Assistant Secretary Domenech Visits American Samoa Keynotes at 118th Flag Day: We are all Part of the American Family

Last edited 11/30/2020
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Tanya Harris Joshua 202-208-6008

PAGO PAGO, AMERICAN SAMOA - U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech and Office of Insular Affairs Director Nik Pula are in American Samoa this week where they have joined in the festivities to celebrate the 118th anniversary of Flag Day. 

“Today’s celebration is a display of American Samoa’s patriotism and commitment to the American Family,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “It pays deference to the traditional forefathers of American Samoa who had the foresight and wisdom to forge a lifetime partnership with the American family.  We are all part of the American Family.”

The Assistant Secretary’s schedule began as soon as he arrived in American Samoa over the weekend with a special visit to the Manu’a Islands where he visited the Fitiuta and Faleasao elementary schools, the American Samoa Power Authority power plant and solar farm, Manu’a High School, the health dispensary, and the Faleasao wharf. 

The Flag Day official ceremonies kicked off with a special ava ceremony hosted by the traditional leaders with the Assistant Secretary Domenech as a special guest. 

The Assistant Secretary met separately with Governor Lolo and Lt. Governor Lemanu where he signed over $10.6 million in infrastructure funds to support infrastructure projects at the wharf, hospital, and schools in the territory.  The funding also included technical and maintenance assistance for training and youth conservation awareness programs.  He also had meetings with the Senate President Gaoteote, House Speaker Savali, Chief Justice Kruse, and other prominent government leaders. 

The Assistant Secretary was briefed by Department of Homeland Security and FEMA leadership on the island on the status of recovery efforts and also toured some of the sites damaged by Cyclone Gita.

His trip to American Samoa concluded with more visits to other OIA-funded project sites on the island of Tutuila such as the LBJ Hospital, the new service wharf, and the shipyard.  He also visited the Starkist Cannery, a critical economic driver for the territory.

“The opportunity to visit American Samoa, meet with its leaders, tour the beautiful island, and experience first-hand the amazing hospitality and generosity of the people, only reinforces my commitment to strengthening relationships and friendships, and doing all I can to support the economic and social growth of American Samoa,” concluded the Assistant Secretary.     

The Department of the Interior is responsible for coordinating federal policy with respect to the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and administering and overseeing U.S. federal assistance provided to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association.  The Office of Insular Affairs’ mission is to restore trust and fulfill insular responsibilities by executing activities which bolster healthcare capacity, strengthen island economies, and fulfill U.S. Compact obligations.  The Assistant Secretary discharges these responsibilities on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior.



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