Preserving Culture and History in Samoa

Good news from Samoa-

One of the main purpose of the Center of the Samoan Studies at the National University of Samoa (NUS) is to preserve historical sites and cultural heritage in Samoa. Recently, the center was awarded funding by the U.S. Ambassador and the Vice Chancellor of NUS for a project called- Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Project (AFCP) “Documentation of Archaeological & Built Heritage Places and Associated Oral Traditions Project.”

The project aims at compiling a database of Samoa’s known archaeological and built heritage places and their associated histories and oral traditions with the purpose of documenting, conserving and preserving Samoa’s cultural heritage. Additionally, it also aims to physically find previously recorded or identified archaeological sites and map GPS coordinates for each site. And lastly, to record oral traditions associated with archaeological sites, historical archaeological sites, built heritage places and significant 20th century buildings.

The U.S Ambassador, Mark Gilbert, addressed the gathering at the Aoa Conference room speaking about the significance of the project. “The fruits of this project will be a gift to future generations of Samoans, as I understand that this will be the first of such data to be archived into a central data base-thus preserving these historical landmarks,” he said, as this will be the first project of such kind being carried out in Samoa. Gilbert added,”This new project now focuses on the archaeology of this great nation. For a country so steeped in ancient legend and rich history, I can only imagine the challenge of narrowing down which sites to document during the two year period that the funding covers.”

A grant of $65,000USD had been provided by the U.S Embassy to cater for the 2-year-project.The project will be executed by a Project Team comprising the Center of Samoan Studies staff and researchers, current NUS students and stakeholder representatives.

The Vice Chancellor of the NUS, Professor Fui Leapai Asofou So’o, spoke on behalf of the University to thank the U.S Ambassador and the U.S representatives for their support in funding the project. “This project will raise awareness on the importance of our culture and heritage,” he said.“History is very important because it connects the past to the present and can direct us to the future. This is a project which will benefit our people, our children and future generations to come.”

RLS House

The Robert Louis Stevenson house, Vailima, Samoa

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About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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