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November 23, 1999
Samoa News


By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 23, 1999 – Samoa News)---The spirit of the holiday season is wafting through the territory with the four-day Thanksgiving weekend putting everyone in a festive mood.

KSBS-FM radio started the holiday mood with Christmas songs and some stores already are selling Yuletide decorations alongside Thanksgiving items.

The government has once again decided to extend the party and declared Friday an official holiday, in addition to Thanksgiving Day Thursday.

For those keeping track, Thanksgiving Day started in 1620, when the Pilgrims, newly arrived in northeastern North America from England on board the Mayflower, were given food by the American Indians.

The Thanksgiving message from Governor and Mrs. Tauese Sunia reminds the people of the Territory that Thanksgiving is not "only about food, but also about sharing. While we should enjoy our Thanksgiving feast, "remember that many people in the world live in abject poverty and have little food, or perhaps no food on this day," the Sunias advised.

"We in Samoa can take pride in the fact that no one here is homeless, and no one is starving. Let us be thankful for that."

The long holiday weekend usually produces mayhem at Pago Pago International Airport, with passengers flocking to neighboring Samoa aboard Polynesian Airlines and Samoa Air.

Both airlines said they started adding extra flights yesterday to accommodate the heavy load of holiday passengers.

StarKist Samoa is off Thursday and Friday. Dr. Meki Solomona said yesterday that every company employee (all 2,900 of them) will receive a turkey. The company also is providing turkeys for the elderly at Fatu-O-Aiga and for others at the hospital.

COS Samoa Packing officials could not be reached for confirmation, but workers are expected to be off Friday as well as Thursday.

Many private sector businesses will be closed on Thursday but open on Friday, including the two local banks and the post office.

For those who choose to drink alcohol, be forewarned that the Department of Public Safety will increase its patrols during the holiday period and it would be unwise and dangerous to drive after drinking.



PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 23, 1999 – Samoa News)---If you are unusually perceptive, you may have noticed that the inter-island Lady Naomi vessel is in port but it’s not the right time of the week for her visit from Samoa.

What’s up with this new schedule? The passenger ferry is here for a routine safety inspection by insurers and the U.S. Coast Guard.

"The safety procedures are very important and a priority," according to Captain Fa‘afetai Fa‘amatuainu.



PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 23, 1999 – Samoa News)---The House Investigative Committee (HIC) alleges that the Jubilee Committee Chairman and the former Legislative Financial Officer were primarily responsible for the corruption involved in the half-million dollar overspending of the Golden Jubilee account.

The HIC report, forwarded to the Attorney General last week, also alleges wrongdoing by a total of 21 people, including three lawmakers, several Fono employees and other individuals.



PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 23, 1999 – Samoa News)---Pelesi Tuitele of Leone Village appeared in District Court yesterday morning after he was arrested and charged with first degree burglary and first degree property damage.

Tuitele is being accused of severely damaging a parked car that belonged to a school official.

The car had its front and rear windshields and three of its side windows smashed in. The police later found several rocks inside the car.



PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 23, 1999 – Samoa News)---They play well and so easily. Their strumming is pleasing to listen to. Their voices, in exquisite harmony, offer Samoan folk songs.

"Pei o auma e le fiu e fafati...," wonderfully comparing the incessant attempts of a driven lover to that of the never-ending pounding of the waves, sounds as good as ever when it is played by the members of the only ukulele band in Samoa.

No, it is not some professional group, or a club, but a selection of fifteen elementary school students from Pago Pago Elementary School.

"The ukulele has become a symbol for Samoan folk art," Principal Evelyn Weilenman said, "and we’re proud to be teaching the children the skills to enable them to express their feelings through music."

Three times a week, the students immerse themselves in the instruments and in the Samoan music of olden days.



PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 23, 1999 – Samoa News)---"We had to show our resolve in reviving the seafaring skills from our past," said Mark Kneubuhl, one of the leaders of Aiga Tautai o Samoa Society.

The society built a traditional alia in 1996, but lost it to its builder, Maselino Ioane, after Ioane successfully sued the non-profit group for unpaid wages.

The new traditional alia is shorter than the first one (40 feet vs. 60 feet).

Kneubuhl, who is building it primarily with Mick McCuddin, said it is a labor of love as they pour themselves into fulfilling their dream of teaching today’s youth about the skills practiced by Samoan sailors in the past.

"It goes a long way in helping the young people realize who they are."

Samoan sailors were deeply respected by other Pacific Islanders because of their outstanding skills and feats, according to Sven Ortquist, one of the founding members of ATOS.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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