Vailoatai
Village
Etymology: Samoan: "le vai na le iloa"[1]
Nickname: 
Tuālā
Motto(s): 
Sā Le Fo’i
Village Colors: Green and Yellow/Gold
Vailoatai is located in American Samoa
Vailoatai
Vailoatai
Coordinates: 14°21′05″S 170°46′55″W / 14.35139°S 170.78194°W / -14.35139; -170.78194
Country United States
Territory American Samoa
IslandTutuila Island
Named forSamoan Mythology
Area
 • Land.41 sq mi (1.1 km2)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total1,195
Time zoneUTC−11 (Samoa Time Zone)
ZIP Code
96799
Area code+1 684

Vailoatai is a village in southwestern Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa. It is located on the eastern end of Leone Bay. The village is known for its beautiful malae (ceremonial village-green), nested along the island's rugged southern coast and lined by the fale tali mālō (guest houses) of its village chiefs.

The original name of the village was Tuāulu.[2] In 1926, Tuāulu and another village called Vailoa, combined to form the Vailoa-tai village.[3] Although the village is officially named Vailoatai according to the American Samoa Constitution,[4] "Vailoa-tai" really only refers to the area of village towards the sea ["tai" - the side towards the sea or seaside]. Other areas of the village include Vailoa-uta ["uta"- the side towards the land or inland] and Falīlī. Together, the village as a whole is commonly referred to as Vailoa.

View of Vailoa-uta and Le'alā Shoreline

Vailoatai along with Taputimu, Itū'au (Malaeloa) and Fūtiga form the itūmālō (county/district) of Tuālātai. The village serves as the county's principality as the titular head of the district (fa'asuaga) is located here.

Etymology

The Vailoa name is short for "le vai na le iloa" (the unknown/unseen water) in reference to the legend of a time long ago when King Tuimanu'a and his traveling party stopped in the area and the difficulty they encountered in their search for water.[5]

Another version is that the Vailoa name is short for "vai-vai-loloa" (land always covered with water) in reference to the Vailoa-uta area that was covered by water or a lake. The area is still prone to flooding during heavy rains due to its geography.

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Pre-1900 History

Vailoatai is a historical marker of the Ātua (a political district of 'Upolu) migration to Tutuila with many Vailoa family names originating from the Ātua sub-district of Faleālili.[6] The village honors this legacy to this day, recognizing Faleālili in its fa’alupega (ceremonial greetings).[7]

The migration of Ātua families to Tutuila occurred after the defeat of Mālietoa by Tui Ātua[8][9][10] in the 16th century.[11] The political effect of this migration was the addition of six more counties to the original four counties of Tutuila[12] to make the overall organization of the island in keeping with the 'Upolu pattern.[13]

The village and the district became a proponent of this government (mālō) as can be seen in the old Samoan parable, the War between Tuveve and Sātele.[14]

Fofō ma Aitūlagi (an honorific that is still used to refer to the entire western district)[15] became le Falelima i Sisifo (the five houses of the west), which includes Ālātaua, Fofō, Leāsina (Aitūlagi), Tuālā-tai and Tuālā-uta (Ma’upū) counties.[16]

Sua ma Vāifanua (an honorific that is still used to refer to the entire eastern district)[17] became le Falelima i Sasa’e (the five houses of the east), which includes Itū'au (ma Nofoa), Ma’opūtasi (Launiusaelua), Sā’ole, Sua and Vāifanua counties.[18]

The HTC Tuā'olo, of the Ma'opūtasi district, is the protector of the salutation, Faleagafulu (the ten houses of Tutuila); this was a gift Queen Salamāsina gave to the Tui Manu’a during her installation as Samoa's first Tafa'ifā (holder of the four pāpā titles). The Manu'a king would then bestow the title upon the HTC to thank PC Mauga for his hospitality during a visit to Tutuila on his return trip home.[19]

The raising of the U.S. flag over Tutuila saw the end of Ātua's influence over the island, much to the relief of local chiefs who were tired of the endless wars in 'Upolu.[20] They did not want to remain under the control of 'Upolu paramount chiefs, Germany or Great Britain.[21] PC's Sātele of Vailoa and Fuimaono of Aoloau/Vailoa were two of the signatories to the Tutuila Deed of Cession in 1900.[22]

Fa'alupega: Ceremonial Greetings of Vailoatai

Afio mai lau afioga Sātele o le alo o Salamāsina

Afio mai alo o Fānene

Susū mai le sa'o o Tuiāsina ma le 'āiga sā Tuiāsinā

Alala mai lau tōfā Maiavatele, ma le fofoga ole Availopā

Mamalu mai le 'āiga Faletolu ma Faleālili

20th Century

In 1907, the village celebrated the opening of its first Christian chapel with the London Missionary Society (LMS). LMS missionaries note that an elaborate feast marked the special occasion with attendance by dignitaries and family members from around the island.[25]

In 1915, the Manu'a islands suffered severe damage from a hurricane, and the village hosted (among other villages in Tutuila) many residents from Manu'a while relief efforts took place there.[26][27]

In 1926, the three-part village council of Vailoa (-uta), Tuāulu, and Falīlī decided to consolidate the village to where it is now called Vailoa-tai.

In 1934, the Marist Le'alā School for boys opened up in the area between Vailoatai and Taputimu. The school, however, is no longer in existence.[28]

During World War II, U.S. Marines built an airstrip that spanned Leone, Vailoa-uta and Taputimu. The whole area was leased by the American Samoa Government and the federal government to construct a back-up airstrip for the main airport at Tafuna during World War II. It was started early in 1943 - probably in January. It was completed on 30 September 1943.

Unfortunately, the airstrip could not be used due to prevailing winds, which made take-offs difficult.[29] Only two planes were able to make use of the airstrip before it was abandoned.[30] Government facilities and residential units have since been built over the old airstrip.

Leone Airfield, Taputimu, American Samoa

In September 1965, Leone High School was opened in the Vailoa-uta area of the village. The school was designed for students from the Western District and transfer students from Manu'a. Village elders note that the malae of Vailoa was once located where the high school stands today.[31]

In May 1968, the government radio station WVUV-AM moved from Utulei and began operations at its new quarters in Vailoatai, next to Leone High School.[32][33]

In the early 70's, Governor Haydon pushed to privatize the station despite opposition from the Fono. By 1975, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the application by Radio Samoa, Ltd. to take over WVUV-AM from the government.[34]

By the late 90's, the old station had gone off air and is now defunct. South Seas Broadcasting, Inc. bought what was left of the station, and in 2008, opened WVUV-FM at the Aitūlagi Building office complex in Tafuna.[35]

Flag Day

Vailoatai has been a proud participant in the territory's annual celebration and commemoration of the April 17, 1900 raising of the American flag, performing the siva ma pese (song and dance) portion of the Flag Day event in 1988, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2012 and 2014.[36][37]

The village regularly participates in the Flag Day's cricket (men's and women's) games and fautasi (traditional Samoan long boat) races.

However, the last year the village fautasi, the Fa'asaulala, participated in the annual race was 2014.

The village also performed its siva ma pese program for the Independent State of Samoa's celebration of their independence day in 2010 and 2012.

Founding Legend

In the book, Ole Manuō o Tala Tu’u ma Fisaga o Tala Ave, the village of Vailoa defeated the cannibal king Tuife’ai with the assistance of two brothers from Ātua, High Chiefs Lutu and Solosolo.[38] The two brothers then sailed further east and established themselves as Sa'ousoali'i of Launiusaelua.[39]

Fagatogo elders believe the brothers received the name of their village malae, Malaeoletalu, from this war.[40] Malaeoletalu is also the name of the malae of the Sālesātele village in Falealīlī.[41]

Tuāulu was specifically set aside to prepare human sacrifices for Tuife'ai during his reign.[42] A forceful blow was applied to the back of the head, or tuāulu, using a traditional heavy war club like the talavalu.[43]

In 1926, Tuāulu and Vailoa combined to form the Vailoatai village.

Tuife'ai is a title that has many tala (legends) from Manu'a, Tutuila and 'Upolu. Sunia notes that the title goes back as far as 500 A.D., and that the Tuife'ai of that time is responsible for the first failed invasion of the Manu'a kingdom.[44]

The title established familial ties with the Mālietoa in the 13th or 14th century and was later renamed Tuisāmoa of the Poutasi village, Falealīlī.[45][46]

Historical Sites

Asotau is the name of the village malae. It is a historical marker of the Tafa'ifā I’amafana's failed invasion of Manu’a in the 18th century. The counties of Sua and Vāifanua rallied under PC Le’iato[47][48][49] to expel I’amafana's forces from Tuālātai, where the king sought refuge under the protection of his relative, PC Sātele, during his retreat from Manu’a.[50]

After a battle ensued,[51][52][53] the conflict was resolved peacefully via a traditional style intercession known as a seumālō.[54][55] King I’amafana and his forces returned to 'Upolu, and the village took the words ‘aso tau’ (Day of War) as the name of its malae to commemorate the event.

If you look closely, you'll notice that the layout of the malae was modeled after that of a Samoan chiefly guesthouse. Each of the faletalimālō at the perimeter of the malae is like each of the posts of a guest house, just on a larger scale.[56]

Notable people

Notable Landmarks

Leone High School
Le'alā Shoreline National Natural Landmark

Demographics

Year Population[68]
2020 1195
2010 1447
2000 989
1990 805
1980 677

References

  1. ^ Ua Tala le Ta'ui, Volume 2, page 16
  2. ^ Fai’ivae, Alex Godinet (2018). Ole Manuō o Tala Tu’u Ma Fisaga o Tala Ave. Amerika Samoa Humanities Council. ISBN 9781546229070.
  3. ^ Sixteenth Census of the United States: 1940
  4. ^ "2.0302 Districts".
  5. ^ Ua Tala le Ta'ui, Volume 2, page 16
  6. ^ Krämer, A. (2000). The Samoa Islands: An Outline of a Monograph with Particular Consideration of German Samoa. Constitution, pedigrees and traditions--. United States: University of Hawaii Press., Page 424
  7. ^ Krämer, A. (2000). The Samoa Islands: An Outline of a Monograph with Particular Consideration of German Samoa. Constitution, pedigrees and traditions--. United States: University of Hawaii Press., Page 448
  8. ^ Freeman, J. (1943). THE SEUAO CAVE. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 52(3), 101-109. Retrieved August 7, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/20702941
  9. ^ Tauiliili, Pemerika L. Anoafale O Le Gagana Ma Le Aganuu, Page 9.
  10. ^ Va'a, Unasa L.F. "Aspects of Western Samoa Migration to American Samoa" (PDF). The Journal of Samoan Studies. 3: 1.
  11. ^ Henry, Fred (1939). Elementary Geography of the Samoan Islands, Government of American Samoa, Tutuila, Page 10.
  12. ^ Henry, Fred (1939). Elementary Geography of the Samoan Islands, Government of American Samoa, Tutuila, Page 10
  13. ^ Krämer, A. (2000). The Samoa Islands: An Outline of a Monograph with Particular Consideration of German Samoa. Constitution, pedigrees and traditions--. United States: University of Hawaii Press., Page 424
  14. ^ P., Vaʻa, L. F. (1987). The Parables of a Samoan Divine: An Analysis of Samoan Texts of the 1860's. Australia: Australian National University, Page 70
  15. ^ Churchill, W. (1913). Geographical Nomenclature of American Samoa. Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, 45(3), 187-193. doi:10.2307/199273
  16. ^ Henry, Fred (1939). Elementary Geography of the Samoan Islands, Government of American Samoa, Tutuila, Page 21.
  17. ^ Churchill, W. (1913). Geographical Nomenclature of American Samoa. Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, 45(3), 187-193. doi:10.2307/199273
  18. ^ Henry, Fred (1939). Elementary Geography of the Samoan Islands, Government of American Samoa, Tutuila, Page 26.
  19. ^ Sunia, Fofo I.F. (2009). A History of American Samoa. Amerika Samoa Humanities Council. Page 51. ISBN 9781573062992
  20. ^ Henry, Fred (1939). Elementary Geography of the Samoan Islands, Government of American Samoa, Tutuila, Page 12.
  21. ^ Kruse, Line-Noue Mamea (2018). The Pacific Insular Case of American Samoa
  22. ^ Simanu, '. M., Papaliʻi, A. M. S. (2011). 'O Faia Fa'atumua O Samoa Mai Tala O Le Vavau. Samoa: National Foreign Language Resource Center, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, page 198
  23. ^ PSalua, F. S. F. T. (1995). O le tafatolu o au measina: Samoa. New Zealand: Department of Communication of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, Page 196
  24. ^ Methodist Church in Samoa (1985), O Le Tusi Fa'alupega o Samoa Atoa, Page 249
  25. ^ The London Missionary Society Tutuila Mission. ASHPO(2012).
  26. ^ American Samoa: A General Report by the Governor, 1925
  27. ^ Shaffer, Robert J. (2013), American Samoa, 100 Years Under The United States Flag, Page 145
  28. ^ Fai’ivae, Alex Godinet (2018). Ole Manuō o Tala Tu’u Ma Fisaga o Tala Ave. Amerika Samoa Humanities Council. ISBN 9781546229070.
  29. ^ Gray, J.A.C. (1960). Amerika Samoa and its Naval Administration. Page 243.
  30. ^ Sunia, Fofo I.F. (2009). A History of American Samoa. Amerika Samoa Humanities Council. Page 238. ISBN 9781573062992
  31. ^ "MASSIP Internship Reports Summer 1997" (PDF). University of Hawaii. 1997. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  32. ^ The Broadcasting Yearbook. United States, Broadcasting Publications Incorporated, 1991.page 39
  33. ^ 1968 Annual Report Am. Samoa, pg 15
  34. ^ Federal Communications Commission Reports. V. 1-45, 1934/35-1962/64; 2d Ser., V. 1- July 17/Dec. 27, 1965-.. United States, Federal Communications Commission, 1976.
  35. ^ "WVUV History".
  36. ^ "AM. SAMOA TO CELEBRATE 110TH FLAG DAY". Pacific Islands Report. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
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  38. ^ Ua Tālā le Ta'ui, Lomiga 1(2009), Page 25.
  39. ^ Ua Tālā le Ta'ui, Lomiga 4(2021), Page 105.
  40. ^ Fai’ivae, Alex Godinet (2018). Ole Manuō o Tala Tu’u Ma Fisaga o Tala Ave. Amerika Samoa Humanities Council. ISBN 9781546229070.
  41. ^ Tofaeono Tanuvasa Tavale (2012). Fa'alupega o Samoa 'Atoa, Page 36.
  42. ^ Ua Tālā le Ta'ui, Lomiga 1(2009), Page 44.
  43. ^ Ua Tala le Ta'ui, Volume 2, page 14
  44. ^ Sunia, Fofo I.F. (2009). A History of American Samoa. Amerika Samoa Humanities Council. Page 35. ISBN 9781573062992
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  47. ^ Matuatia v. Tautunu (1910)
  48. ^ Asuega v. Manuma (1965)
  49. ^ In re Matai Title "Mulitauaopele"(1990)
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  51. ^ Lenihan, M. W. (1953). Betwixt the Here and There. United States: Dorrance, page 28
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  55. ^ Wendt, M. A., Suaalii-Sauni, T. M. (2014). Whispers and Vanities: Samoan Indigenous Knowledge and Religion. United States: Huia Publishers.
  56. ^ Micah, Van der Ryn (2016). Which Way is Front? Spatial Orientation Complications in Contemporary Samoan Villages
  57. ^ Sunia, Fofo (2000), The Women of American Samoa,page 43)
  58. ^ "Galumalemana Bill Satele". Samoa News. 3 November 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  59. ^ Sunia, Fofo (2001), Puputoa, Host of Heroes, page 128
  60. ^ "AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNOR TAUESE CRITICAL OF LEGISLATORS' TRIP TO APIA". Pacific Islands Report. 24 October 1997. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  61. ^ Sunia, Fofo (2001), Puputoa, Host of Heroes, page 76
  62. ^ Sunia, Fofo (2001), Puputoa, Host of Heroes, page 83
  63. ^ Study Mission to Eastern (American) Samoa; Report of Senators Oren E. Long, of Hawaii, and Ernest Gruening, of Alaska, to the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, United States Senate, Pursuant to S. Res. 330, 86th Congress, Volumes 8-13
  64. ^ Sunia, Fofo (2001), Puputoa, Host of Heroes, page 168
  65. ^ Study Mission to Eastern (American) Samoa; Report of Senators Oren E. Long, of Hawaii, and Ernest Gruening, of Alaska, to the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, United States Senate, Pursuant to S. Res. 330, 86th Congress, Volumes 8-13
  66. ^ Sunia, Fofo (2001), Puputoa, Host of Heroes, page 66
  67. ^ "Le'ala Shoreline". National Park Service. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  68. ^ "American Samoa Statistical Yearbook 2015" (PDF). American Samoa Department of Commerce.