American Samoa, Population and Education
animistic religions, aigu, Polynesian people, village schools, thatched roofs
The Samoans are a branch of the Polynesian people. Their language is considered to be one of the oldest forms of Polynesian used today. Most Samoans also speak English. The majority of Samoans are Christians; though some of the practices of their traditional, animistic religions may still be followed, these traditional religions have virtually disappeared. Samoan society is organized around the extended family, or aigu, headed by a chief. Traditional houses have oval, thatched roofs and are supported on wooden poles. Foreigners, including Americans, are prohibited by local laws from buying Samoan-owned land. Many Samoans have migrated to Hawaii and the continental United States.
Since the mid-20th century the birthrate has declined gradually, while the death rate has remained stable. Education is free and compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 18. Instruction is provided by 30 public primary schools and 6 private schools, about 160 village schools, for early education, and a community college. In the consolidated public elementary schools, television is used for instruction purposes.
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