ASG to celebrate Swains Island 98th Flag Day
Governor Lemanu Palepoi Sialea Mauga is leading a delegation to Swains Island in celebration of its 98th flag day on May 13, this coming Saturday.
Swains Island is a small atoll located in the central Pacific Ocean, approximately halfway between Tokelau and American Samoa.
The island has a long and fascinating history that spans thousands of years. According to the Flag Day program, the Master of Ceremony is Suafaasisina HT Pulou and the Invocation will be conducted by Rev Patolo Mageo.
Governor Lemanu will deliver the keynote speaker and it will be followed by special entertainment by the Swains Island delegation.
Swain's Representative, Su’a Alex Eli Jennings will also deliver special remarks, says the flag day program. Last month an advance team of government officials of more than 40 were sent which included staff from the Governor's office, the Department of Health, Port Administration, ASPA and ASTCA among others.
The Internet is now working on Swains Island as evidenced by social media posts of members of the advanced team.
The Flag day program outlines the rich history of Swains which indicated that Polynesian voyagers were the first to arrive around 1,000 BC.
These early settlers were skilled navigators and seafarers, and they brought with them a rich cultural heritage that included complex social structures, intricate artwork, and sophisticated systems of agriculture and fishing. In the 19th century, Swains Island was visited by European explorers and traders, including Captain James Cook and the crew of the HMS Resolution.
In 1856, a group of American traders led by Eli Jennings arrived on the island and established a trading post.
In 1872, the United States claimed Swains Island under the Guano Islands Act, which allowed American citizens to claim uninhabited islands for the purpose of harvesting guano (bird droppings) for use as fertilizer. In the years that followed, Swains Island remained largely isolated from the outside world.
The island was governed by a series of American agents, who were appointed by the United States government to oversee its affairs. The islanders continued to maintain their traditional way of life, which was centered around fishing, farming, and weaving.
In 1925, Swains Island was formally annexed by the United States and made a part of American Samoa.
However, the island was allowed to maintain a large degree of autonomy, and its traditional system of governance and customs was largely left intact.
Today, Swains Island remains one of the most remote and least developed places in the world, with a population of just a few dozen people.
The delegation is expected to arrive back on Tutuila Island early next week. KVZK TV will broadcast the flag day ceremony live on Chanel 2.