COMPARISON OF AMERICAN AND SAMOAN TRADITIONS
Samoa America
1 Respect shown in language 1
a) Choice of words Different word usage reflects intelligence.   
b) Tone Tone reflects emotion.  
c) Being able to adapt to different word usage
2 Pe'a (Full body tattoo) 2
Acknowledge the rank of Matai (Chief) based Tattoo's are used to symbolize one's character
on their tattoo One's feelings and emotions.  
3 Gestures, physical positions 3
Sit properly, Ex. (Never sit with your back to- Allowed to sit any way one desires.
wards someone).
4 Always give thanks for things received 4
Lauga fa'afetai (Thank you speech) must always be A simple thank you is common.
given after a meal or before leaving a meal
5 Always be willing to give and share 5
If someone is in need, offer what you have.  Gratitude is scarce.  Many people are 
(Even if it is all you have) selfish and unwilling to give what they have.
6 If someone is sitting, NEVER talk to them  6
while standing up Standing or sitting, conversation are always
Kneel down and say "tulou" (Excuse me) carried on. 
7 Friendly  7
Always greet people and invite them into your Remain distance from strangers. 
home (Even if he/she is a complete stranger) Lack of trust.
8 Show respect to elders 8
a) They are first in everything Look at Elders as a menace to society.
b) Do whatever they say Do not show respect and ignore them. 
c) Acknowledge them as wise people
9 Never refuse something that is offered to you 9
Eat whatever is put in front of you Exercise our freedom to choose.  If we do 
not like it, we do not take it.
10 Acknowledge and respect the man of the house 10
as the leader and chief of the family As a guest, respect the father.  However,
All talking or delivering of gifts is done directly many times we choose to avoid him.
through the father
11 Always show respect 11
a) Say "tulou" Rarely show respect.  If encounter by a 
b) Excuse yourself of your ignorance complete stranger we will not show respect.
12 Parents are in-charge until they are dead 12
a) You must always obey your parents (Even if  After High School, children become 
    you are 30 yrs. Old and married) independent.  
b) What they say goes
13 Great love and trust 13
a) Rarely any hatred There is much hatred towards one another.
b) Everyone has an equal understanding of cus-  Because of differences, there is a great lack 
    toms and will not break it of trust.  i.e. - Theft, Violence, etc...
c) Houses are left completely open and un-
    occupied without hesitation
d) Samoa is one big family
14 Matai system 14
a) Different ranks base on blood line Democracy.  The government runs the country.
b) Ali'I (High chief) and Tulafale (Talking chief) There are congressmen, senators, governors,
c) Selected chiefs govern the village mayors, to govern the country.  It is lead by a 
d) Matais have the authority President. 
e) No government affiliation
f) Hold regular meetings (fono) to discuss the
   needs of the village
15 Curfew 15
a) Everyone in at 10 p.m. Except for some towns throughout the country,
b) Sa (Every family must be in their home and  or in the case of an emergency, curfews are 
    pray) not strictly enforced.  
16 Extremely low crime-rate 16
a) No violence Extremely HIGH crime-rate, which reflects
b) Complete trust the level of trust among citizens.
c) Fear of disgracing the family name
17 No demand for employment 17
a) No bills High demand for employment.  Bills must
b) You own the land, and live off it's resources be paid to survive.  One's survival demands
c) Government provides utility greatly on his or her income.
d) Simply no need
18 School is not enforced (Education not a demand) 18
a) No future ambition Children must go to school and receive 
b) Live in the same house an education.  They generally have great 
ambitions towards their future.
19 No American Dream 19
Life is fine the way it is Success is often achieved with money and power. 
Many often seek a better life. 
20 Family 20
a) Aside from God, the most important value of Family is important, yet it is often separated
    the life and or taken for granted. 
b) Always together
21 Disciplinary treatment (Children) 21
a) Light abuse Law prohibits child abuse.  Discipline is not 
b) Very effective  only learned within the home, but also in 
c) Children learn manners very early school.
d) Suicide (American Samoa)
22 Depend on land 22
a) Every family survives off their plantation Depends on farming and produce purchased
b) No supermarkets from supermarkets.  
23 Rely on each other 23
a) Everyone uses each others belongings and  As children, dependant on parents.  Adults
    help depend upon themselves.
b) Humor and happiness
24 Food  24
a) Eat lots of it  Home cooking has become scarce.  Restaurants
b) Large feasts are prepared in honor of guests provide convenience.
c) Different portions of food are distributed to 
    ranking chiefs
25 Ceremonies (Fa'alavelave) 25
a) Organized and directed by chiefs Birthdays, Anniversaries, Weddings, etc.
b) Delivered speeches  Just a simple celebration. 
c) Distribute money
d) Kava
e) Funeral, wedding, becoming of a chief, etc .
d) True cultural experience
26 Religion  26
Almost 100% of the population is Christian Majority of the population is Christian; a growing 
percent is not Christian