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Domestic Unit. The household averages seven people and consists of one or more nuclear families and some collateral relatives. It tends to involve three generations and is flexible in composition.

The occupants are related through blood, marriage, and adoption. After marriage, couples settle either in the household of the bride or the groom, each of which is headed by a matai.

All social and economic activities are under the control of the matai, who is usually a male. Kin Groups.

The largest kin group is the 'aiga, which includes all individuals tracing kinship to a common ancestor.

This extended family may have households in different parts of a village or in several villages. The matai of these households exercise various levels of authority within the 'aiga.

Matai are members of the village council fono which is a regulatory and decision-making body for the community.

A matai settles family squabbles and makes decisions about the family's financial contributions to weddings, funerals, and church donations.

The entire 'aiga interacts primarily at weddings, funerals, elections and installations of matai, and family emergencies. Infant Care. Infants receive a great deal of affection and attention and are held and carried during the first year of life.

The household usually includes a grandmother, who often serves as primary babysitter. Babies are fed when hungry and sleep where and when they doze off.

Child Rearing and Education. Young children are supervised by a grandmother or other women in A high school auditorium in Utulei, on the island of Tutuila.

American Samoa offers educational programs for preschool children, as well as universal public education through high school.

From an early age, obedience and respect for age and authority are encouraged. There is an educational program for preschool children and universal public school education through high school.

There are a few parochial schools. Higher Education. American Samoa Community College on Tutuila offers associate-level degrees. Most students major in liberal arts, teacher education, and business.

Some students attend college in the United States. About seven percent of the population age twenty-five and older have a bachelor's or more advanced degree.

Samoans are meticulous about courtesy, particularly toward the elderly and holders of chiefly titles.

One does not stand while others are seated, and if one enters a room where others are sitting on the floor, it is proper to bend slightly and say "Tulouna" "excuse me".

A respect vocabulary is used when speaking to chiefs. Reciprocal courtesy and etiquette are characteristic at ceremonial and political events.

Religious Beliefs. Before the arrival of missionaries in , Tagaloa was recognized as the creator of the islands and their people and matai served as family religious leaders.

Known today as the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa, it ministers to fifty percent of the population, while the Catholic Church claims twenty percent and Mormon, Methodist, and Pentecostal churches serve the remaining thirty percent.

Samoans are faithful churchgoers and generous supporters of village churches and pastors. Religious Practitioners. With the exception of the Catholic Church, which usually includes a few Caucasians among its leaders, most denominations have Samoan religious leaders.

Rituals and Holy Places. Church services follow Western rituals, and choral music is an important element. Most villages have at least one church.

The dedication of new churches is of supreme importance and involves feasts and choral competitions A village council meeting of chiefs.

In American Samoa, village leadership is the function of a council made up of the chiefs, or matai, of each household. The second Sunday in October is White Sunday, when church services are conducted by children, who sing, recite Bible verses, and present plays.

All wear new white clothing. After church the children are served a meal at home featuring special foods. Death and the Afterlife.

Death is viewed as being "God's will. Until the s, funerals were the day after death. Developments of mortuary services allows delayed burial to accommodate overseas relatives.

Gifts are given to the family, and burial is done on family land. American Samoa is a relatively healthy place, but hypertension and obesity are significant health problems in the population.

Leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, and cerebrovascular disease. A hospital on Tutuila provides medical, surgical, obstetric, pediatric, and emergency care.

More limited services are available at several small clinics, usually staffed by nurses, in a few outlying villages.

Local air service is used to transport seriously ill people from Manua'a. There is limited reliance on traditional healers bush medicine , particularly for ailments known before European contact.

Flag Day is celebrated on 17 April to commemorate the raising of the American flag over American Samoa in , when the islands became a U.

Activities include traditional group dancing and singing, speeches, cricket games, and races in long canoes, each with about 50 oarsmen.

Support for the Arts. The Arts Council and the Government Museum support art instruction for children and adults and subsidize traditional artists to perpetuate traditional arts.

Oratory is a valued tradition, and a vast body of mythology, legends and poetry survives through use by talking chiefs in village council deliberations and speeches at ceremonial occasions.

Graphic Arts. Samoans value siapo barkcloth tapestries and finemats as family property to be A panoramic view of Pago Pago Bay, a central point for commercial shipping in American Samoa.

Production of siapo and finemats is increasingly rare. At one time being tattooed was a male requirement for aumage membership or to qualify for a chief's title.

Practice of this art has long been forbidden in American Samoa, but renewed interest in recent years attracts young men to the former Western Samoa for the elaborate knee-to-upper-abdomen tattoos.

Performance Arts. Group singing and dancing are common art forms. Large dance groups of men or women perform movements in unison with hand claps and body slaps.

Solo dances are performed by the village ceremonial princess taupou , sometimes flanked by male support dancers.

American Samoa government. American Samoa Statistical Yearbook, Baker, Paul, J. Hanna, and T. The Changing Samoans, Bindon, James R.

Cote, James. Holmes, Lowell D. Samoan Village: Then and Now , 2nd ed. Oliver, Douglas. The Pacific Islands , 3rd ed.

Bureau of the Census. Statistical Abstract of the United States, Toggle navigation. Culture Name American Samoan. History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation.

In American Samoa. Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space Until the twentieth century, the lifestyle was rural, and this remains the case in outlying islands and most villages outside Pago Pago Bay.

Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Political Life Government. Social Welfare and Change Programs The Department of Human and Social Services administers federally funded programs that include disability services, foster care, child care subsidies and provider training, drug and alcohol counseling, and vocational rehabilitation.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations Villages often have an organization of chiefs' wives.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship Marriage. Socialization Infant Care. Etiquette Samoans are meticulous about courtesy, particularly toward the elderly and holders of chiefly titles.

Religion Religious Beliefs. Medicine and Health Care American Samoa is a relatively healthy place, but hypertension and obesity are significant health problems in the population.

Secular Celebrations Flag Day is celebrated on 17 April to commemorate the raising of the American flag over American Samoa in , when the islands became a U.

The Arts and Humanities Support for the Arts. Bibliography American Samoa government. Gray, J. Amerika Samoa, Mead, Margaret.

Coming of Age in Samoa, Social Organization of Manu'a, 2nd ed. Whistler, W. Samoan Herbal Medicine, Also read article about American Samoa from Wikipedia.

User Contributions: 1. Nathen Laita-Leatutufu. This article was a great source of info. It is always great to read, or hear about our Culture.

Any idea thanks Pierre. I have just recently met a Samoan man in Michigan. So I am learning online as much as I can about the culture.

He is so very gentlemen like and has unbelievable charisma! Beautiful culture! Those people are lucky to live half way between the comfort of American influence -justice, health- and still enjoying the Great Nature with the well-know native respect toward.

Malo li uso e. Fa'afetai lava mo le information. Thank you for posting it up in the first place. I am a youth writing an article about White Sunday and I was trying to find as much information about the history of White Sunday.

I am a Samoan girl who knows the meaning of White Sunday. Anyway, thank you and let's not forget to keep Samoa and the other southern islands that have been hit by the tsunami in our prayers.

Fa'afetai lava ma manuia le aso. This is a very nice article. By the way, Manu'a is spelled wrong, however overall it is pretty good I really enjoyed reading about our culture its nice to know that people in the mainland are able to read about our culture.

I hope its something to be read and not to misjudge us on our doings. But other than that it helped me a lot with what I had to research.

Seuta'atia Faumuina Iosia. American Samoa was rich! Proud to be samoan! This article is fabulous and amazing. Im doing my project about our culture and I found this website and it really helped me for what im doing for my I-search paper.

Im so happy that i read through all of this info about our culture. Thanx anyways for this good info about the Samoan history and culture.

I never knew that about land sales being outlawed. Missing home and did a search that brought me to your site. Thank you for handling the information of our island with respect.

The description of raising children made me nostalgic. As a very young child, I remember falling asleep in the shade while my grandmother worked on the lawn.

Great memories :. Lilly Rosa Tauala. Oh my gosh! Samoa was so great in the past. Believe it or not American Samoa is great. Because there's not much supplies or shelter for every single one of us but American are helping.

Us Samoan are under United states of American. Its great that these information have brought it out to us Samoans so that we could know what to the past.

Surely we know about samoans but not much at all. Thank You reseachers. Irene Fa'atupuinati. The article sounds so tremendous The way we live is the way we think I want to know why does cultural and beliefs are revelant to the highset rate of obesity in American Samoa?

Lovely summary of the peopel and culture of Samoa. Can any one volunteer and help me get a link person to discuss cultural relationship with "Samoa" I would be so happy for your support.

Thank you. We were told to study a pacific island country and i was given this country american samoa to study and present on it.

I am fascinated with the culture of the Samoan people. I am a retired superintendent of schools from districts in California.

My son was employed as an athletic trainer by the Los Angeles Ram's professional football team before they moved the franchise to St. He became quite close to several Samoan players from Brigham Young University who were trying out in an attempt to make the Ram's roster.

He was invited to the Samoan celebrations and remained close to the players for many years. He often talks of the passion and warmth of the Samoan people and families he met during those years.

He is now a physician and often speaks of his desire to visit Samoa. Since retirement, I have traveled extensively and most recently worked as a non-medical volunteer for Operation Smile in Cebu City, Republic of the Philippines.

I have recently authored a book titled Delia's Promise available through Lulu. I was concerned that the fishibg and cannery industries are closing and it will possibly create a serious employment and economic void in the Samoan population which already suffers a low family income dilema.

Combined with the closing of these industries and a recent tsunami, the country appears to face serious economic, educational and societal issues.

I had a vision tonight. Please understand that I am not a radical zealot in any manner of my life's experience, but I was greatly impressed with the values described on the programming tonight regarding the deep respect young people had for their families and elders and the warmth and devotion of the people presented by the Sixty Minute producers.

My so-called vision included the potential opportunity to parley the high visibility of Samoan college and NFL players and the excitement they produce among American sports fans to bring to Samoa an industry of recognition, support and funding of educational opportunities for Samaon youth.

If those franchises were contacted with the proposition of participating in the funding of schools, playing facilities and equipment for the development of Sasmoan youth,, with the advantage of having these franchises recognized by the Samoan people for their generosity and support of the Samoan people, those franchises very well might become the recognized agencies and organuzations that promote not only the support and develpment for the remarkable athletic talents of the Samoan young men but also recognized for the creation of good physical facilities to support all athletic activities for Samoan youth but also the enhancement of acadimic programs in the public schools of Samoa.

The natural evolution of such a relationship of these NFL franchises and Samoan youth would create a loyalty of the the franchises to recruit the talents of future NFL Samoan football players.

Importing excellent teachers and staff to work in Samoan schools has great potential. I serves as a personnel officer in public schools and I am experienced in the recuiting of teachers and administrators.

I am also an avid sports enthusiast and I have received awards and recognition for my work with our students here in California. It is my intention to visit American Samoa very soon and I would be interested in meeting anyone in the administration who would be willing to meet with me to discuss these ideas.

From such dreams and ideas often comes progress and hope. I am not interested in any remuneration for my efforts, just an exciting personal interest in the process of creating a synergistic opportunity which just might result in enhanced opportunities for the young people of American Samoa.

Sincerely Peter Shaw. It is always such a thrill to refresh or to learn much more about our humble beginnings of our People, Culture as well as our Religious beliefs.

We are definitely a "Proud People". Faafetai and a BIG faamalo to you for this article, I enjoyed reading through how our Samoan culture and how it became a true survivor in the past.

May the good Lord bless you with all the good work you have done. Hi, I am doing an research about the loss of the samoan culture. What are three ways people are loosing their culture?

I'm heading to Samoa fyi, not American Samoa, is this a huge difference as well? I was adopted as a new born, my dad is a American Samoan, i love reading about my culture, i will be visiting Samoa soon.

Reading this article as helped me better understand the many cultures in our world. I am 17 and i am currently living in albuquerque,NM at a school called :Albuquerque Job Corps: every month we have a new culture to learn about, my father told me that one of my grandparents were Samoan so reading this article just made me want to learn more.

They debated it and now its safe to say that next year more people will be more aware on this Beautiful culture. Thank You For Posting. Talofa lava!

This is the most truthful and beautiful illustration of the Samoan Island and culture. I'm thankful for the information you've provided and I am forever proud of my heritage!

I am a Samoan whose been away from Samoa for too long. My future husband is Palagi American,French Cajun and this article helps him learn about my Samoan culture as well.

Fa'afetai Tele for your work on this. Manuia lava!! Jan Armstrong. Thank you for this very informative article.

I need some guidance - I am going to American Samoa on business in a few weeks and need to know how to dress appropriately for the meetings.

I am a 61 year old Caucasian woman, and widowed, Would it be acceptable to wear lava lava to business meetings and a training for community healt care groups that my company is offering?

I would also wear a light jacket or scarf to cover my shoulders. Would the Samoans appreciate this style of dress or find it objectionable or ridiculous on me?

Thanks for any help you can give me Nice article. Some men look for foreign women specifically, and and may be rather forward when they meet you.

When out at a bar, if a man wants to dance with you, he will ask any men in your company if it is okay. If the man or men with you say yes, then you dance.

The Warrior: Samoa still has a warrior culture, and it is not uncommon for grown men to solve their difficulties with a physical fight. The warrior is fiercely loyal to his family and his village.

According to everyone on the island, she is female. As a very religious place, Samoa is generally not gay-friendly. Some Samoans will use this logic to claim that there is not a single gay Samoan on the island.

In Samoa the definition of gay is different and the view of gender is broader. Be sure to visit with an open mind! Knees and shoulders should be covered.

Women are also expected to act more passively than men and draw less attention to themselves. Of course this is not true of all Samoan women, but it is an expectation.

I did not know of any women matai while I was there. Generally, women are not welcome at the fono , the village meeting between the elders.

They are generally proud to be a part of America and are eager to tell you what part of the States they have visited. There is typically very little stigma about being American.

Safety Transportation. The aiga buses are the most fun way to travel! They play loud island music and have the windows down so that you can catch a fresh ocean breeze.

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American Samoan Women - Authors’ contributions

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