Samoan Congregational Community Church of Carson

Samoan People

The Samoan way remains strong in Samoa after almost 200 years of outside influence from European and new world countries.

 Geographically located in the heart of Polynesia, the Samoan culture continues to be a  part of every day life and the people are among the last remaining traditional Polynesians.   While industrialization and modern technology are not only incorporated but embraced as  an integral part of today’s society, ethnic Samoan culture known as fa’asamoa (the  Samoan way) remains robust and continues to be the driving force behind the religious,  cultural and social lifestyles of the people. The majority of American Samoans are  bilingual, speaking both English and Samoan.  

The interwoven threads of family, church,  village and respect are tightly sewn into the  fabric of the Samoan culture, which has  survived for 3,000 years.  The introduction of  Christianity had a profound impact on  Samoan culture and people, who remain  deeply religious to this day. The colorful  variety of hand-woven baskets, fans and  mats, skillful wood carvings and the fine art  of siapo (tapa cloth) are positive indicators  that the Samoan culture remains strong and  vibrant.

Governance American Samoa is the only populated island group under the U.S. flag south of the  equator.  Based on the U.S. model of government and U.S. currency, the territory is  recognized as a safe and stable environment for the potential business partner as well as  the leisure traveler. As an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States  of America, not all provisions  of the U.S. Constitution apply  to American Samoa.  Those  born in American Samoa are  not U.S. citizens; rather, they  are U.S. nationals who can  freely enter the United States to  work and reside. American  Samoa also has its own  immigration laws. In contrast  to the U.S. insular area of  Guam, where U.S. immigration  laws apply, entry into  American Samoa by foreigners  does not constitute entry into  the U.S. Legislative Building,, Photo compliments of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Climate Monitoring and Diagnostic Laboratory  While political stability and ethnic tensions remain a major concern for most Pacific  island nations, American Samoa, with its strong financial and political institutions under  U.S. governance, is positioned to become a stabilizing force in the Pacific economy and  an increasingly popular tourism and cruise destination.  


American Samoa


American Samoans are among the last remaining true Polynesians. Despite the strong influence of Western industrial culture, ethnic Samoan culture – ‘fa’a samoa’ – remains robust and pervades nearly every aspect of Samoan social and cultural life. Most people are bilingual in English and Samoan.

 

American Samoa is comprised of five volcanic islands and two coral atolls with a total land area of 76 square miles. Located in the tropics roughly halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.  American Samoa is located in the South Pacific, near the International Date Line.


The islands are made up of 60% Christian Congregationalist.  Nearly all American Samoans are Christian.  The largest religious denomination is the Congressional Christian Church.  This used to be called the London Missionary Society in honor of those who first traveled to the Pacific Islands to convert the people to Christianity.  American Samoa has two systems.  The Western System and the Traditional System.


History and Georgraphy are defining elements, but they are not the only elements.  Ethnicity economics, religion and other factors all shaped by a culture.  This is why we’re unique.  American Samoa over the years has developed into a diverse structure, the traditional and the modern.

The islands of this territory boast some of the most spectacular natural beauty in the world, much of it protected by one of our national parks.  Much of the tuna consumed in the United States is canned or packaged in American Samoa.


Fa’a-Samoa, means the Samoan way.  It dictates how Samoans are meant to behave. The basic unit of the Samoan society is the "aiga" (the family or extended family), headed by a "matai" or chief. The culture also recognizes the village and the church as predominant organizations that influence personal and communal activities. At the country and district level, village chiefs deliberate and choose the highest-ranking chiefs to serve in the Senate, where eighteen seats are reserved for the traditional leaders of the society. Together with  the popularly elected House of Representatives, the Senate makes up the bicameral body also called the "Fono" which handles all legislative and tax affairs.    


The way to power and authority in Samoan is through service.  Samoans are loyal people.  We are very loyal to our God, our families and our cultural. American Samoa is the only U.S. territory south of the Equator.

Samoa


Samoa, formerly Western Samoa, is in the South Pacific Ocean about 137 miles away from American Samoa or 45 minutes by plane.   The independent State of Samoa, located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, comprises nine islands that are volcanic in origin.  The capital is Apia, located on the northern coast of Upolu and it’s known for its beautiful black sand beaches


Samoa’s natural wonders of waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, volcanoes, and miles of white sand beachesbeckon the adventurer seeking peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of modern society.  Staying at one of the locally run beach fales such as “Tanu Beach Fales” in Manase, in the island of Savaii is a great way to see the natural beauty of the islands and to immerse yourself in the local culture and the Fa’a Samoa.


The government is described as being a constitutional monarchy, has a 49-member legislative assembly whose 47 members are from the matai, or titled class.   Samoan and English are the official languages. The population is 180,000.  Samoan has a Westminster legal system based on the English legal system as adopted by many of the Commonwealth countries.  It is also a Parliamentary democracy where it’s Parliament is elected through universal sufrage every five years and a Prime Minister and Cabinet manage the day to day affairs of the country.

In 1900 Samoa was appropriated by Germany. During World War I, the armed forces of New Zealand occupied the country. After the war, Samoa remained under the control of New Zealand for the next 41 years.  A resistance movement known as the Mau movement, helped to edge the islands toward independence.  In 1961 the people voted for independence, to take Samoan customs into account.  The United Nations General Assembly voted to terminate the trusteeship. Western Samoa became independent on January 1, 1962.

 

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