Bringing Out the Best in Yourself Through Cultural Identity: Samoans in America

Undoubtedly, many youths of today struggle to know who they are as individuals who belong in a society. As the world is becoming more unified in probably a singular culture, the diverse youth of today is faced with homogenizing effect of globalization. The article by Charley Scull (2004) presents the challenges of the Samoan youth residing in San Francisco as they learn about their identity and culture. The students in American Samoa face similar challenges that the Samoan youth have in San Francisco as the island is becoming more inclined to follow the international norm and common culture of individualism and freedom creating their own fa’asinomaga yet can still succeed in applying their Samoan identities.

For instance, some, if not most, students in American Samoa have the freedom to speak their mind and follow their dreams. According to Johnson, Musial, Hall, and Gollnick (2013), “freedom is a cornerstone of democracy but is generally defined as having control of our own destiny and success”.

Students in high school have the freedom to pursue what they want to do after graduating may it be work, college, or joining the military. Moreover, college students also have the freedom to choose their college majors. Furthermore, most students in American Samoa are courageous enough to speak their mind that at times, might be borderline rude or disrespectful. These examples probably do not undergird the fa’asamoa as students seem to follow the global norm instead of applying their own Samoan fa’asinomaga.

However, with continued practice of the fa’asamoa and speaking of the Samoan language, the students of American Samoa and the Samoan youth in San Francisco are still able to incorporate the lessons of faʼasinomaga and make it their own.

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Indeed, culture is dynamic and ever changing as it serves the current society that practices it. It is evident, especially in the students of American Samoa, that they have a sense of pride on who they are as Samoans.

As an educator, this pride is obviously felt and seen through various events such as football games, academic competitions, pageantry, and church services. There is hope that the Samoan youth continue to apply their faʼasinomaga in their daily lives and make it their own. Even if it is a miniscule basis of cultural pride, this is enough of a foundation for the Samoan youth to build both their American and Samoan lives.

Additionally, the Samoan youth of today can move beyond the rhetoric and succeed in applying their fa’asinomaga. As mentioned in Scull’s article (2004), “this network of identities is its greatest strength, they all depend on each other and all tied together they cannot fall apart” (p. 8), this exhibits the great bond of the Samoan people regardless of where they are. Certainly, the fa’asamoa and fa’asinomaga is not just learned and applied through skits and songs and family histories. As somewhat implied in the article, the Samoans are tied together in this interconnecting web in which learning who and what they are is important.

Although the Samoan youth of today faces many challenges, they can still succeed in applying their own faʼasinomaga. The culture is strong as their bond is strong. They are becoming better Samoans and better Americans as they continue to learn and value their fa’asamoa. With the constant change is global culture, the Samoan youth both in American Samoa and San Francisco evidently continues to strive to make their own mark and apply their own fa’asinomaga.

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Bringing Out the Best in Yourself Through Cultural Identity: Samoans in America. (2022, Dec 09). Retrieved from

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