A few thousand miles southwest of Hawaii lies American Samoa, the American territory of the Samoan Islands. If you grew up in the United States, and you were told that you were Samoan, this is probably the origin of your American ancestors. The islands were occupied by American soldiers during the First World War, and many of the soldiers brought home Samoan wives. If you want to celebrate your ancestral origins and share cultural heritage with your children, here are a few ways you can do just that.
Early American Samoa Pictures
There is a cultural preservation society dedicated to American Samoan heritage. For the most part, they gather and preserve pictures of Early Samoan natives. There is not enough information about these pictures to identify them, but their manner of dress and weapons are enough to identify and relate to their culture as a Samoan. In addition to these pictures, if your family has any old photos taken from a hundred years ago (or more!) or if you can help identify the people in these photos, the preservation society would definitely like to meet your family and talk about all things Samoan.
Native American Museums That Feature Samoan Artifacts
There are some coastal museums that feature Samoan artifacts. If you live in Hawaii, these museums may be a little more common than on the coasts of the lower forty-eight states. They are worth the trip to share with your children some of the tools and weapons your ancestors used to hunt, fish and gather food, as well as tools used to farm, build huts, etc.
Purchasing a Course on How to Speak Samoan
If you have lost the ability to speak the language of your ancestors, take heart. It is not a dead language, and you can buy a course to re-learn it. Your children can also learn from the course, and then you can attempt to speak Samoan at home as a second language. If you have living grandparents who still speak it fluently, they can be an excellent learning and practicing source for you and the kids too.
Learning Samoan Dances and Samoan Celebrations
Like many native cultures, Samoans have a polytheistic culture. If you are unwilling to convert to Samoan spiritual practices, you can still enjoy some of your culture's celebrations. Find out when these celebrations are held, what they entail, and then try them in your own home.
For more information on early American Samoa, check out books like PICTURES OF CHANGE IN PARADISE.