The first Pacific island to become independent is the nation of Samoa, which gained independence from New Zealand in 1962. They were named Western Samoa.
Samoa Independence Day is celebrated on June 1st each year to commemorate the day in 1962 when Samoa gained independence from New Zealand. It is a national holiday in Samoa and is marked by various cultural and sporting events, parades, and flag-raising ceremonies.
Samoa gained independence after more than 50 years of colonial rule. The country's road to independence involved peaceful protests, negotiations, and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.
Samoa was colonized by Germany in 1900, but it was later occupied by New Zealand after World War I. Our Samoan history is more than colonisation.
The Austronesian language which is linked to Samoan suggests that linguistically we have a history that can be traced to a migration from south east Asia and through the Pacific Islands.
The south east Asian migration theory is supported by the archaeological findings of Lapita pottery. However as voyagers the pottery could be found throughout the Pacific because of trading not necessarily because Lapita was made in the Pacific.
Our folklore tells other stories where our people came from Savaii, Havaiki, Hawaiki, Avaiki (or similar forms of this word). Where this is exactly is not known. What we do know is that there is a shared history between Samoa, Tonga and Fiji as our folklore speaks specifically of these places. Some folklore also states that we come from lands where the sweet potato grow freely. Sweet potato is not native to Asia, but it is to South America.
Growing up in a LDS home I was taught that our Pacific people came from the Americas. In my sociology studies I found similarities in gift reciprocity and even cultural motifs. Is this enough to definitively say Samoans are linked to Native Americans? No, but if there are researchers out there please consider this as something to research.
So, why am I telling you this? I tell you this because we have a history that was lost because of colonisation. We cannot get it back. Samoa's Independence was our people standing up and saying this is not acceptable.
So when we celebrate Samoan Independence acknowledge our ancestors for standing up for our freedoms. Remember the things we lost. Share what we know so that no one can take away our Samoan culture again.