Pago Pago, American Samoa Whose Nation Is This Anyway?

A half Polynesian idyll, half Rotary Club protectorate

All the pillars of American civic righteousness are here: the YWCA choir, the Boy Scouts, the 4-H club, the church-sponsored floats, even the pom-pom girls strutting their stuff to the strains of Happy Days Are Here Again. It could, really, be any All-American small town putting on an Independence Day parade on any village green. Except that this truly is, in the strict anthropological sense, a village, and the green here is really, really green. And the girls are dressed in grass skirts, and so too are many of the boys, with sashes of flowers across their oiled chests and woven...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!