American Samoa Culture and Ocean Conservation Film Series
Jean-Michel Cousteau says, “Diversity is synonymous with stability,” because ecological communities that have many different species and an abundance of species are stronger and more able to withstand adversity than ecological communities that have less diversity and abundance. Jean-Michel says cultural diversity also helps make our world healthier, since different cultures have different solutions to environmental and social problems that we can all learn from.
To highlight the importance of diversity, Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society partnered with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to make a film series about ocean conservation and culture in American Samoa. Respect, humility and service are important cultural tenets practiced by the people of American Samoa. So, five short films were produced that have themes that center around community, caretakers, serving your village, church and family; parts of culture that pull us together, rather than show our differences. These themes also show ocean stewardship by a community that lives by the sea.
The stories in these short films are told by Americans Samoans who share their passion for their unique culture and for protecting their ocean resources for future generations.
Each of the films is accompanied by Hawaiian music played by slack string guitar players Doug Shirley and Bolo Mikiela Rodgriques. Slack string guitar music originated in Hawaii and is seen as one of the most genuine expressions of Hawaiian spirit.
The American Samoa Culture and Ocean Conservation Film Series received funding from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and from the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Executive producers of the series, Jean-Michel Cousteau and Gene Brighouse, Superintendent of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, were instrumental in bringing this landmark series about culture and ocean conservation for the world to enjoy. The short films are produced by filmmaker Jim Knowlton who also produced Ocean Futures Society’s recent film, SWAINS ISLAND – One of the Last Jewels of the Planet. Jim travelled to American Samoa to shoot these new films and he edited the stories once he returned.
We are grateful to all the people that generously gave their time to help create these films and who proudly shared with us and the world their families, culture, religion, music, personal photos, and love for the ocean. It is our hope that by recognizing and celebrating unique cultures and our shared interest and commitment to ocean conservation that together we can make the world a better place for us all and for future generations. We hope you enjoy and share these films.
Fa'afetai (Thank you!)
Fagatele Bay - National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa
Sunday and Family
Youth in Ocean Conservation
Two Dives in American Samoa
Hokule’a - Arrival in American Samoa
About National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa
The National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa is located in the cradle of Polynesia’s oldest culture and is thought to support the greatest diversity of marine life in the National Marine Sanctuary System, including a wide variety of coral and other invertebrates, fishes, turtles, marine mammals and marine plants. The sanctuary protects extensive coral reefs, including some of the oldest and largest Porites coral heads in the world, along with deep water reefs, hydrothermal vent communities, and rare marine archaeological resources, and also encompasses important fishing grounds, the southernmost point in the United States, and waters surrounding one of the world’s smallest atolls. The sanctuary is also the only true tropical reef within the National Marine Sanctuary System, and is the most remote location within that system. NOAA co-manages the sanctuary with the American Samoa Government and works closely with communities adjacent to the sanctuary, all within the context of Samoan cultural traditions and practices.
About NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters. The network includes a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments. Few places on the planet can compete with the diversity of the National Marine Sanctuary System, which protects America's most iconic natural and cultural marine resources. The system works with diverse partners and stakeholders to promote responsible, sustainable ocean uses that ensure the health of our most valued ocean places. A healthy ocean is the basis for thriving recreation, tourism and commercial activities that drive coastal economies. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries also leads the National Marine Protected Areas Center, the nation's hub for building innovative partnerships and tools to protect special oceans.
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About the National Marine Sanctuary System
The National Marine Sanctuary System is comprised of 13 National Marine Sanctuaries and one of two marine national monuments encompassing 170,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington State to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The sanctuaries seek to protect areas of the marine environment with special national significance due to their conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, scientific, cultural, archeological, educational or esthetic qualities as national marine sanctuaries. Learn more about the American Samoa National Marine Sanctuary.