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Fiji Time: 1:55 AM on Saturday 2 August

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Generations of fisherfolk

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, November 08, 2012

LOCATED within Bua Province, the island of Galoa in the district of Dreketi is a sight to behold with its beautiful houses and well planned village setting.

And considering its remoteness from the main centres of Nabouwalu and Labasa, this is an island with its fair share of legends and tales.

Galoa elder and member of the chiefly clan of Wasa, Serupepeli Velei said the islanders depended a lot on their marine resources as a source of income.

He said this allowed them to achieve a lot, even successfully completing village projects.

Mr Velei said legends and stories passed down from their forefathers were unanimous in that the island's marine ecosystem was a rich one since the island was first habited by the three brothers who were now immortalised through the three clans on the island.

"Legend has it that our island was peopled by three brothers who ventured forth from the island of Yadua in search for land," Mr Velei said.

"The three brothers, who are alive today within the three clans on the island, are the original settlers of the island and then there are other clans which arose from mass movements across the years from Lekutu in the mainland. But these three clans are well known in the ancient annals of the island," he said.

"The three clans and their customary sequence according to the three brothers, are the clans of Wasa, which is the chiefly clan directly descended from the eldest of the siblings and then the clan of Ca'e followed by the clan of Nawaimate," he said.

Mr Velei said the Wasa clan was the reigning clan since they originated from the eldest of the siblings.

"In an attempt to explain our existence, the elders have always said that our totem was the qio saqa or the common ga ni vatu (peregrine falcon) which roams most of the coasts around our islands giving rise to the name of the Galoa," Mr Velei said.

"We are fisherfolk and belong to the fisher clan within the district of Lekutu as we fall within the division of Burenitu-i-Wai," he said.

Mr Velei said Lekutu had gone through the changes of development.

He was proud their ancient motto of 'Galoa ni siga' was still alive and that they had lived through these changes with their culture and traditions intact.


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