Politics

Delegating Denver #3 of 56: American Somoa

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Total Number of Delegates: 9 Pledged: 3 Unpledged: 6

How to Recognize an American Samoan Delegate: As Pacific Islanders, American Samoans look like Hawaiians, only a lot more "gangsta." Their traditional nave-to-knee body tattoo (pe'a) is inked with a pig's tooth attached to a drumstick and takes about nine days to complete. The elaborate design looks like nude surfer shorts and is often complimented with trendy silver-capped front teeth "grillz." Cramped living spaces, family tradition and clan rules have always encouraged American Samoans to smile sweetly as they repress their anger and seek out objects on which to focus their rage. Perhaps this explains why so many American Samoans are professional football players. ESPN has estimated that an American Samoan boy is forty times more likely to play on an NFL team than his stateside counterpart. It's true! Traditional Polynesian dances help make these players nimble-footed. All American Samoans love singing and dancing, especially if it comes with a dinner buffet.

Famous American Samoans: Margaret Mead researched Coming of Age in Samoa on the island of Tau; fighter pilot Toa'ale S. Mulitaupele; Legendary Tattoo Sisters Tilafaiga and Taema; warrior princess Lucy Lawless; football players Junior Seau, Joe Salave'a and Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala

Famous American Samoan Democrats: Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin Falaomavaega Jr., perhaps the United States’ only Democrat who is also a Mormon

Famous American Samoans With Denver Connections: Denver Broncos defensive tackle Ma'a Junior Tanuvasa, the tenth Samoan to play in a Super Bowl. He helped his team defeat Green Bay 31-24 on January 25, 1998.

Territory Motto: In Samoa, God Is First Population: 57,902 Racial Distribution: 2% white, 90% Samoan, 4% Tongan, 5% black, Asian and Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $4,357 Unemployment: 30%

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Sean Cronin