The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of Her Samoan Research

By Derek Freeman | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

THE RESEARCH ON WHICH THIS BOOK is based began in 1987 in Fitiuta, Manu'a, when Galea'i Poumele, then secretary for Samoan affairs of the government of American Samoa, introduced me to Fa'apua'a Fa'amū. I am particularly grateful to Frank Heimans of Sydney for having recorded on video on November 13, 1987, the late Galea'i Poumele's conversation with Fa'apua'a Fa'amū concerning her relationship of 1926 with Margaret Mead.

In May 1988 and again in May 1993, the Samoan chief Unasa, Dr. L. F. Va'a of the National University of Samoa, traveled to Fitiuta to record, in Samoan, Fa'apua'a Fa'amūs answers to a series of detailed questions about her relationship with Margaret Mead and about Manu'a in the mid-1920s. The information he recorded during these visits to Manu'a is of exceptional historical significance. Unasa's contribution to the collection of the evidence contained in this book is thus, as I gratefully acknowledge, of quite fundamental importance. I am also grateful to Unasa for having interviewed Fa'apua'a's daughter Lemafai in Fitiuta in September 1995.

In 1990, Ralph Maud was instrumental in my becoming a Woodsworth visiting scholar of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. He also arranged for my wife, Monica, and me to visit Vancouver Island, where we were shown some of the places Boas had lived. Then, like a guiding spirit, he introduced me to Douglas Cole, who, as professor of history at Simon Fraser University, was working on a biography of Franz Boas. On March 16, 1990, after we had lunched together at the Faculty Club at Simon Fraser, Douglas Cole generously presented me with photocopies of the correspondence of 1925-1926 between Franz Boas and Margaret Mead, which he had obtained during the course of his own research from the archives of the American Philosophical Society.

-ix-

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