Video documentary on Rose Atoll aired on KVZK-TV

A documentary on Muliava/Rose Atoll aired for the first time this past week on KVZK-TV and the documentary will be shown twice a week for the next three weeks.


Entitled “U’umau i le Tofi — Heritage to Preserve” the thirty-minute documentary was produced by the Samoan Studies Institute of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), in collaboration with the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR).


According to DMWR wildlife biologist Alice Lawrence, Muliava/Rose Atoll “is culturally important for the people of Manu’a, and they have a strong affinity to the atoll since it was their traditional fishing ground.”


She said although the distance, need, and change in the socio-cultural setting has lessened the number of visitations to the area, there is still that strong cultural affinity and ownership of the area by the Manu’a people, led by their chiefs.


Lawrence explained that the main aim of the project was “to provide the opportunity for the people of Manu’a to visit the atoll and to capture the stories and information about the atoll for educational purposes.”


In March 2011, thirty-five Manu’a community members participated in a two-day boat trip to Muliava/Rose Atoll. Participants included chiefs of different ranks from Manu’a, along with Manu’a school teachers and students.


The ASCC Samoan Studies Institute (SSI) was contracted to document the oral history during the trip to Muliava, and also to conduct oral research in Manu’a following the trip.


The thirty-minute bilingual educational DVD documentary was produced by SSI, in addition to a bilingual report and summary brochure. An educational poster has also been produced as part of the project and is available free of charge from the Information and Education division at the DMWR office in Fagatogo.


“These educational products will be utilized in a new education project that is being planned for Ta'u in 2014,” Lawrence said.


Funding for the project comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Marine National Monument Program 2010.


Project duration was from 2010-2013.


In addition to the video documentary, a follow-up grant proposal has been successful in securing funds to run a ‘hands-on’ experiential education program with Ta’u High School, in Manu’a, which is titled ‘Exploring Muliava from a Ta`u Perspective’.


Three week-long modules will be taught to 25 students from grades 9-12 (ages 15-18 years), in addition to any interested community members. “The aim of the project is to introduce students to environmental projects and Western scientific research and management approaches, in addition to discussing the traditional and oral histories associated with Muliava and the Manu’a Islands,” Lawrence said in an initial interview.


(Rose Atoll, often referred to as Rose Island or Motu o Manu by the residents of nearby Manu’a Islands, is an oceanic atoll within American Samoa that is an uninhabited wildlife refuge. It is the southernmost point belonging to the United States and contains the largest populations of giant clams, nesting seabirds, and rare reef fish in all of American Samoa. The Rose Atoll Marine National Monument that lies on the outstanding islands of the Atoll, is managed cooperatively by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the American Samoa Government).


More information on the projects can be obtained by contacting Alice Lawrence directly at 633-4456

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