Governor Togiola leads celebration of 112th Flag Day in American Samoa

(UTULEI: Tuesday, April 17, 2012) – Governor Togiola Tulafono joined Federal Government and Pacific dignitaries and invited guests today to commemorate the 112th anniversary of the raising of the United States flag on Samoan soil at the opening of the 2012 Flag Day celebration at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tafuna.

In welcoming the Pacific island dignitaries, diplomatic corps, and U.S. Federal Government officials, which included --Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Tuvalu Governor-General Sir Iakoba Taei Italeli, Tonga Crown Prince Tupouto’a ’Ulukalala ’Aho’eitu, Tokelau Titular Head – Ulu o Tokelau Aliki Faipule Kerisiano Kalolo, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for Insular Areas Anthony Babauta, Interior Director of Insular Affairs Nikolao Pula, and American Samoa Congressman Faleomavaega Eni-- Governor Togiola gave his final Flag Day Address to the people of American Samoa, where he touched on why the American Samoa forefathers thought to keep the agreement of cession with the United States in “an unorganized, unincorporated fashion.” Governor Togiola said “perhaps that is why later generations of Samoans never sought to change the unorganized, unincorporated status.” (Read entire Flag Day Address below)

Invited guests also in attendance were Solomon Islands Minister of Public Service Mr. Bradley Tovosia, Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to Fiji Mr. Peter Eafeare, Niue High Commissioner to New Zealand Ms. O’Love Jacobsen, New Zealand Consul-General to American Samoa, who also serves as High Commissioner to Samoa, Mr. Nick Hurley, U.S. Marine Corps Commanding General and Recruiting Commander – Brigadier General Joseph Osterman, and U.S Coast Guard Pacific Region Commander – Admiral Charles Ray.

Governor Togiola also expressed his gratitude for the participation in this year’s celebration of the U.S. Marine Corps Band, the Samoa Police Band, the Petesa Uta Youth Band, Independent Samoa entertainers from the villages of Lano, Savai’i and Salea’aumua, Upolu, and the longboat crew from Salelologa, Savai’i – the 2011 Samoa Independence Day and Teuila Festival Fautasi Champions -Tolotolo o Tama Uli.

Governor Togiola also thanked local entertainers from the villages of Ofu, Manu’a, Alataua and Vailoatai of the Western District, Vatia of the Eastern District, the fautasi crews of Nu’uuli Satani, Pago Pago Aeto, Vatia Fua’o, Manu’a Tele Matasaua, Fagatogo Iseulaolemoana, Samoana High School Sharks, Faga’alu Fetu o le Afiafi, Aua Paepaeulupo’o, Fagasa Fealofani III, the U.S. Army Reserve, the Department of Public Safety, Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, StarKist Samoa, youth, village and civic groups.

Flag Day Chairman – Lieutenant Governor Faoa Sunia had announced early this year that the 2012 Flag Day would be dedicated to Governor Togiola, who leaves office this year after serving as governor since March 2003 when Governor Tauese Sunia died in office. He was elected as lieutenant governor in 1996.

The U.S. flag was raised by High Chief Faumuina Tagisia and High Chief Nua Saoluaga, while the American Samoa flag was hoisted Mr. Tupufia Soa and Taliloa Faipea Jr.

The Flag Day ceremony included the swearing in of 39 U.S. Army and two U.S. Marine Corps recruits, who took their Oath of Enlistment before Governor Togiola and Brigadier General Joseph Osterman. The recruits, 28 young men and 13 women between 19 and 21 years-old, include 19 seniors, who will graduate this June, seven American Samoa Community College students, and the remaining 15 are civilians.
In his message at the swearing in ceremony, Governor Togiola told the recruits to remember their roots when offering themselves to be of service to the U.S. Armed Forces.

“Be proud that you are Samoan. Be proud to be serving in the military services of the United Stated of America, the greatest nation on the face of the earth,” said Governor Togiola. “When you say, ‘So help me God,’ you have offered yourselves and you have given the most solemn of commitment through your oath to serve.”


Governor Togiola encouraged the recruits that while defending liberty of the world remember that America has been good to American Samoa.

“America has been a great nation to be working under and you will be serving that great nation to protect us and to protect our democratic ideals, and to protect our freedom and you will also be called upon to help protect the freedom of people around the world because they cannot do it themselves; that is everything that you swore to uphold today,” said Governor Togiola. “On behalf of the Samoan people and the government, I wish you Godspeed and good health as the next generation of Toa Samoa. Be brave, be loyal and be honest. Good luck and may God be with you.”


After the Flag Day ceremony, Governor Togiola and Lieutenant Governor Faoa stood in front of the main grandstand to greet and applaud the marchers of the biggest Flag Day parade in recent memory.

Governor Togiola and First Lady Mary Ann hosted the Flag Day luncheon at Tradewinds Hotel in Tafuna and the Flag Day State Dinner at the newly dedicated Fale Samoa Toe Timata Le Upega at Su’iga’ula, Utulei.

2012 Flag Day celebration will continue tomorrow with the five-mile International Fautasi Race at Pago Pago Bay starting at 9am to be followed by cultural entertainment by Lano, Savai’i, Vailoatai – Western District, Salea’aumua, Upolu and Vatia of the Eastern District. The festivities will conclude with traditional Samoan gift presentations, awarding of prizes, official cultural address by Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa, and words of thanks from Lieutenant Governor Faoa.


Governor Togiola Tulafono
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Tafuna, American Samoa

Talofa Amerika Samoa. Happy anniversary. One hundred and twelve!

I offer greetings to your excellencies, dignitaries, the government representatives, members of the diplomatic corps in the Pacific Islands representing your respective governments, I welcome you to American Samoa and thank you for gracing our shores in this celebration with your presence. Fa’afetai tele.

Welcome to the Honorable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Fatialofa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa; and also welcome to Assistant Secretary Anthony Babauta of the United States Department of the Interior, and Director of Insular Affairs Mr. Nikolao Pula. Talofa.

It is truly an honor to welcome His Highness Tupouto’a Ulukalala ’Aho’eitu - Crown Prince of Tonga. Thank you for joining us in this celebration. We welcome the Governor-General of Tuvalu Sir Iakoba Taei Italeli, and talofa to the Titular Head of Tokelau – Ulu o Tokelau, Le Aliki Faipule, Kerisiano Kalolo.

Greetings also to American Samoa’s representative in the U.S. Congress, the Honorable Faleomavaega Eni, U.S. military officials, invited guest and the people of American Samoa.

One hundred and twelve years ago, a couple of hundred people gathered on top of Sogelau Hill with a makeshift flagpole, and raised the United States flag over the islands of Tutuila and Aunu’u. It was not the first time the flag was raised as it was raised in 1872 and 1878. Then on April 17th 1900, it was raised again shortly after the signing of the Agreement of Cession. The agreement in its first part recites with no uncertainty, the action of the three major powers of the world; Germany, Great Britain and the United States of America. Where in 1899, they met in Berlin and executed the Berlin Treaty where they partitioned the sovereign nation of Samoa where they agreed that when they returned, all islands East of longitude 171 West of Greenwich would be under the control of the United States of America, and islands West of this line would be under the control of Germany.

We had no say. We had no agreement to be partitioned. We did not seek to be partitioned. We were a sovereign nation and the agreement does speak to that. It acknowledges that Samoa is a sovereign nation of its own. Since that time, our chiefs in Tutuila and Aunu’u, and four years later in Manu’a, have ceded the complete authority to legislate and control the islands to the United States Government.

So therefore, everything that we exercise today, we only exercise the power that is not ours; the power that belongs to someone else. That is why our forefathers thought to keep the agreement in an unorganized, unincorporated fashion. Perhaps that is why later generations of Samoans never sought to change the unorganized, unincorporated status.

For us, we have been too busy trying to define what those words meant. But we failed our duty as citizens to seek out the message and read between the lines what it meant. I think the time has come for us to do our duty and read between the lines. If we have been left unorganized and unincorporated for 112 years, I ask you, are you happy with that? Is that a political status that you would like your children to grow up in? I say this, life has been good. But if we have any pride, we must seek to change that political status all other countries, major and minor, have changed their status so they can be truly self-governed with self-determination. We must have that American Samoa.

We cannot do that unless we do it for ourselves, and I say the time has come for us to rise up and determine for ourselves what it is that we want to do or self-determination will never come. Self-governance will not happen if we do not rise together and work together. You see, as I read more into the history of these agreements, Captain Benjamin Tilley in 1902 read it right and he promulgated the first, initial regulation that still lives today that said there shall be no alienation of communal and cultural land unless it s approved by the governor. Why did he seek to do that? Because he sought to read in between the lines the agreements in its most essential essence was that Samoa shall be preserved for Samoans. I believe that is the underlying essence of these agreements but we have failed to see it for all these years.

Captain Tilley saw it. And that regulation has become the law. It has been enacted by our own legislative enactments since that time. It was an effort to stop the rush to sell communal land to merchants and to people who were offering money. If that Captain had not seen the essence of that agreement and sought to do what he did, I dare say, American Samoa would not be what it is today. We would not have any land. We would not have the best of the lands that we have now. I say, it is time that we do our duty and rise up and make that determination for ourselves for no one else will.

The time is now and we must act. Let us have a great celebration today and let us have a moment to think about what it is that our forefathers left for us to do. Let us re-examine the essence of these agreements and do what our fore parents wanted us to do.



(Samoan version)
Lauga o le Sisiga Fu’a 2012
Afioga i le Kovana Sili o Amerika Samoa
Togiola T.A. Tulafono
Aso Lua, 17 Aperila 2012
Malae i Lupelele
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Tafuna, Amerika Samoa

Ua paia Lupelele. Ua paia le aso. Ua mamalu fo’i le fetalai mae’ae’a o le tu’ua o le saofiga – le tofa ia Afuola Nanai. Paepae ma teuteu fa’alaulelei sa ma faigata o lenei aso aua le paia o le Faleagafulu, aua le pa’ia o le Manu’a Tele, aua fo’i le tapua’iga a le usoga ia Pule ma Tumua. O pa’ia na o le atunu’usa o Samoa, o le a ou le toe au’ili’iliina, ae tau ia ina fa’apipii i ai lo’u leo fa’atauva’a.

Ou te fa’atulou atu ma fa’anoi atu - fa’aagafua ia le tulaga ma le leo ona o fuafuaga o lenei aso. Pa’ia o le Malo o Amerika Samoa i lona tafatolu tutusa, ou te fa’atulou atu. Pa’ia fo’i o ekalesia i ona fa’auluuluga ma ona ta’itai o lo’o tapua’ia le saogalemu ma le filemu o le atunu’u ma nounou manu aua le manuia o Amerika Samoa. Ou te fa’atulou. Fa’amalilie, aumaia se avanoa, tau ia ona ou fa’afeiloa’i atu e fai ma sui o le Malo ma le tatou atunu’u i a tatou malo fa’aaloalogia.

Fa’atalofa atu i lau afioga i le ali’i Palemia Tuila’epa Lupesoliai Fatialofa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi ma le au malaga, ae maise ai o le mamalu o Pule ma Tumua ua pa’au mai e fa’amamalu ma fa’amatagofie lenei aso - mai alalafaga, o outou olo sa o le atunu’u, ae maise ai o le malu o malo ua outou tilitili anuanu mai ona o le fa’atalau’ula atu a lenei itu o le atunu’u. Fa’afetai tele i lau afioga, malo le fai uso, faafetai le fa’aaloalo.

Fa’atalofa atu i le afio mai o lau afioga i le sui failautusi - greetings to Assistant Secretary Anthony Papauta of the United States Department of Interior. O le matagaluega o lo’o tatou fai pa’aga ia ma lau faigamalaga. O se tasi fo’i o alo o le atunu’u, le susuga ia Nikolao Pula o lo’o va’ava’a lua i le galuega. Talofa.

Fa’atalofa atu i le mamalu tele i le susu mai o lau susuga i le perenise fa’au’uina, lau susuga Tupouto’a Ulukalala ’Aho’eitu - Crown Prince of Tonga. Lau Afioga i le Kovana Senerale o Tuvalu, lau Susuga Italelei ma le faletua, ia o le a ou le fa’apapalagi atu aua e te malamalama lelei i le gagana Samoa. Talofa, afio maia. Le Aliki Faipule, lau afioga i le Ulu o Tokelau, malo tauasa, fa’afetai susu mai e fa’amamalu le matou aso, Lau Susuga Kerisiano Kalolo.

Fa’atalofa atu i lau tofa Faleomavaega Eni, o le sui filifilia o le atunu’u i le Konekeresi, ali’i ma ta’ita’i sinia o le vaega’au a le Malo Tele, le vala’aulia, ma le mamalu ma le pa’ia o tagatanu’u o Amerika Samoa. Fa’afetai tala’a’ao mai.

Amerika Samoa, selau sefulu ma le lua tausaga talu ai i luga o si mauga laitiiti e igoa ia Sogelau i le tala fa’atai o le taulaga i Fagatogo, a o fa’afeagai ma le uafu tele o lo’o i ai nei, sa faia ai le sauniga o le sainiga o le feagaiga o le tu’uina atu. Ina ua uma le sainia o lea feagaiga, sa tala a’e loa a’ao o le Kapeteni Benjamin Tilley ma le mamalu o le atunu’u sa vala’aulia ma sisiina a’e le tagavai o le Malo Tele o Amerika i le tulaga aloa’ia. E le o le taimi muamua lea na sisi a’e ai le fu’a a Amerika i totonu o Amerika Samoa po o Tutuila ma Manu’a. Sa sisi i le 1872 ina ua faia le feagaiga ma le afioga i le Ma’oputasi felagolagoma’i ma le Malo Tele. Sa toe sisi fo’i la i le 1878 ina ua toe osi fo’i leisi feagaiga ma le afioga i le Ma’oputasi ma le talafaatai o le taulaga mo le puipuiga a le Iunaite Setete.

Sa fa’apena ona aluma’i ae peita’i i le 1899, sa o mai fa’atasi malo e tolu - Peretania, Siamani ma le Iunaite Setete. Sa o i Perelini, Siamani sa fai ai le latou fono, ma fai ai le latou maliliega o le a o mai e vaevae Samoa. O le a vaevae Samoa.

O motu uma i le itu i sasa’e, o le laina 171 o le a tu’uese mai, mai totonu o le pule’aga fa’asamoa o le atunu’u e tasi. Sa fa’apena ona fai lea e ta’ua i le ta fegaiga. O le vaega muamua o le fegaiga a Tutuila ma Aunu’u o lo’o faamatalatalaina ai e fa’apea: “Ua uma ona matou vaevaea outou. O lea ua matou malilie e tu’u mai le itu lea i sasa’e i lalo o le pule’aga a le Malo a le Iunaite Setete, a o sisifo o le a tumau ia Siamani.”

Sa fa’apena ona fai ae peita’i sa le finagalo le Manu’a Tele e saini lea maliliega. Afe iva selau ma le fa (1904) Iulai 16 fa’ato’a sainia ai se maliliega mo Manu’a. Ae i lea fo’i feagaiga i lona ulutala, sa fa’amatalaina ai le mea na tupu i Perelini (1899): “Ua uma ona matou vaevaeina le atunu’u.” Ona fa’ato’a fai lea o le feagaiga i le vaega lua, o le tu’uina atu; Tu’uina atu ma le fa’amautuina o le pule e fai ai le tulafono ma le fa’atautaiga atoa o motu i sasa’e o Samoa. Selau sefulu ma le lua tausaga o Tutuila ma Aunu’u, selau sefulu ma le valu tausaga o motu o Manu’a. Mai ia tausaga uma, o lo’o tatou galulue i lalo o le ta’u “e le’i tu’ufa’atasia” - unorganized. E le’i tu’ua i totonu, unincorporated. O ia tu’ufa’atasiga ma ia fa’amaumauga o lea ua tatou tini taunu’u i le aso; selau sefulu ma le lua tausaga o tatou fa’afuata’ape ai lava ma le tu’uina ai i totonu.

O le a fa’apu’upuu a’u tala. O le fesili ou te fa’atula’ i lenei aso Amerika Samoa, o ‘e fiafia i lea tulaga? O le fesili lona lua, ua tatou malilie ea tatou o fa’asalalau ai lava fa’apea mo seisi selau sefulu ma le lua tausaga? I lo’u su’esu’e i nei maliliega Amerika Samoa, ua atagia mai ia te a’u le le mautu ona fa’ataunu’u o tatou tiute fa’atagata nu’u. O le fesili e sili ona taua, o le a le mea na finagalo ai o outou tua’a ma o tatou matua e tu’u ai fa’apea maliliega fa’apea? Tu’u ai fa’asalalau pe fa’afuata’ape ai pea, aua ne’i matua, filogia i totonu ae tatou feso’ota’i pea? Ua alu le selau sefulu lua tausaga o tatou taumafai e fa’amatala le uiga o upu ae o le mea ua tatou le faia i o tatou tiute faa’atagatanu’u, o le faitau le feau la e ta’u mai i totonu o upu ia. Ua alu uma le tatou taimi e fa’amatala le upu a ua galo le agaga o le maliliega ma le feagaiga.

O le mea lea ou te tula’i ai i lenei aso Amerika Samoa. Pe le ua o’o ea i le taimi e tatou va’ai i totonu o le agaga o ia feagaiga po o taunu’u pe leai? Pe tatou te o fa’asalalau ai fa’apea mo seisi selau ma sefulu lua tausaga? O le tatou tiute mo tupulaga lumana’i, saili, fa’atonu, fa’alelei, fa’amautu ina ia manuia tupulaga o lumana’i.

Ia soifua ma ia manuia le sisigafu’a o lenei tausaga. Soifua.