Ancient Sāmoa once conception was established there was a ritual bration. This was known as afuafua (beginning). The prayers, chants & rituals of afuafua are today replaced by Christian prayers & special food. Today this ritual of conception is rarely performed; even the word afuafua & its meaning seems lost. When thinking about the ethical debates over stem cells, I asked one faatosaga: ‘What about the use of the cells of a dead foetus for research?’ She replied: ‘That is a breach of tapu.’ In her opinion the body is sacred & should return to the earth. To tamper with the body of a dead foetus is to show disrespect for the sacred, that the body retains its sacred essence, its tapu quality, even upon death. The dead body returns to its Creator without outside interference. It returns to its ator by the very route of its birth -back to the earth. This principle of respecting the origins of man’s genealogical link with the earth is implicit in ancient Sāmoan practices of ritually burying the placenta & umbilical cords in the earth. When asking the same faatosaga about whether there are any tapu on burying the placenta & umbilical cords, she replied: ‘[Our] cultural claim to any land or earthly inheritance is premised on a genealogical connection with the earth - this is tapu & is recognised by adherence to the ritual’ [O le faavae o le mau nei, o le sootaga ma le ‘eleele]. The sayings ‘o le ‘eleele o lea e tanu ai lo’u pute’ (‘the land where my pute is buried’) & ‘tama o le ‘eleele’ (‘man of the earth’) signal the ancient connection between man & earth. The sacred aspects of these rituals is commemorated in a belief held among most faatosaga that omitting to bury the placenta & pute back to the earth can materially affect people. When asked in what way, one faatosaga answered: ‘We can tell by the te’ite’ivale (highly strung & overly sensitive) or lili’a (a sense of vertigo; someone who is very emotionally & physically afraid of heights) qualities of a person.’ Regardless of the validity of these intuitive claims, what the faatosaga provide are insights into our Sāmoan indigenous reference & the possible contours & content of a Sāmoan indigenous ethic of care.