Stirring Waves American Samoa and the Fight for Equal Rights


Two-Faced Nationals

Most Americans living in the states take birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment for granted. But what about those who grew up in the shadow of the American Empire?

The imperial past undoubtedly left traces in today’s territories of the US. Still, there are various questions left on how to handle the split between embracing one’s cultural identity as Samoan and being part of the United States.

People living in American Samoa are only nationals, not citizens, of the United States. This is a result of the maintenance of old immigrant status from imperial US politics.

The original distinction between citizens and nationals was once made to distinguish between so-called “desirable races” from “undesirable” ones.