Ads by Google Ads by Google

A little locally known fact — November is Native American Heritage Month

Native Am Heritage month banner

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A little locally known fact — November is Native American Heritage Month

A local resident told Samoa News that he has been trying to get the Jean P. Haydon Museum interested in “Native American Heritage Month”, which was signed into law by former US President George H. W. Bush.

HIs reason: The Samoan culture is similar to 571 Native Tribes on the US continent, Alaska and Hawaii.

“Without strong chiefs to look after clans how do Samoans expect their culture to survive when Matai on island continue to convert communal family land into their own (individually-owned land), then sell it!”

He points out that “All Samoans, 18 and older, have a legal right to be allowed to vote for their family’s matai when the time comes.

“Election of matai is not the exclusive right of family elders, so states local statutes.”

In 1990, then President George H. W. Bush signed into law a joint resolution designating the month of November as the first National Native American Heritage Month.

It was Introduced by Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D Hawaii) and Congressional Delegate Eni Faloemavaega (Samoan), commending the immense contributions of Native Americans to the nation.

The Administration For Native American website states that this year’s theme is “Seeds” — recognizing that your indigenous culture, including language, food security, and cultural and historical knowledge relates to your health and well being.

ANA was established in 1974 through the Native American Programs Act. According to the ANA website, it “serves all Native Americans, including federally recognized tribes, American Indian and Alaska Native organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations and Native populations throughout the Pacific Basin (including American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).”

It promotes “self-sufficiency for Native Americans by providing discretionary grant funding for community based projects, and training and technical assistance to eligible tribes and native organizations.”

For example in March of this year, the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) released the five books it published that are a collection of contemporary and traditional literature and arts authored by community members. The texts feature Samoan language and images. Funding for the project was part of the ANA awards for Native Language Preservation and Maintenance Emergency grant through the ARP Act of 2021.