For over a century, my beautiful island home has been under the protection and generous hand of America.
We have experienced many blessings and benefits from being “an unincorporated and unorganized territory” of the wonderful U.S. of A. It may not seem like its a good thing being “unincorporated and unorganized”, but as a Samoan I count this as a blessing.
In the Samoan culture, land plays a very important part. The ability to keep our land even if we give up a few constitutional rights (like the right to vote for president or become a US citizen) is more valuable than being an American citizen. Why? We don’t have to struggle looking for land to build our houses or have to answer to any one else in regards to the land of our family. It’s more than just land. It holds generations and generations of family connections.
Even though we are under the United States, we have been self-governing since 1967. This gives the Samoan people the power to continue practicing our traditional values and culture. The “Faasamoa” and “Faamatai” is still very strong within American Samoa even though it is slowly adapting to the modernized Western world. We are able to hold true to our core as Samoans, which consists of God, family and respect.
My ancestors were smart when they chose to cede to America during World War I with certain limitations, which I believe was to preserve the culture, language and identity of the Samoan people.
Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie said it best when made this statement,
“This day holds special meaning and significance because it honors the wisdom of our forefathers when they entrusted, the hopes and dreams of our people to the greatest country the world, the United States of America.”
Cheers my Amerika Samoa. Manuia le Aso o le Fu’a.