American Samoa’s islands make up the eastern part of the Samoan Archipelago, whose people are Polynesian. Archaeologists state early Polynesians traveled from South East Asia into the Pacific populating the islands of the western Pacific from Papua New Guinea to Tonga and Samoa. It was from to Tonga and Samoa sometime later that they migrated east and populated the Cook Islands, Niue, Tahiti and Rapanui (Easter Island) before heading north to Hawaii and south to Aotearoa (New Zealand) on the last legs of the great Polynesian migration. Today Samoan’s are regarded as the largest full blooded Polynesian race left in the world. Fa’a Samoa or the Samoan way is the foundation of Samoan society culture and heritage. Aiga or extended family is the core of the Fa’a Samoa, where at the head of the family are matai or chiefs and each family member has their role to play in their tautua, or service to the extended family. Our customs and culture are over 3,000 years old and has changed very little over this period. The most major western influence accepted into Samoan custom has been Christianity which forms the spiritual basis of our society.
Fa’a Samoa or the Samoan Way is the foundation of Samoan society culture and heritage. Aiga or extended family is the core of the Fa’a Samoa, where at the head of the family are matai’s or chiefs and each family member has their role to play in their tautua, or service to the well being of the extended family throughout life. Christianity is also a major foundation block in Fa’a Samoa.
Customs & Culture
Fa’a Samoa customs and culture are over 3000 years old and have changed very little over this period. The most major western influence accepted into Samoan customs has been Christianity which forms the spiritual basis of our society.
Our culture and customs are based around the mutual respect given to our elders, the church, visitors, and the extended family.
Matai or chiefs make up the heads of the extended family units and each person has their duties to play in the well being of the family and its members and come together when ever needed.
Sunday is a day of worship throughout American Samoa. Government and business are closed during this day.
All Samoan’s are Christians and in every village, residents will be seen dressing in their Sunday best and heading off to church.
Visitors are most welcome to worship in any faith of their choosing and the main religions represented on island are – Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa; Roman Catholic Church; Methodist Church of American Samoa; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Assembly of God; Seventh Day Adventist; Bahai Faith; Penticostal Church of American Samoa; Congregational Christian Church of Jesus Christ; Baptist Church; Jehovah’s Witness; Manumalo Baptist Church; First Samoa Full Gospel; Calvary Christian Chapel; Church of Christ; Church of God of Prophecy; Church of the Nazarene; Emmanuel Baptist Church’ First Samoan Christian Church’ Happy Valley Baptist; Korean Baptist; Saint John Episcopal Church and the Free Church of Tonga.
Our US Connection
American Samoa is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior.
The Samoan Islands (American Samoa and Independent Samoa) were first discovered by European explorers in the 18th Century but its islands have been inhabited for over 3000 years.
During international rivalries in the latter half of the 19th Century over the Samoan Islands, Germany and the United States divided the Samoan archipelago by the signing of the 1899 Berlin Treaty, with the US formally taking over the eastern islands of Samoa.
On April 17, 1900 the high chiefs of the eastern islands of Samoa and the US signed the ‘Deed of Cession’ where American Samoa became a Territory of the United States.
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