Historic Resources and their Preservation in American Samoa: Some Questions and Answers




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Preface
Historic Resources and their Preservation in American Samoa: Some Questions and Answers
In order to set the stage for this plan this preface reviews and provides some answers to basic questions that many people have about historic preservation. People typically want to know what it is that needs preserving, why it should be preserved, what its significance is, how significance is determined, and how it is counted. The following will address each of these issue in turn and provide the reader a basis for understanding what follows in the plan.
What are "Historic Properties"?
The term "historic property" encompasses the full range of historic resources, including buildings, structures, sites, objects, landscapes, and historic districts. Historic properties are physical remains constructed by people in the past that can provide information about the history of a place. Some historic properties could be classified under several of the categories listed above; in documenting these properties decisions must be made regarding the best classification. Buildings can include houses, schools, government buildings, and factories; basically any building still standing that is historic. Structures are functional constructions that are used for any number of activities besides living and working. They can be wells, quarries, bridges, or docks. Sites are locations where a significant event, occupation or activity took place or that possesses historic, cultural or archaeological value. Sites include prehistoric and historic remains of past human activities (archaeological sites) and traditional cultural or legendary sites. Historic or cultural landscapes present an environment larger than a single building, structure or site, that embodies significant historic or cultural characteristics. Traditional Samoan villages are examples of cultural landscapes. Similarly, historic districts contain a combination of other historic resources that together have an identity and significance greater than the separate properties. Specific historic properties in American Samoa will be discussed below in association with the history that they represent.
Why preserve historic properties?
Historic properties are physical remains of history. They are the settings in which historic events took place, where people of the past lived and worked. They provide a real connection with the past that can aid significantly in education and provide a sense of place. Historic districts and landscapes elicit a feeling of the place, what it might have been like in the past. They embody knowledge about the past, providing a sense of self and a sense of history. Western cultures (European and American) value history and during the colonial era used the apparent lack of history as a means by which to identify themselves as "civilized" and to devalue many of the cultures that they came into contact

with around the world. Those cultures did, however, have histories; in Samoa that pre-European history is physically represented by properties such as tia seu lupe, fortifications, prehistoric quarries, and village sites. The preservation of these properties gives value to both the property and the history that it represents. Cultural landscapes also embody significant cultural meaning that is crucial to a sense of identity. On a more practical level, historic properties represent significant investments in time and resources. The maintenance and renovation of historic buildings for modern use can save time and limited resources.


What makes these properties "historic"?
Historic properties are old. By convention, most properties must be at least 50 years old to be considered historic. However, younger properties can be classified as "historic" if they represent an important event or period or are a particularly good representation of a period. Properties must also have integrity in order to be considered "historic." This means that they must maintain the characteristics that make them significant. The essential character-defining features must still be present. Archaeological sites must be complete enough to provide the information for which they are valuable. Traditional cultural properties must be recognizable to the associated culture, documentable through traditions, and still used or reserved in some way. Historic properties must also be significant in some way to the history of a region. They must either be directly associated with people, events, or developments that shaped history or were important to the past; have distinctive physical or spatial characteristics; or have the potential to yield information about the past. Different types of properties will be significant in different ways. Significance is linked to integrity by the importance of maintaining those characteristics present in the property that make it significant.
How are properties determined to be historic?
Information about a property must be gathered as a first step to determining a property's integrity. The property must then be "put in its place" historically by comparing it to similar properties, to historically related properties, to other properties in the area, or relating it to distinctive aspects of history. This evaluation must be performed by people with a knowledge of the relevant property types, fields of study (archaeology, architecture), and history of the region. A final evaluation technique is to evaluate the property using guidelines for evaluation such as the Criteria for Evaluation of the National Register of Historic Places. For a property to be considered historic under these guidelines, it must…

A. be associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or

B. be associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or

C. embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

D. yield, or be likely to yield, information important to prehistory or history.

Decisions about whether a property is historic must be reached by consensus and be justifiable to people other than the ones making the decision. For example, when historic properties are nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, arguments are made on the forms for why the property meets one or more of the criteria listed above. The Keeper of the National Register must find these arguments convincing for the property to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Why does the number of historic properties keep changing, and why do we need to identify more?
Changes in the number of historic properties that meet the qualifications discussed above are due to continuing development, population expansion, and expanding and improving survey efforts. Historic properties are damaged (and lose their integrity) or destroyed with continued economic development and population expansion into areas that were previously not disturbed. However, planned expansion often provides a means by which new historic properties are identified. For example, during the planning process for projects historic properties must be taken into consideration. If no previous identification efforts have taken place in an area, these must be done before the project can proceed and ways recommended to preserve or minimize the damage the project may pose to historical properties.

The place of an historic property can best be understood in comparison with other historic properties. For example, if archaeologists had stopped looking for prehistoric basalt quarries after Tataga Matau was found above Leone, the perception that all basalt had come from there to make stone tools would persist. However, many other quarries have been identified on Tutuila, and these discoveries have enhanced our understanding of the importance of Tutuila as a regional source of pre-European tools.



AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNMENT

EXECUTIVE OFFICES OF THE GOVERNOR

HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
HISTORIC PRESERVATION PLAN
I. Introduction
1. Geographical Background
American Samoa is an "unorganized, unincorporated Territory" of the United States, and is the only U.S. possession in the southern hemisphere. It consists of the islands of Tutuila, Aunu’u, Manu'a (Ta'u, Ofu and Olosega), Swains Island and Rose Atoll. Its total area is 76.2 square miles.

The Samoan Islands extend from 168° to 173° west longitude and from 13° to 15° south latitude. American Samoa occupies the 168°-171° longitudinal portion of the archipelago, the eastern part of the Samoan Archipelago. Rainfall varies from 120 to 200 inches annually, with an average temperature of 80°F. The climate is hot and humid; erosion and biodegradation are rapid.

Tutuila and the Manu’a islands are rugged, mountainous volcanic isles, clad in dense tropical rainforest vegetation. The area available for human habitation and the cultivation of crops is limited. The valley bottoms are not very flat and are quite narrow, and the coastal plains are narrow. Recent geomorphological information indicates that many of the valleys were deep embayments when Polynesians first arrived that have subsequently filled in (see Clark & Michlovic 1996; Pearl 2006). The largest flat area is the Tafuna Plain on the southern side of Tutuila; this is a large volcanic plain. In the twentieth century some areas, such as the perimeter of Pago Pago Bay, have been filled in to provide more flat areas for development.

Swains Island and Rose Atoll are both atolls. Rose Atoll is 80 miles east of Ta’u and consists of two low sandy islands - Rose Island and Sand Island - encompassing a 2000m (6500ft) wide lagoon with a total land and reef area of 1600 acres. Rose Atoll is a U.S. Marine National Monument. Swains Island is ring-shaped atoll encompassing a large brackish water lagoon about 230 miles north of Tutuila; it is privately owned.

2. History of American Samoa and Related Historic Properties
The Samoan people are Polynesians whose ancestors settled the archipelago about 3,000 years ago. The people who brought the Lapita Cultural Complex to the Samoan archipelago were seafarers who had occupied islands at least as far west as the Admiralties off the north shore of New Guinea. Archaeological sites dating from the early period of occupation are primarily habitation sites and are expected to be mostly coastal (e.g., Kirch & Hunt eds. 1993; Clark & Michlovic 1996; Moore and Kennedy 2003), though the Tupapa site in Aasufou Village (also know as the Vainuu site) provides on example of an early site in the mountains (Eckert and Welch 2009). The Tupapa site in Aasufou is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Material remains in these sites can include some or all of the following: pottery (the classic Lapita pottery is decorated with motifs impressed into the clay with dentate stamps), basalt flakes and tools, volcanic glass, shell fishhooks and tools for their manufacture, shell ornaments, and faunal remains.

The colonizers of these islands brought domesticated pigs, dogs and chickens with them, and probably also the Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans). Domesticated plants were transported for cultivation. This period is represented in American Samoa by deeply stratified archaeological sites such as at To’aga on Ofu (Kirch & Hunt eds. 1993) and at ‘Aoa (Clark & Michlovic 1996) and Agnoa (Moore and Kennedy 2003; Crews 2008; Welch 2008) on Tutuila. While early sites on some other islands in Samoa are now beneath water (e.g., the Mulifanua Lapita Pottery site on ‘Upolu [Green & Davidson 1967; Leach and Green 1989]), the evidence to date indicates that early sites in American Samoa will be found on the shores of prehistoric embayments that have subsequently filled in with sand and in the mountains (Eckert and Welch 2009).

It has been conventionally accepted that pottery manufacture ceased in Samoa sometime shortly after A.D. 300 (see Clark & Michlovic 1996; Clark et al. 1997) A.D. 800 is proposed in Kirch & Hunt eds. 1993). However, research by Clark in ‘Aoa valley has revealed pottery in stratigraphic contexts dating as late as the 16th century (Clark & Michlovic 1996). This might explain why there was an apparent “dark ages” in Samoan prehistory - pottery bearing sites were all assumed to date to the earliest period of Samoan prehistory and hence charcoal was often not collected from upper pottery bearing deposits for dating. Therefore the period between about A.D. 300 and 1000 requires further definition in the study of Samoan prehistory before typical site types can be discussed.

One site type that was probably utilized during this period are the stone quarries

(Johnson 2005). Two of the large quarries, Tatagamatau and Lauagae are listed on the National Register and two others are being nominated. Basalt from Tutuila has been found in Taumako, Tokelau, Fiji, Western Samoa, the Manu’a Islands (Best et.al. 1992) and the Cook Islands (Walter 1990; Weisler and Kirch 1996). The quarries continued to be utilized into the early historic period, when iron tools introduced by Europeans began to replace the locally made stone tools.

Recent research by Johnson (2005) and Winterhoff and colleagues (2007) have shown that it is possible to distinguish between the basalt stone for different quarries using elemental analysis. This makes it now possible to trace stone tools from the locations they are found be it villages within American Samoa or islands beyond back to the specific quarry of origin which should provide insights into the prehistoric trade relationships in which people from American Samoa were engaged.

One of the significant stone tool types manufactured from basalt extracted from these quarries were adzes. Large quantities of basalt debris have been found in various village sites (e.g., Maloata [Ayers & Eisler 1987] and Tulauta [Frost 1978; Clark 1980; Brophy 1986]). Polishing the adzes was a final step in their production; large basalt boulders were used for this finishing. Boulders used for this activity generally have smooth dish-shaped areas on them and sometimes grooves in which the adz bits were sharpened. These boulders are found in archaeological sites (such as Maloata and Tulauta), in streams (at Afao, Fagasa, Leone, and Nuuuli) and elsewhere on the island landscape. Grinding stones have been found in the Manu’a islands. No quarries have been identified in Manu’a, though researchers have looked.

Most of the prehistoric surface remains in American Samoa date to the later period of Samoan prehistory. During this period warfare on the islands of Western Samoa over titled positions influenced events on Tutuila. Tutuila was at times under the jurisdiction of the eastern districts of ‘Upolu, and Tutuilans may have been required by chiefs on ‘Upolu to fight in their wars. Warfare was also prevalent among the Manu’a islands. Oral traditions in the Manu’a islands refer to leaders of islands to the west (Fiji, Western Samoa, etc.) visiting Manu’a on sometimes hostile missions. Defensive fortification sites, often located high on ridges and mountains, are characteristic of this period. These fortifications were used as refuges to which those individuals not directly involved moved and where the warriors retreated when necessary (Moyle 1984). A large defensive wall on the Tafuna Plain, Tutuila Island, is listed on the National Register.

When not at war in later prehistory Samoans lived in villages; in American Samoa these were mostly in coastal areas. Many of these villages are still occupied today. In some cases the remains are still visible on the surface while in other places the evidence of prehistoric use is all below the ground surface. The late prehistoric sites at Maloata (Ayers & Eisler 1987) and Fagatele Bay (Frost 1978), both on Tutuila, and Faga on Ta’u, are village sites from this time period that are listed on the National Register. The ideal layout of a Samoan village was a central open space, called a malae, surrounded by meeting houses, chiefs’ houses, other residences.

The final prominent site type from late prehistory are tia seu lupe, called star mounds in English. These mounds were usually constructed of stone, had one or more rays, and were used for the sport of pigeon catching by chiefs (Herdrich 1991; Herdrich and Clark 1993). No star mounds have been nominated to the National Register to date, though they are eligible.

The first recorded European contact occurred in 1722, when Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen sighted several of the islands. He was followed by French explorers Louis-Antoine de Bougainville in 1768 and Jean-François de La Pérouse in 1787. A monument in Aasu, Massacre Bay, to the 12 members of La Pérouse’s crew who were killed there is on the National Register. Pearl and Loiseau-Vonruff (2007) provide a historical background for the monument’s construction. The monument was recently rehabilitated using funds from the Historic Preservation Fund and from the French Government (MCC-Materials Inc. 2007).

The first European Christian missionary, Englishman John Williams of the London Missionary Society (LMS), arrived in 1830 (Moyle 1984). He and his followers had a profound impact on the Samoans and their culture. The National Register sites Atauloma Girl’s School and Fagalele Boy’s School at the western end of Tutuila were built by the LMS for the education of Samoan children in Christian life. Other Pacific Islanders came to Samoa as missionaries during this period (e.g., Society and Cook Islanders working with the London Missionary Society, Tongans working with the Methodists). European traders and military personnel also affected Samoans.

Historic properties in American Samoa that are associated with Euro-Americans, both military (discussed below) and otherwise, are usually distinctive in their use of some large basalt aggregate in concrete materials. Historic properties from the last two centuries that are associated primarily with Samoans tend to be very much like prehistoric Samoan remains. Fortifications, quarries, and star mounds ceased to be used due to the influence of the missionaries; however, villages retained their basic structure.

When the Samoan Islands were partitioned according to the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin in 1899, the United States acquired the eastern islands, while Germany took control of 'Upolu, Savai'i, Manono and Apolima, whose total area is 1,120 square miles. These islands now comprise the Independent State of Samoa, which New Zealand forces wrested from the Germans in 1914, maintaining control of them until 1962.

U.S. Navy Commander Benjamin F. Tilley raised the U.S. Flag on Sogelau Hill on April 17, 1900, placing American Samoa under U.S. Navy control from 1900 to 1951, initially as a coaling station for the fleet in the Age of Steam (Gray 1960). During World War II, the "U.S. Naval Station Tutuila", now a Historic District listed on the National Register, was the headquarters of the Samoan Defense Group, which included several adjacent island groups, and was the largest of the Pacific defense groups. As the war moved north and west, American Samoa became a strategic backwater. Historic properties from World War II are found throughout the islands in the form of military facilities such as medical facilities, the Tafuna Air Base, the Marine Training facility in Leone, and pillboxes that dot the coastlines (Hudson and Hudson 1992; Carson 2003; Kennedy et al. 2005). In the postwar era, American Samoa’s military importance continued to decline, and in 1951, the Territory was transferred to the Department of the Interior, under whose control it remains. In 1954 the Van Camp Seafood Co. of California opened a cannery on the eastern shore of Pago Bay, followed some years later by Starkist Inc. The canneries are a draw for people from Independent Samoa for employment and make significant contributions to the economy of American Samoa. The fishing industry has also involved other minority groups, such as Japanese and Korean fishermen. From 1951 until 1977, Territorial Governors were appointed by the Secretary of the Interior; since 1977, they have been elected by universal suffrage.

American Samoa is an unincorporated and unorganized Territory of the United States. It is unincorporated because not all provisions of the US Constitution apply to the Territory. It is the only territory whose residents are “nationals” of the United States rather than citizens of the United State and who are not governed (as all other US territories are) by an organic act of the U.S. Congress defining its legal relationship to the US. Instead, American Samoa has remained an “unorganized” territory, with its own Constitution but under direct Federal government supervision delegated by the President to the Department of the Interior. This unique status is not accidental. It is the result of decisions consciously taken by the American Samoan leaders--not to obtain citizenship nor acquire an organic act--in order to keep their traditional land tenure system, whose racial preferences would make it unconstitutional under Federal law. (See, Final Report by the Future Political Status Study Commission 2007.)

American Samoa’s Territorial status, however, allows all American Samoa-based business--such as the tuna canneries and clothing manufacturers--to export their goods duty-free to the US.
3. Historic Preservation in American Samoa
The history of historic preservation in American Samoa is anomalous by mainland standards. To comprehend the difficulties of applying those standards in a climate, place, and culture foreign to what engendered those standards calls for a frank discussion.

The Samoan culture, the fa’asamoa, is often referred to as a traditional culture, meaning it places great value and communal pride upon the continuity of cultural practices and beliefs as received from its oral tradition. This is certainly true. However, with few exceptions (e.g., certain geophysical legendary sites and old titled fine mats) this does not extend to material objects such as artifacts or architectural sites. The tropical climate has dictated this acceptance of physical transience. Non-material traditional genres such as genealogies, oral histories and narratives are most often the private property of a family or clan. There is no traditional or indigenous interest in archaeology or its lessons. The dead are best left buried. So, the obvious questions arise—What exactly are you preserving and who are you anyway? Added to this is the natural (if sometimes subconscious) suspicion of a colonized people about being further controlled by the administered world of federal bureaucracy (Enright 1992).

There is no lack of evidence of this societal lack of interest in historic preservation. The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office is the sole state-level historic preservation program in the country that receives zero local funding. There are few territorial statutes or laws pertaining to historic preservation. There are no local groups, clubs or organizations concerned with historic preservation. In the history of ASHPO only one National Register Nomination has been received from the public. Well announced and advertised public meetings to discuss annual work plans go unattended. ASHPO staff have received personal physical threats from irate members of the public just for trying to perform their mandated duties. That is reality. And it’s not a complaint; it’s the working conditions.

Another quality of a traditional society is its conservatism and resistance to things introduced and new. The longer you are present, the more your presence is gradually accepted. In this respect, ASHPO has been somewhat successful in the past fourteen years, moving—at its request—from the obscurity of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation to the Executive Offices of the Governor and opening new professional offices in a location convenient and welcoming to the public. ASHPO insisted on becoming a central player in the government’s new Project Notification & Review System, which issues environmental permits in the territory, and helped write the guiding regulations so that they included Section 106-style provisions. ASHPO inserted itself into the Territorial Plan. It became an active partner in the annual Territorial History Day Competition, awarding the overall first prize trophy. It started, organized, and then sited the Polynesian Photo Archives. It increased its public presence through a consistent production of newspaper and journal articles, scholarly papers, pamphlets and videos and by appearances on local TV and radio stations. ASHPO incrementally, politely increased its voice in the community.

Through all this, however, ASHPO was far from a leader. It acted as adviser, partner, suggester, enabler. Often our only possible role was as “cheerleader,” but without us historic properties and consideration of their existence would have had no voice whatsoever. In this pursuit ASHPO has worked with whomever we could. In addition to the principle organizations described below ASHPO has also formed working partnerships with other local government departments and commissions and community organizations--such as the American Samoa National Park, the Parks and Recreation Commission, the American Samoa Power Authority, the American Samoa Soil and Water Conservation District, The American Samoa Natural Resources Commission, the Historical Records Advisory Board, Le Vaomatua (citizens non-profit conservation organization), Friends of the National Park, the Feleti Barstow Territorial Library, the American Samoa Community College’s Samoan Studies Institute, and the American Samoa Coastal Zone Management Program.

The future of ASHPO, however, entails an additional function. As explained in this plan’s Vision Statement, it is time for ASHPO to take a more proactive role in cultural conservation in the territory. The dawning awareness of the potential economic benefits of heritage tourism combined with the recent establishment of a very heritage tourism friendly American Samoa Visitors Bureau offers the opportunity for historic preservation to become more than just another imported academic oddity. The proposal is for ASHPO to organize and host a territory-wide conference of all the cultural heritage stakeholder entities for the purpose of establishing a permanent heritage preservation council and adopting a plan for the preservation and utilization of historic sites and the riches of Samoan culture. That plan would incorporate and promulgate the applicable goals and objectives of this plan.


The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office
The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office is an agency mandated by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended and is funded by a federal grant administered by the National Park Service. The National Park Service disburses Historic Preservation Funds to qualified states and territories. The Governor appoints the Historic Preservation Officer who administers the program.

The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office (ASHPO) was established by Governor John M. Haydon, who designated himself as Historic Preservation Officer on January 15, 1970. Under Haydon’s tenure (1970-1973) the office established the Jean P. Haydon Museum, recorded legends, genealogies and traditional histories and entered eight historic properties to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1971 the Atauloma Girls School (a property on the National Register of Historic Places) was rehabilitated.

Haydon’s successors (1974-1983) were engineers and architects at Public Works, who spent one day per week at the Jean P. Haydon Museum on their historic preservation duties. During that time the office assisted the Federal Agencies with the first review and compliance surveys conducted in the Territory, provided funding for restoration of the High Court building (another National Register Property) and in 1980 funded the first survey and inventory program evaluation.

Beginning in 1983 the office was reorganized and became (and continues to be) a division of the Department of Parks and Recreation. At this time a historian was hired to serve as a fulltime Historic Preservation Officer. From 1985-1989 the office funded 9 inventory surveys primarily conducted by academic archaeologists. In addition the office provided technical assistance and logistical support for 4 other inventory surveys funded by different agencies.

In 1989 the first Territorial Archaeologist was hired. From 1989 to the present the office increased it’s participation in the review and compliance process and as a result the number of review and compliance surveys conducted increased dramatically. Staff personnel participated in Historic Preservation Law training workshops to be better able to assist Federal Agencies with their review and compliance responsibilities. In 1991 office also obtained a grant through the Defense Environmental Restoration Program to fund a survey of World War II sites. In 1990 the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, the first Territorial Computerized Site Inventory Database was established.

In 1996 the ASHPO was organizationally removed from the Department of Parks and Recreation and was made a division of the Executive Offices of the Governor, and its offices were moved to professional office space on the main road of Tutuila in the Village of Faga’alu, close to the “downtown” area and other government offices. The office has more recently moved to Nuuuli Village near the Tafuna Plain the most densely populated area of the island and where an increasing number of government offices are moving to better serve the public.

The office conducted a series of in-house surveys of the Tafuna Plain (Taomia 2001a; 2001b; 2002), identified as the most rapidly developing part of the territory. In addition, a survey of the area encompassed by the World War II Tafuna Airbase (Carson 2003) and a survey of the World War II era coastal defenses Kennedy (2005) were both funded by the ASHPO.

The office also funded an assessment of the Satala Cemetery which included mapping, documentation, and a photographic record of each grave site within the cemetery (Radewagen and Taomia 2005). This photographic record is being used to assess the damages to the cemetery caused by the September 29, 2009 tsunami and will be an invaluable tool in assuring it is accurately restored. The office also funded the production of a National Register Nomination for the Satala Cemetery which was then listed on National Register in 2006.

As part of our Survey and Inventory Program office has developed a computerized database of historic properties identified by the ASHPO, as well as by academic and consulting archaeologists. The original GIS program purchased for the office in the mid-1990s proved inadequate to the needs of ASHPO and was replaced in 2001 by ESRI products with subsequent updates. Working with ASG departments, such as the Department of Commerce and American Samoan Power Authority, problems with USGS maps and the datum in American Samoa have been resolved and it is now possible to have accurate GIS for the territory. In 2008 we sponsored an NPS GIS/GPS training workshop in the Territory for the staff of ASHPO and the ASG departments that utilize GIS.

Identification and evaluation of historic properties still needs to be expanded to cover the remainder of the territory, and sites identified in previous decades must be re-evaluated to determine if they meet National Register criteria, and to evaluate the effects of development that has take place since their initial identification.

(There are currently 844 sites on the database. Table 1 shows the number of prehistoric sites and historic sites by county.)


County

Prehistoric Sites

Historic Sites

Totals

Rose

1

2

3

Ta’u

79

3

82

‘Olosega

50

0

50

‘Ofu

35

1

36

‘Vaifanua

108

16

124

Sa’ole

46

4

50

Sua

48

15

63

West Vaifanua

16

4

20

Ma’oputasi

50

38

88

Ituau

15

15

30

Tualauta

177

11

188

Leasina

10

5

15

Tualatai

9

4

13

Lealataua

56

26

82

Totals

700

144

844

Recently the office has funded the rehabilitation of the Old Radio Station, the Old Jail, and the Jean P. Haydon Museum (formerly the Navy Commissary) which are all part of the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila Historic District in Fagatogo. The office has also funded a video history of American Samoa, and has republished the Walking Tour of Historic Fagatogo. In addition, the office has produced a historic calendar, brochures of featuring historic properties, a bi-lingual (Samoan/English) coloring book for children featuring archaeological site types related to the production of prehistoric stone tools, and a book embodying a historic context for the Naval Administration era of American Samoa’s history (Kennedy 2009). In addition we have nominated two historic properties to the National Register, namely the Michael J. Kirwan Educational Television Center building, and the Tupapa site, a 2,500 year-old prehistoric pottery site.

The office has conducted public outreach through lectures in public venues, talks in schools, and funding support for videos that address preservation issues. Staff personnel have published articles and presented papers to professional groups on Samoan prehistory. The office was a participant in establishing the first Territorial Archaeological monument, the Tia Seu Lupe monument in Ottoville.

Most recently the office has moved to new professional office space in the village of Nuuuli on Tutuila. The current staff of three consists of an archaeologist (SHPO), a finance manager and clerk. Two vacant archaeologist positions and a historian intern position will be filled soon. The future of the office is embodied in this plan.


The American Samoa Historical Commission
The American Samoa Historical Commission is created by law for the purpose of advising the Governor on matters of cultural and historical preservation, and its members are appointed by the Governor. The six-member Commission acts as the community oversight board for the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office and meets quarterly to review the activities of the Office and report to the Governor on matters requiring his office’s attention. The Commission also acts as the Historical Records Advisory Board, overseeing the activities of the American Samoa Archives. In recent years the Commission has been especially active in its oversight duties and has initiated public meetings in the outlying villages of the Territory.
The Jean P. Haydon Museum
The Jean P. Haydon Museum was established by Governor Haydon in 1970 and was the original home of the Historic Preservation Office. The Museum has displays of various aspects of Samoa's history, culture, and natural history and is the official repository for collections of artifacts for the territory. The Museum is housed in a National Register of Historic Places building, part of the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila Historic District in the village of Fagatogo on the island of Tutuila. The Museum is funded in whole by the American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture and the Humanities and is the venue for many of the cultural resource activities in the Territory.
The American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture and the Humanities
The American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture and the Humanities (the Arts Council) is primarily funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Its dual mission is the maintenance of Samoan arts and culture and the presentation of art forms from the broader world beyond the archipelago. The Arts Council supports through subgrants and funded activities the practice and preservation of both Samoan material culture and performance traditions. The Arts Council and the Historic Preservation Office have worked closely together on such projects as tours of historical buildings and the presentation of historic photographs. The Arts Council also serves special communities, such as the outlying islands through an Underserved Areas grant, and the schools through its Arts in Education Program. The Historic Preservation Office has assisted the Arts Council in these programs when they deal with traditional and historic matters.
The American Samoa Humanities Council
The recently established American Samoa Humanities Council is wholly funded through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Historic Preservation Office works with the Humanities Council on oral history and oral tradition projects, and other joint projects are planned.

Aiga Tautai o Samoa (Samoan Voyaging Society)
Aiga Tautai o Samoa was incorporated as a non-profit organization for the advancement of traditional Samoan sailing vessels, techniques, and navigation. Its initial project was the successful construction and sailing of a traditional Samoan ocean-voyaging vessel (alia). The Historic Preservation Office has been closely associated with the Society since its inception, seeing as the Society’s aim of encouraging the community’s consciousness of its traditional past is closely aligned to the Historic Preservation Office’s goal of raising public awareness about Samoa’s prehistory.
The American Samoa Office of Archives and Records Management
In 1982, the American Samoa Legislature, with the support of the Governor’s Office, enacted Public Law 17-32 which added Chapter 4.12 to the American Samoa Code Annotated. This law provided for a new agency with a wide range of authority over government records and operations, and for the first time over historical records of ASG. The Office of Archives and Records Management (OARM) was established to oversee ASG records maintenance, operate an archives for the historical records of the government and a records center for agency records of temporary value, and conduct such associated programs as forms management and vital records protection.
The American Samoa Department of Commerce
The Department of Commerce (DOC) has interests in historic preservation under a number of its mandates. From an economic perspective the office has interests in the extent that historic preservation can play an economic role such as in tourism. In its planning role the office routinely includes consideration of historic properties in plans it develops for the Territory.

In addition, the Coastal Management Program, a branch of the DOC, has interests as provided by its local legislation, The American Samoa Coastal Management Act of 1990. This act established a local review board known as the Project Notification Review System (PNRS) which reviews all land-use projects for adverse impacts on the environment. Included in their review is a consideration of whether or not projects under review cause the “disruption of historic, cultural, or archaeological properties or sites.” It is an objective of the program to protect the archaeological, cultural, and historic resources of the Territory. The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office is a member of the PNRS review board and provides advice concerning historic properties.

4. ASHPO Mission Statement
It is the responsibility of the American Samoa Historic Preservation Officer to administer the Territorial Historic Preservation Program. American Samoa’s strong indigenous culture and traditional system of communal land ownership impose special conditions of cultural sensitivity upon such an endeavor. A primary concern of the ASHPO is to fulfill its responsibilities in a manner that recognizes and honors these inherent cultural conditions.

In addition, the ASHPO sees itself as a service organization, working in partnership with Federal and Territorial agencies, village and district councils, private organizations and individuals to assist in compliance with applicable Federal and Territorial historic preservation laws and to raise the community’s consciousness about historic preservation and its role in cultural maintenance.

Specific areas of responsibility in the administration of the Territorial Historic Preservation Program include:

* conducting an on-going comprehensive survey of historic properties in the Territory and maintaining an inventory of such properties;

* identifying and nominating eligible properties to the National Register of Historic Places;

* advising and assisting Federal and Territorial agencies in carrying out their historic preservation responsibilities;

* consulting with appropriate Federal agencies on all undertakings that may affect historical properties in order to protect, manage, reduce or mitigate harm to such properties;

* ensuring that historic properties are taken into consideration at all levels of planning and development;

* providing public information, education and training, and technical assistance in historic preservation.
5. Plan Development & Vision Statement
In order to fulfill these mandates in a manner appropriate to the special conditions with which we are faced here in American Samoa, this comprehensive historic preservation plan has been designed to address individual problem areas within the Program, to set specific objectives toward the goal of alleviating those problems, and to provide guidance and direction for others in American Samoa who may also undertake historic preservation activities.

In the past public participation in both the planning end execution of historic preservation has been conspicuously absent. Starting in fiscal year 1996 a special effort was begun to raise public awareness about historic preservation in the Territory and to solicit public input into the planning and activities of the Historic Preservation Office. In October 1995 a “Plan for Public Information, Education, and Participation in Historic Preservation” was drafted and promulgated (revised April 1996). In January 1996, for the first time, a Workplan for 1996 was published in the local newspaper for public review and comment and the first public meeting was publicized and held. The promulgation of an annual Work Plan and the holding of publicized meetings has taken place every year since 1996. The purpose of these meetings is to review Historic Preservation Office activities of the previous year, to receive public comment about what they think the Historic Preservation Office should be doing in the coming year, and to solicit responses to the published work plan. Public questions, comments, and suggestions have been closely considered and incorporated into this Historic Preservation Plan. The Work Plan was also distributed to members of the American Samoan legislature and to Directors of the American Samoa Government for review and comment.

In 2009 we increased our efforts to reach the public through the use of various publication. For instance, a calendar for 2010 was published and distributed that contained our 2010 work plan and asked for public input on the plan. The calendar’s distributions was promoted through radio spots designed to increase the visibility of the office. We also advertised the draft goals and objectives of the five year plan seeking public input.

In addition, the advice and direction of the Historic Preservation Office’s community oversight board, the American Samoa Historical Commission, was repeatedly sought. Of equal importance has been the advice and constructive criticisms of planners and individuals from other American Samoa Government agencies and departments. We reviewed and discussed plans of other agencies in order to devise a plan that would mesh smoothly with the development plans of others.

Essential to the success of this plan is the need to greatly enhance public participation in historic preservation. Though not a traditional concern there are signs that people do care about the historic and cultural significance of their island’s past and the evidence of that past, they just have not been given the opportunity to express that concern. The Christian Congregational Church has expressed interest in the rehabilitation of church properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, namely, the Old Atauloma Girl’s School and the Old Fagalele Boys School. Of particular note was input received from students, members of the legislature, the Historical Commission, and the executive branch of the government relating to education, national register sites and the disposition of American Samoa artifacts.

With regard to education, students interested in historic preservation with a focus on archaeology encouraged the office to establish a summer internship program whereby students could gain archaeological experience. They also were interested in participating in archaeological excavations and requested the Historic Preservation Offices assistance notifying them of any upcoming excavations that in which they could participate.

A newly developed understanding of the importance of historic properties, the National Register, and Heritage Tourism has led to requests for the development and rehabilitation of specific historic properties, as well as their nomination to the National Register. Of particular note is the resolution passed by the American Samoa House of Representatives passed a resolution on September 5, 2007 entitled, A House Resolution Respectfully Requesting the Governor To Instruct the Director of the Department of Public Works, The Office Tourism, and the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office to Prepare and Implement Plans for the Development and Revitalization of “Sogelau,” The Historical Landmark On Which The U.S. Flag Was First Raised On Tutuila. The House resolution expressed desired that the site be developed and rehabilitated as a heritage tourism site.

We have also received input from the Senators supporting rehabilitation of historic properties. The improvement of access to remote historic sites has been raised as an issue. In particular a request has been made to find a way to improve access to the National Register Massacre Bay French Monument located in the north shore village of Aasu that is not accessible by road.

Still the Historical Commission expressed the opinion that more needed to be done to educate the public concerning nominating a site to the National Register Site and its effect on Samoan land ownership rights. The Commission noted a continuing perception among members of the public that if a site is nominated to the National Registers government restrictions would be placed on landowners or their land would become part of the National Park. The Historic Commission felt that more public education is necessary with regard to the National Register program.

With regard to the disposition of American Samoa artifacts, students, the Historical Commission, and the Governor of American Samoa have raised concerns with regard to artifacts being taken from the islands by off-island academic archaeologists, cultural resource management firms conducting archaeological excavations as part of the Section 106 process, as well as America Samoan artifacts stored in off-island museums. A desire to see American Samoa artifacts repatriated has been clearly expressed by these parties. Frustration was expressed that these materials were not available for the study of local researchers and students, and that the general public did not have the ability to see and appreciate their own ancient material culture.

The primary issue involved is the lack of a proper curation facility to house these artifacts once they are returned. The Jean P. Haydon Museum does not currently have a curation staff or funding to establish a program for the proper curation of American Samoa artifacts. The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office has been asked to take the lead in the establishment of a curation facility in the Territory so that American Samoan artifacts can be repatriated.

On the matter of institutional support for linguistic and traditional cultural practices, the territory has been well served in recent years by the Samoan Studies Institute at American Samoa Community College, with whom ASHPO has partnered in the past on archaeological and historic photo projects. The Samoan Studies Institute and Faleula, the Samoan language institute, will be an essential contributor to the heritage conference and council proposed in our vision statement.


Vision Statement
American Samoa has a wealth of prehistoric, historic, and legendary historic properties that embody our Territory’s 3000 year old culture and history. We envision a future time when there is a realization that historic resources embody what is unique and significant about American Samoa. A future time when a rediscovery of that heritage will generate citizen concern and pride in the Territory’s historic resources and will lead to actions of protecting and investing in that heritage. A future time when there is an understanding that a place that, through its people, holds onto its historic resources will attract tourists, stimulate private investment, further enhance community pride, and make it possible for future generations to see, touch, and walk through that irreplaceable history.

It is time for ASHPO to attempt a more pro-active leadership role in cultural conservation in the territory. In addition to its other mandated duties, this can probably best be done through ASHPO assuming the role of coordinator and organizer for all the other territorial stakeholders in conservation.

These are especially difficult fiscal times for the territory. The recent disastrous tsunami and the costs of its recovery have compounded the drastic downsizing of the territory’s sole export industry of canning tuna. In response, the American Samoa Government has established the American Samoa Visitors Bureau, which is actively planning for the expansion of the territory’s currently minimal visitors industry. The time is ripe for a push for heritage tourism and its preservation benefits.

ASHPO will present to the Governor a plan for organizing and hosting a conference of all the culture stakeholders offices and organizations mentioned above plus the new Visitors Bureau in order to establish a permanent heritage preservation council that will coordinate a territory-wide heritage preservation program with ASHPO’s planning assistance.

The Historic Preservation Office and its work is becoming a presence in American Samoa. The plan below is an attempt to meet objectives inside a five-year planning cycle; however, these target dates will remain flexible as we evaluate our progress and adjust for unforeseen developments.

II. Goals and Objectives


1. Public Participation
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