Creativity Lives Here: Queen Muhammad Ali

September 9, 2019

By: ArtPlace America

In this film renowned filmmaker Queen Muhammad Ali, great-granddaughter of Eastern American Samoa’s late Paramount Chief Tuli Le’iato, is running a remarkable project in her home island Tutuila, AS. She is addressing the obesity and diabetes epidemic with documentation, archiving and eLearning of Indigenous Samoan healing arts, natural herbal medicines, plant-based nutrition, and by creating a social wellness hub that will serve as an artistic resource for a healthier community. 


"There was a time not long ago when shared knowledge was an integral part of daily life and the injured or sick were healed by elder women (Fofos) with ancient medicinal knowledge of local herbs, flora, body mechanics, nutrition, and internal healing. The diet was fish, coconut, taro, and other vegetables...everybody was healthy. These were the Islands of Samoa before they were forced to cede to the United States. Today, the island is significantly different from what it was a century ago. These days, alien processed foods and non-indigenous meats are consumed, contributing to a deadly epidemic of obesity: a leading preventable cause of death in the Pacific. (Cows, chickens, pigs, alcohol, and processed sugars were brought to Samoa by European sailors in the mid 1800s.) A major issue is the inability to transfer knowledge from Elder to youth, so the idea to produce teaching materials that incorporate video recordings of actual experts was an obvious next step."

By teaching basic filmmaking techniques, she is arming the community with the skills to produce training videos. Multimedia lessons enable students of present and future generations to see, mimic, and engage, providing as close as possible the real-life resources that students have had in the past but otherwise would not have in the future with the Elders of today. 


What Queen had to say about DIYdoc:

"As a filmmaker I believe DIYdoc is a great tool that can be used for teaching basic angles and shots in filmmaking. It cuts filming and editing time down as well as it helps the user better organize their thoughts for a great story! Fa'afetai tele lava DIYdoc!"


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Creativity Lives Here is a year-long digital storytelling campaign to showcase the people and places behind creative community development. #CreativityLivesHere is a collection of grassroots video stories from amazing artists, community planners, local leaders, and allies, who are sharing the ideas, challenges, and inspirations that drive their work every day.

We’re going to share these stories across our social media platforms, and many of our friends and partners are ready to do the same.

The only thing missing is YOUR STORY.

All you need is an iPhone, the DIYdoc App, and a story about how arts and culture is helping address a challenge or opportunity in your community. From there, enlist a friend to help, or shoot the video yourself through the app and add your voice to the growing collection of grassroots stories from across the United States.

Check out some of the stories that have been collected so far on our YouTube channel, and make yours today!