Posts tagged ‘Survivor: Samoa’

March 20, 2015

Post 53 – Samoa Samoas (Part 1)

A worm-free Karen in Western Samoa.

A worm-free Karen in Western Samoa.

After eighteen months on the island, the family felt like they could use a change of scenery. In Detroit, Larry would have just piled everyone in the car and taken off for a weekend drive to a nearby interesting place. After all, Flint, MI was only 130 miles away! But if you already lived in a paradise that happened to be in the middle of the world’s largest ocean, the choices were limited.

They decided to visit Western Samoa, which was not only NOT on their island of Tutuila, but was also an entirely different country. Owned at various times by the Germans and the British, the islands declared their independence in 1962 and were now attempting to try their hand at governing themselves. Being your own boss can be a giddy feeling, and the government has made some bold choices, most of them in the past twenty years or so.

In 1997, they amended the constitution to change the country’s name from Western Samoa to simply Samoa. This pissed off American Samoans, who asserted that the change diminished their own identities in whatever the Samoan translation of “what are we, chopped liver?” would be. The people of American Samoa still use the terms Western Samoa and Western Samoans to describe the independent state and its inhabitants, because they are not the boss of them. survivorsamoa-logoThis change was unfortunately reinforced when the reality TV show Survivor filmed three different seasons there (2009) and blatantly put it on the show logo for millions to see. This was the season that introduced Russell Hanz to the general viewing audience, much to their dismay.

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