March 9, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. ---- FALEOMAVAEGA MEETS WITH SENATOR APELU
GALEA'I FAIIVAE IN WASHINGTON, DC
Congressman Eni Faleomavaega met with Senator Apelu Galea'i Fai'ivae recently in Washington, DC.. The Senator was in Washington on official business following his recent appointment as Chairman of the American Samoa Senate Committee on Samoan Affairs.
"I commend the Senate President for his foresight in appointing Senator Fai'ivae as Chairman of this committee," said the Congressman. "The Senator is one of the most highly educated of our traditional leaders as well as one of the most knowledgeable when it comes to the Fa'a Samoa." Senator Fai'ivae holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and a Masters in Education in Multi- Cultural/Mutilingual Studies from the University of Hawaii, with additional graduate study at American University in Washington, DC, Boston University and the University of New Mexico.
Faleomavaega went on to explain, "Senator Fai'ivae came to Washington in his capacity as newly-appointed Chairman of the Senate Committee on Samoan Affairs to seek assistance in identifying resources to sustain and promote our cultural traditions." The Congressman and the Senator discussed the importance of ensuring that the Fa'a Samoa endures and remains a wellspring for future generations.
"Senator Fai'ivae is looking at the establishment of an organization -- an institute of arts and humanities -- which would bring local groups together in a common goal of promoting and sustaining our traditions for future generations," said Faleomavaega. The Institute would address several specific areas, among them the need for a Samoan-English dictionary and the need to standardize the translation of English words into the Samoan language. The Congressman continued, "Towards that end, my office assisted the Senator in arranging meetings with key Congressional offices and Executive Branch agency staff."
In addition to meeting with the Congressman, Senator Fai'ivae met with Allan Stayman, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs at the Department of the Interior, Hedrick Belin, Senior Director of Government Relations of the National Park Foundation, Administrator Gary Kimble and his staff from the Administration on Native Americans, Senator Daniel Inouye and other federal officials. Faleomavaega said that Senator Fai'ivae continued his mission in Hawaii, meeting with the former Chairman of the Anthropology Department at the University of Hawaii, Professor Ben Finney, the Executive Director of the Bishop Museum, Mr. Donald Duckworth, former Member of the Board of Trustees of the Bishop Estate, Mr. Myron Thompson and others.
Congressman Faleomavaega stated, "The need for a Samoan-English dictionary and the need to standardize the translation of English words into Samoan are long-standing concerns." He went on to say, "Language is the foundation of a culture, and a language which is sustained and passed on to our youth is vital to the preservation of the Fa'a Samoa."
Faleomavaega continued, "It is my understanding that Senator Fai'ivae has secured pledges of funding from the ANA and from DOI in support of his project. It is also my understanding that the Senator plans to introduce local legislation to formally create an Institute of Samoan Culture. It is my hope that the local government will also demonstrate its commitment to this project."
The Congressman concluded by saying, "I commend the Senator for his tireless pursuit of funding for a project which is so central to our identity as Samoans. He is to be congratulated for his success, and I look forward to seeing the results of all his hard work."