Centuries-Old Tradition of Atule Harvesting in Fagasā Village, American Samoa

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The Atule Harvest Tradition is a symbol of God’s love and blessings to the village of Fagasā in American Samoa.

Travis Tua of the Tua family in Fagasā shared the history of the Atule Harvest Tradition in his village and how it is important for their people.

“The practice of harvesting the atule has been a tradition in our village for hundreds of years..”

The villagers took to the water on Wednesday (Tuesday in Am Samoa) to get their annual catch of atule using the technique of lauloa – ring fence fishing where the palm tree fronds are joined together as a fish barrier.

“Our whole village participated in the harvest, and the catch was over 2,500 atule.”

“Sa auai uma ai lava si o matou nuu atoa i le faiva, ma maua ai atule e silia ma le 2,500.”

“O le faiga o le faiva e sulu ie, e ta mai launiu e fai ai le lau, ae o tinā e omai ma le enu ma ola e fagota ai le i’a i totonu o le lau.”

Travis said the catch was great this year, however he has seen bigger catches in previous years.

Travis adds that the sale of the atule is also strictly forbidden.

“The rise of the atule is a blessing from the Lord; and we are not allowed to sell the harvest, but it is distributed amongst each family in the village and to visitors who come and join us for the harvest.”

“O se fa’amanuiaga mai Le Alii, o lea e matuai faasā ai ona faatau atu le faiva, ae e faasalafa le manuia o le nu’u i tagata o le nu’u, ma nisi o malō asiasi e auai i le faiga o le i’a.”

“It is such a proud moment for myself and for all Fagasā villagers,” he says.

“Such a great learning experience for everyone especially the younger generation of the village to learn about the history of the Atule Harvest and also the process of the harvest.”

Fagasā is one of the few villages in Tutuila that continues with the centuries-old tradition.