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Op-Ed: Looking back and looking forward to the 10th Tattoo Fest

As Tisa’a Annual Tattoo Fest grows, so does the interest in our community to return to the joy of being Samoan, living in our island paradise and celebrating the Traditional Tatau art and its diversity on Tutuila Island.
 
Clearly, I witnessed an emergence of a new generation of American Samoans who are coming of age in their various arts forms — from the tatau and Ava ceremony to the latest locally produced (and first American Samoa comedy film) “SEKI A OE” set to be released next month and previewed at the Fest.
 
Wood carving, clay art, and fashions designed by young entrepreneurs were impressive and a very welcome addition this year. The ink was well judged by professionals in the field. Most participants were college students and young professionals with families celebrating le Tatau A Samoa as well as enjoying the perfect beach weather on the east side.
 
I noticed a much bigger interest in Samoan cultural arts this year among the young people and a willingness to try things that are cool about being Samoan in the motherland. The celebration of the Tatau Art at Tisa’s Tattoo Fest is a soft landing spot and feel-good experience for newcomers and visitors. If they choose to look deeper into the sacredness of the Fa’asamoa, welcome to Motu O Fiafiaga!  Gotta do the Tautua first!
 
Visitors loved being able to purchase gifts and art stamped with the made in Amerika Samoa label. And to leave Tisa’s Tattoo fest with permanent skin art of the Samoan Tatau is a cool way to own bragging rights about a visit to Pago Pago.
 
They told me Motu of Fiafiaga is one of the most hospitable and peaceful islands of the South Pacific. “Feeling safe” was the most common comment from all visitors in recent years.
 
Looking forward to the 10th Annual Tisa’s Tattoo Fest next year, I feel confident our island community is ready to step up our efforts in maintaining our island’s environment with low impact and sustainable island style development, to share with those who share our interest to save our planet from further destruction. We have a great opportunity to grow our economy with Eco Tourism development.
 
Caring for our planet is a realistic move for our survival and the protection of the natural resources of our beautiful island’s environment and culture.  As an advocate of the environment, and conservationist of natural resources, it’s encouraging to see that American Samoa leaders are enlightened to do the right thing, and many of us are proud to be a part of this.
 
Worldwide interest in our cultural arts is growing with each tattoo fest year, and we are grateful for the support of the business community that supports Tisa’s Tattoo Festival every year.
 
 Lastly, thank you to my district, family, and Alega village for your support.
 
Amerika Samoa are you ready for the 10th Annual Tisa’s Tattoo Festival? Mark your calendar for Oct. 24-26, 2014!



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