CNMI history about Samoans

3:23 pm on 5 October 2015

A Northern Marianas historian is compiling a complete history of a group of Samoan chiefs who formed a community on Saipan 100 years ago.

The ten chiefs were part of an independence movement in what was then German Samoa, and in 1909, the German governor exiled them to Saipan, which was also under German control.

Scott Russell, from the Northern Marianas Humanities Council, says little is known about the Samoans, who left Saipan when the Germans left the Pacific around the time of the First World War, but he's working to change that.

"They were given land just north of the main settlement along the beach and they built ten Samoan-style houses and they also had another one for their pastor, so they had their own church. There were 72 people altogether, it was the ten chiefs plus their immediate family and a few servants."

Scott Russell says he's just returned from Samoa where he met some of the chiefs' descendants.