests. However, religious figures were in no way equal in rank and authority to chiefs. The priesthood, in a way, was serving two masters: gods and chiefs. Chiefs worshipped the gods as much as they liked themselves to be worshipped.
It is also the tu‘a resisting being treated as objects, for they are active subjects in their own rights. From the perspective of ‗eiki, however, the ―ways of the tu‘a‖ (faka-tu‘a), like tu‘a themselves, are inferior to the ―ways of the ‗eiki‖ (faka-‗ei‘eiki). When the term faka-tu‘a is attached to an action, idea, word, or behaviour, it serves as a degrading tag. Anga faka-tu‘a (behaving tu‘a-wise) depicts certain behaviour as informal and socially unacceptable. Lea faka-tu‘a (speaking tu‘a-wise) is used mostly for a person who is speaking in plain language or in an informal and unorganized manner.
Teunga faka-tu‘a (dressing tu‘a-wise) refers to a code of dressing that is considered casual, or a person who does not present herself or himself properly in public or in chiefly occasions. Finally, mo‘ui faka-tu‘a (living tu‘a-wise) is the word for a person who does not know his/her proper responsibility or has not taken his/her tu‘a duty seriously. This is why the tu‘a is linked with two stereotypes: me‘avale and kainanga-e-fonua. The term me‘avale portrays the tu‘a as ―ignorant or foolish ones,‖ whereas kainanga-e-fonua depicts them as ―waste of the land‖ or ―eaters of the soil‖ (like earthworms).
Reading Ezra 9-10 Tu'a-wise: Rethinking Biblical Interpretation in Oceania by Nasili Vaka'uta