This month, on July 16 we will celebrate 114 years since the last of our islands, the Manu’a group, ceded to the United States as a protectorate. At the time when American Samoa became a US Territory on April 17, 1900, the High Chiefs of Manu’a did not wish to cede their group of islands and opted out of the agreement.  Four years later in 1904, Tui Manu’a Elisara, the King of Manu’a, signed the Deed of Cession swearing allegiance to the United States and ceding the Manu’a Islands as her protectorate. From that day forward, July 16 has been observed as Manu’a Cession Day, separate from our Territory’s Flag Day, which is celebrated on April 17. Although Manu’a ceded in 1904, it was not made a public holiday until 1983 when the first official celebration was held in the Manu’a Islands with a church service, parade, and cultural songs & dances. Over the years, celebrations have been different sizes varying from grand to simple. This year’s celebration will be held in Ta’u and is slated to be small with a church service, raising of the flag, and reading of the proclamation. The Governor, Lt. Governor and their cabinet are all expected to attend and celebrate this momentous occasion with the residents of Manu’a.