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Constitutional Convention for American Samoa
« on: June 28, 2010, 12:30:16 PM »
June 18, 2010 – Governor Togiola Tulafono called for a Constitutional Convention for American Samoa to be held from  June 21, 2010 to July 2, 2010 at Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium (Fale Laumei) in Utulei.

"The Constitution Convention will allow our people to review, discuss and debate the most basic laws which govern us that if we so desire, the Constitution may be modified, amended or kept to reflect our values and our future concerns," said Governor Togiola. "The ConCon will also allow for the evaluation of our fundamental rights and to deliberate on work to secure the preservation, continuation and perpetuation of our Samoan heritage, lands, language and culture for future generations."

The following is the official text of the Executive Order – “An Order Calling the Constitutional Convention of 2010: Fono o le Fa’avae”:

Executive Order No. 005-2010


“Fono o le Fa’avae”

WHEREAS, in seeking to allow the people of American Samoa to review, discuss and debate the most basic laws which govern them so that if they so desire, the Constitution of American Samoa may be modified, amended or kept to reflect their most deeply held values and so that present day and future concerns may be presented and weighed, and;

WHEREAS,to facilitate the evaluation of our most fundamental governmental institutions and rights, and to deliberate on work to secure the preservation, continuation and perpetuation of our Samoan heritage, lands, language and culture, so that the people of American Samoa may lay out their own political path and set out their own social policies for their future generations and all people to track, and;

WHEREAS,to provide a forum to the people of American Samoa, through their selected envoys and delegates, to voice and express their wishes, concerns and needs as they relate to their government, basic rights, and social institutions, while recognizing the importance of respect, tolerance and cooperation attendant to this democratic process, and;  WHEREAS,to supply a mechanism so that a vital stage in the process whereby modifications and changes to the most essential laws of the Territory and basic governmental structures may be effected;

By the authority vested in me as Governor of American Samoa, by the Constitution of American Samoa, it is hereby ordered:

[1]  The Constitutional Convention of 2010 is hereby called. It shall convene on June 21, 2010 and shall adjourn on July 2, 2010. Delegates to the Convention shall consider, discuss, debate and vote on amendments to the Revised Constitution of American Samoa of 1967 or a revised draft constitution presented by the Constitutional review Committee.

[2]  The delegates to the Convention shall be selected by their respective County Councils in accordance with Executive Order 003-2010.

[3]  If the Convention approves amendments to the Revised Constitution of 1967 or a revised draft constitution by a simple majority vote, such amendments or such a draft will be submitted by the Governor to voters eligible to vote for members of the House of Representatives at the next general election.  This order shall take effect on 18th of June 2010.  Dated:  June 18, 2010  


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Constitution Convention closes
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 09:49:45 AM »
Constitution Convention closes, “Our people await deliverance of document”

(UTULEI: Saturday, July 3, 2010) –Governor Togiola Tulafono on Saturday, July 3, 2010 addressed the closing of the 2010 American Samoa Constitutional Convention at Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium (Fale Laumei) in Utulei and expressed his sincere thanks for a very productive two weeks of deliberations.

"We have all come to understand that a government’s constitution is the roadmap of any government’s governance, safety and the cornerstone of its peace and freedom for its people," said Gov. Togiola. "Thank you for the monumental task over the past two weeks that you have crafted and carried out so dilligently in preparing for the journey ahead of us. Your work is the guide by which we, as Samoans, will be able to plot the next steps of our journey. I wish to congratulate and thank you."

"As we proceed in this direction, a question arises for me of the enormity of the task that has just been completed. We have worked, and now it is up to the voters. Or, will the voters approve these recommendations and amendments to Our Constitution?" asked Governor Togiola.

The following text is the translation of Governor Togiola’s address, which was presented in Samoan:

Closing Speech- translated to English

Governor Togiola T.A. Tulafono

American Samoa Constitutional Convention of 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium (Fale Laumei)

Utulei, Tutuila, American Samoa

Talofa! I wish to greet and acknowledge all gathered here today. May I first express my gratitude to Reverend Elder Siaosi Saifoi and Mrs. Torise Saifoloi along with the choir from Sa’ilele, that mighty village in the East. Thank you for seeking God’s bountiful blessings, peace, unity and prosperity on behalf of all the servants of God of Samoa, for all of our families across this great land we call our island home.

Greetings to the honorable Paramount Chief Mauga Tasi Asuega, chair of the Constitutional Convention, and the honorable Paramount Chief Satele Galu Teutusi, vice chair, and to the secretary Iulogologo Joe Pereira, to all High Chiefs, High Talking Chiefs, and Talking Chiefs, convention delegates, and citizens of American Samoa who are participating from across the Territory in their respective counties of Sua and Vaifanua, Fofo and Aitulagi, Sa’ole and Launiusaelua, Ituau and Alataua, and Manu’a: Talofa!

To the honorable Faoa Sunia, Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa, and the members of the Cabinet. Greetings to Chief Justice Leala’ialoa Michael Kruse and the judicial branch.

Talofa to the President of the Senate, the honorable Gaoteote Palaie Tofau, the Speaker of the House, the honorable Savali Talavou Ale, and senators and representatives of the American Samoa Legislature; and to the honorable Tufele Fa’ato’ia Li’amatua, Secretary of Samoan Affairs and the Department of Local Government; and to the honorable Faleomavaega Eni, our congressman, and also Talofa to my dear wife, the First Lady.

I wish to offer greetings to the honorable Afoa Moega Lutu, Executive Director of the American Samoa Constitutional Convention Office, and Deputy Director Uto’ofili Asofa’afetai Maga and staff for the great job in coordinating our ConCon.

It is with pride that we acknowledge the observing participation from afar of our brothers in Samoa; His Highness the Head of State Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese and the Council of Deputies, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and the Cabinet, and the Speaker of Parliament, and all of Upolu, Savai’i, Manono and Apolima.

Robert Louis Stevenson said: “To be what we are and to be what we are capable of becoming is the only end in life.”

I wish to add to this by saying, “Real happiness comes from limiting our desires rather than trying to satisfy every little desire.”

We have all come to understand that a government’s constitution is the roadmap of any government’s governance, safety and the cornerstone of its peace and freedom for its people.

Thank you for a job well done. You have completed the work that you set out to do two weeks ago. I wish to congratulate and thank you. Thank you. Well done. Thank you for the monumental task over the past two weeks that you have crafted and carried out so dilligently. Despite the challenges we have seen and heard from every corner of our island home, the preparation for the journey ahead of us and the guide by which we, as Samoans, will be able to plot the next steps of our journey.

American Samoa, we thank you. The Tutuila, Manu’a, Aunu’u and Swains expedition has returned. Our ship has returned safely from two weeks in the sea of deliberation and decision making. And I say to the honorable Mauga and Satele, it has been said, and concerns have been expressed, that because of the highest respect for you as traditional leaders of high rank, you should not have to humble yourselves and soil your hands with such tasks of leading such proceedings that often are marred with human made obstacles of disagreements, indecisions, and doubt. However, as the proceedings have unfolded over the past two weeks leading to this day, I am convinced that your calling to lead this Convention is indeed from God.

From the beginning to now, you have been steadfast in your resolve to steer discussions, thoughts and emotions expressed through seas of dissension and differences to calmer waters to review and focus and draw us all back to our constitution. As warriors and leaders, let the battle cry ring out, the victory is yours.

As a token and recognition of this victory, I have extracted a piece of wood from Government House at Maugaoali’i and inscribed upon it my thanks as a symbol of my appreciation to your leadership of our convention. I wish to present this to you now.

Your guidance and clear vision have brought us to where we are today, which reminds me of one of my father’s sermons which I will always remember. A simple phrase which says “If you desire blessings, hold on to your God, hold strong.” Something I believe you two have also done in leading this convention.

As we give thanks, so, too, must we return the absolute victory and praise to God for His faith in us. American Samoa, your path was fraught with clear challenges in ideology, passions, missions, with emotions overflowing in your quest to protect our cultural heritage that continues to protect and safeguard our families, our villages, and our districts.

To all gathered here today, as we clear away these necessary differences, let us embrace our common purpose that has brought us together over the past weeks. Let us continue to give thanks to God for His Word rings true. We have arrived at our destination as has the tree of life for American Samoa. The tree of life for Tutuila Manu’a, Aunu’u and Swains has been planted. The seed has been prepared and planted. Planted and allowed to grow. And this is Our Constitution.

Alas! Tutuila and Manu’a, as with many things in American Samoa, we do not have the absolute say. There awaits a greater power for the final decision. Even though your work is complete, your voice is heard and your spirit is loud in your collective voice, we must now seek federal approval in order for us to implement these changes in Our Constitution.

I pray for this to happen. If not, we return to a woeful start to begin again. To the sages of our island, I beg your pardon as I share with you, my fathers and mothers of our community, my dream. There will come a day when the wisdom, knowledge and resolve of our people will no longer need to go to another power to approve. In our dreams, we can see a day when we can say to ourselves with truth and conviction and with pride and honor, Tutuila, Manu’a, Aunu’u and Swains, you truly have self determination.

I would be very surprised if no other American Samoan shares this dream. This would mark a milestone despite the numerous issues raised for discussion as presented for the village, district and county levels regarding the need for American Samoa Nationals to take priority over others in key government positions.

Others have also expressed their feelings outside of these discussions. Like a call I received from a senior traditional and government leader who does not support self determination as there are not enough qualified individuals to lead an independent American Samoa. He stated, ‘Our government is fine right now. We at least have the backing of the palagi, our white brothers, that we are guaranteed to fall back on.’

I’m saddened if the thoughts, beliefs and values of this leader are a reflection of many. I also heard over the past weeks the general belief that the federal government rarely agrees to anything we ask for, and the Secretary of the Interior will never approve this constitution. This reflects the reality that we truly live under the power of the federal government. Others have compared us to a school of tiny fish who must stick to shallow waters as there are bigger fish out in the open waters that are waiting to devour us. And that, in fact, that the big fish waiting to eat us is the U.S. Congress.

I provide this metaphor to show how stifling and problematic fear can be. We cannot fear progress.

These are reminders to us of over-riding principles we may need to consider in our journey for governance that is built on the strength of our own resources and at the hands of our people.

As we proceed in this direction, a question arises for me of the enormity of the task that has just been completed. We have worked, and now it is up to the voters. Or, will the voters approve these recommendations and amendments to Our Constitution? My fear is this: As we bring closure to this phase, others will move into campaign against what you have all agreed upon and accomplished today.

This Constitutional Convention opened with the protection of individual rights and resulted in the protection of American Samoa Nationals. We began by exploring the possibility of bringing together the Fono which resulted in the expansion of the Legislature in numbers. We have spoken with representatives regarding the current Fono building. It cannot possibly contain any more tables and chairs in its current state. A new building will need to be built to accommodate this recommendation. All of these recommendations nevertheless will be put to the wisdom of your decisions.

In addition, we have sought guidance for our governance and you have chosen the recommendation of remaining with the current political status and not to be included as part of an official independent government. These are some outcomes achieved today along with encouragement from other leaders and fathers of our country for us to move forward.

I am reminded of the courage shown by our forefathers in their wonderful offering and approval of the Constitutional Convention of 1960, which was confirmed in 1966 which reads:

Whereas, the Constitution of American Samoa has been revised and was reviewed and approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and approved by a Constitutional Convention of the people of American Samoa and voters at the 1966  general election, is established to further advance government of the people, by the people, and for the people of American Samoa.

Their wisdom was clear. They spoke to what the people of American Samoa want to put in place to ensure the protection of our heritage and culture. And these are the fruits of your works that you have labored over.

I hold before me the complete document of your proceedings which has been prepared for our people who await its deliverance. Let us now await the guidance and decision and wisdom of the people; as is the wisdom of David.

Commit your ways to the Lord; trust in him and He will do this. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noon day sun. – Psalm 37:5-6.

Many leaders who are present today have expressed the same while our island community listened. We must continue to remember and remind ourselves that our homeland relies on our inherent belief that in everything we do, God is in our midst. He is among us. As is the faith of King Solomon who said” Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans succeed” – Proverbs 16:3

To the people of Manu’a, Tutuila, Aunu’u and Swains, and to all who participated in this Constitutional Convention, let us place our future and heavy burdens to our Lord through our faith. God will bless all that we do in honesty, truth and in faith and love. How will we know whether our recommendations and outcomes have been just, fair and honest? We will know only when we connect what we do to all things that are founded on the truth. What other truths are there? The will of God.

It gives me great honor to declare on this final day that I have signed yesterday an Executive Order to retain all the positions of this Constitutional Convention until such a time that the federal government has accepted and approved Our Constitution.

Honorable Lieutenant Governor Faoa and the Constitution Review Committee; I wish to thank you for your services for American Samoa.

At this time, with a very happy and grateful heart, on behalf of the people of American Samoa, it is indeed an honor to receive this official document -- the American Samoa Constitution – as presented by Paramount Chief Mauga, the ConCon chair. Thank you for a job well done. It is our collective hope that we include this document for the people to determine its passage in the election of November 4, 2010.

As we conclude this historic event, may the Lord protect you and keep you from harm’s way. May God’s blessings be upon all of our traditional leaders and keep them safe and well.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication to Our Constitution. It is my prayer that God grants you good health so that you may carry forth in His Loving Work to ensure care and protection of your families, church, village and your government.

And may He, in His infinite mercy, give Mary and me the strength to continue to serve our people. Soifua.

Address in Samoan

Lauga Kovana Sili Togiola Tulafono

Tapunia Aloa’ia o le Fono o le Fa’avae

Aso To’ona’i, Iulai 3, 2010

Fale Laumei, Utulei, Tutuila,

Amerika Samoa

Ou te fa’atalofa atu i le susu mai o lau susuga i le toeaina Siaosi Saifoloi ma le faletua ma le mamalu o le aufaipese mai le nu’u tele o Sa’ilele. O le mamalu lava lea i le tapua’iga a Ekalesia ma le aufailotu o lo’o latou tala fa’auto i tulimanu e fia o Samoa, o lo’o tapua’ia le saogalemu o laufanua, o ou maota, ou laoa ma ou aiga.

Ou te fa’atalofa fo’i i lau afioga le Maoputasi, lau afioga Mauga tasi Asuega, le ta’ita’ifono o le Fono Fa’avae a Amerika Samoa i le 2010; fa’apea lau afioga le Alo o Salamasina, lau afioga Satele Galu Teutusi o le sui ta’ta’ifono ma lau tofa Iulogologo Joe Pereira, le failautusi tofia, ae maise le mamalu o sui tofia o itumalo ma usugafono i le Fono Fa’avae o le tausaga 2010. O tupu ma e’e, o tapa’au, tama’alii, tama matua o to’oto’o. O le ’au fueloloa ma le au filiupu o le atunu’u fa’apea tama ma tina ae maise ai le autalavou o lo’o sui ma tusi a’ao i ai itumalo. O le paia lava lea ia Sua ma le Vaifanua, Fofo ma Aitulagi, Sa’ole ma le Launiusaelua, Ituau ma Alataua, ma le mamalu i le afifio o Ma’upu. O le afifio fo’i lea o Fa’atui ma To’oto’o o le Fale’ula, pa’ia o le Manu’a Tele: Ou te fa’atulou atu.

Fa’atalofa atu i lau afioga i le Kovana Lutena, lau afioga i le tama Fa’alagia, ae maise le mamalu o le sasao o le Kapeneta. Fa’atalofa atu fo’i i le afio mai o lau afioga i le Fa’amasino Sili, lau afioga Leala’ialoa Michael Kruse ma le paia o le alaala a le fa;amasinoga.

Ou te fa’amalo atu fo’i i le soifua maua, taeao manuia i lau afioga Gaoteote Palaie Tofau, o le tama’itai o le ao, o le Peresetene fo’i o le Senate; Ma lau afioga i le Fofoga Fetalai, lau tofa Savali Talavou Ale, ae maise le mamalu o le Fono Faitulafono i ona maota e lua. Ia e’e fo’i lau afioga i le Failautusi o Mata’upu Tau Samoa, lau afioga Tufele fa’ato’ia Li’amatua ma le mamalu o le faiga malo fa’alotoifale o le atunu’u.  Fa’apea fo’i ona fa’atalofa atu i le e’e mai o lau afioga i le sui aoao i le konekeresi, lau Tofa Faleomavaega Eni. E fa’atalofa pea fo’i i si a’u pele, le tina o le atunu’u.

Ou te fa’atulou atu i o outou sa ma o outou faiga. Fa’atalofa atu fo’i i lau afioga le Aloali’i, Afoa Moega Lutu, ae maise o le mamalu o le ofisa, le afio o lau afioga le fa’asisina, le tofa i le to’oto’o ma le aufaigaluega sa outou fita i le tapenaina o le Fono Fa’avae. Malo fai o le faiva. Tulou ia.

E le vaea le fale’o’oto aua e le taumateina le tapua’iga o lo’o osiosi a Pule ma Tumua aua lenei fa’amoemoe. Tapua’i mamalu i lau afioga le Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese, o le Ao o le Malo o Samoa, fa’apea le mamalu o le Fono Sui Tofia; Tapua’iga fo’i i lau afioga le Palemia ma le Kapeneta ae maise le Fofoga Fetalai ma le mamalu o le Palemene o Samoa.  O le paia lena o tama ma o latou aiga o aiga fo’i na o latou tama. O le paia o le Ituau ma le Alataua, o le Aiga i le Tai ma le to’o o le fua. Ou te fa’atulou atu.

E fa’apea se mau a Tusitala, le susuga ia Robert Louis Stevenson, “E tasi lava le mea e taua i le soifua fa’aletagata, pe taualuga ai; O lona mautinoa o ai ia; Ma lona lua, o le to’a o lana sa’iliga i se suiga aupito sili ona mafai ona ia ausia i lona ia lava ta’u. “To be what we are and to be what we are capable of becoming is the only end in life.”

O la’u mau e fa’apea. O le fiafia moni e maua i le fuafua tatau i le maua o mana’oga e mafai ona fa’amalie nai lo o le taumafai e fa’amalie so’o se mana’oga e oso mai. Real happiness comes from limiting our desires rather than trying to satisfy every little desire.”

Ua outou silafia ma tatou tau fai iloa uma o le tulafono fa’avae o se malo o le ta’iala lena o le faiga ma le soifuaga o le atunu’u ma le ma’a tulimanu o lona filemu ma le sa’olotoga o ona tagata. A government’s constitution is the roadmap of any governments governance safety and the cornerstone of its peace and freedom for its people.

Ua mae’a la outou galuega. Ou te avatu le fa’amalo ma le fa’afetai tele i la outou galuega fita sa liliu i ai i nei vaiaso e lua. E le’i faigofie, e le’i sologamalie fo’i i aso uma ma mataupu uma. Ae i lona taunu’uga ma lona tauafiafi o lea lava ua mata’ina le seuga, e pei ona matou maimoa mai maota ma tapua’i o le atunu’u ma fa’alogologo. O lenei la ua fa’ata’oto le alafua e fa’amatala ai. O ai i tatou ma o fea fo’i le itu e aga’i i ai le malaga a Samoa i lana sailiga o se mea sili i le fa’amatalina o tatou o Samoa.

Sa tele mana’o, sa tele fa’anaunauga, sa tele finauga a o lea ua to’amalie le tai o finagalo, ae a’e malo lou faiva Amerika Samoa. Lau Afioga i le Maoputasi, Lau Afioga Mauga, le ta’itaifono, Lau Afioga le Alo o Salamasina, Lau Afioga Satele, o le sui ta’ita’ifono, sa taia lava i la’u fa’alogo i le ulua’i aso o le tauafiaga le lu’itauina o le lua tula’i mai i se tasi fo’i o tama o le atunu’u e fa’apea la’u fa’alogo: Fa’apea lava e fa’amaepaepa a lua afioga ma fa’asuaga, tu’u mai le galuega, e le manatu lua te fa’aeleelea a o lea matou te nonofo atu. Ou te manatu sa tele nisi sa talitonu fo’i i lena folasaga. Fa’ata’i, ina ua fa’agasolo le fa’amoemoe ma taia le fa’alogo le matamata i taualumaga o le tauafiaga ae maise lava ona aso tau fa’ai’ui’u, ua ou mautinoa, o lo oulua vala’auina, o le mea mai le Atua.

Ina ua amata ona taufai pu’e mana’oga ma sa’afiafiga a le atunu’u, ina ua manu’a finagalo ma masua lagona ma aga’i ina tolovaea le upega o le atunu’u i saunoaga ma fetalaiga, e le’i manunu fa’atasi le to’au. I la oulua tofa fa’atupu ma le silasila fa’atama moni o le atunu’u, sa lua maua le to’amalie ma le fa’ato’ato’a na lalaga ai le lagi malie o le tauaofiaga o le aofia mamalu o le fa’avae a le atunu’u. Se ua malo toa, ua malo tautai. Atu e, atu e.

O se togi na se le lagi tila ma ou fa’apulou i lo’u tualima, ua malo fai o le faiva. Ou te fia tu’uina atu se meaalofa fa’amanatu i Lau Afioga le Maoputasi. O lenei fasi la’au, o le fasi la’au lava na toeseina mai i Maugaoali’i i le Maota o le Malo. Na tusia ai lana fa’amaufa’ailoga. Ou te fia tu’uina atu e fai ma meaalofa e fa’amanatu ai lau ta’ita’iga sili i lenei fonotaga.

Sa oulua tata lava i le lua ta’ita’iga ma le ta’ita’iga sili. Ou te talitonu o le ala lena ua a’e malo o la lua fa’atautaiga ae maise le fa’amoemoe o Amerika Samoa. Ua fa’amanatu mai ai ia te a’u se tasi o lauga a si o’u tama ou te fa’amauina lava. Nai upu e foliga fa’atauva’a: “Afai e te fia manuia, taofi lou Atua, taofi mau. Ua ou talitonu sa fa’apena ona oulua faia.

Ia aua aua lava ne’i ia te oulua, tama o le atunu’u, lo’u gutu ma le afi, a ave le vi’iga tele mo le Atua ona o Lona alofa ma Lona fa’amaoni. E le’i faigofie le sa’iliga a Amerika Samoa. Sa luga, lalo; fa’amanu’alia fo’i lagona ma finagalo ae maise ai upu ma tala ua felafoa’ina ona o le naunau e fia puipui i measina ma meataua a aiga, nu’u, ma itumalo.

Le aofia e, ia tu’uia la’ia mo paga ni fa’aletonu ma ni fa’afatitama’i, ae tatou ae’ae le manu ua ulu aua na tetele lava i pisaga, a o lea ua matua i leo o le fa’amoemoe. Ua ‘au i manu, ua to’a fo’i manu ma paaga malie le taunu’uga. Tatou ave le fa’afetai ma le fa’amua i le Atua, ia lava ma ia nenea aua ua taunu’u le upu moni o le Tusi. O le fa’amoemoe ua taunu’u, o le la’au ola mo Amerika Samoa. Le la’au lea o le ola mo Tutuila ma Manu’a, Aunuu ma Swains, o lea moni ua toto. Le Fa’avae lea ua outou tapena ma fa’ata’oto, o lea o le a toto se’i fa’atupu.

Ia ae ma’imau e pe ana se mea e uma loa ona outou gaosi ma fa’amaonia e le au palota ma tatou fa’ataualoa loa lona fa’ata’otoga. Ia, ae paga lea, e ui lava ina ua ta’oto le tofa ma le fa’autautaga, Tutuila ma Manu’a, e le o ia ta’ua se pule e fa’ataunu’u ai. O lo’o i ai le pule sili na te faia le fa’aiuga. Ua outou silafia, ua tatou iloa. Afai o le a fa’amaonia lenei Fa’avae o lo’o totoe pei o se vaega tele o le galuega, o le fa’atauanau atu i le Malo Tele ina ia fa’ataga mai lenei Fa’avae mo lona fa’aaogaina.

Ou te tatalo ia tupu lena mea. Ae a ave, ‘ave ae le taunuu, talofa e i lau tofa ma lau sa’iliga malo o le a toe tauasa fo’i. O le mea lava lena, o’u tama e, ma o’u tina e, tulou le upu e to ia te a’u, e ala ai ona ou moemiti. E i ai se aso fa’apenei e uma loa ona sasa’a le tofa ma tatala le fili a le atunu’u, taua loa lau tofa ma lau fa’autaga, e le toe avea i se tasi. Ou te talosia ina ia tatou mitiia lena aso pe tau lava ina va’ai ai o tatou mata ae fa’atautai e o tou alo ma tatou fanau, a o se aso ua mafai ona tatou fa’apea ane: Ua mafai e Tutuila ma Manu’a, Aunu’u ma Swains, ona fa’atautaia moni lona ia lava malo.

Ou te ofo pe a leai se Amerika Samoa e le miti i lena miti. O se la’asaga taua lea mo tatou tagata. Ae paga, na aliali i lenei Fa’avae le fevaevaea’i o finagalo i mataupu fa’anu’u, fa’aitumalo e o’o fo’i i le ta’ua o aia o tagata fai mai, e o’o mai lava le fesiligia po o le a le mea e fa’apito ai i tagata Amerika Samoa moni lava e agava’a mo tofi.

Na i ai fo’i nisi o lagona na ui tua mai ia te a’u. Pei o le vala’au mai o se tasi o tama matua, o se ta’ita’i o se nu’u, a o se ta’ita’i fa’alemalo fo’i. Fai mai lana mau, e momoli mai sona taofi e tusa ma le mataupu o le sa’ilia o le faigamalo: ‘Ou te fa’afetai atu lava Togiola mo lou agaga folasia e uiga i fa’atuma’oti o le pulega a le Malo. Ae ou te le sapaia lena mea ona e leai ni tagata o le atunu’u e agava’a e latou te fa’atautai le Malo pe afai e tuma’oti. O lea lava e lelei le Malo o lo’o i ai nei. O lea e i ai papalagi ma latou tupe tatou te tua i ai.’

Talofa e, ua o’o mai i lo’u loto le manatu atonu o le agaga o lenei tama o lo’o atagia ai le tele o finagalo taofiofi. Sa fa’alogoina fo’i i nei vaiaso e lua, pei fo’i ona saua i le fa’alogologo mai, o sia lava mea fa’apea, e le talia e le Malo Tele. E le pasia e le Failautusi o Initeria. O tatou lea e soifua i le pule a le Malo Tele. O le i’a la’ititi lava ia e nofo i le mea papa’u, aua le alu fua i le moana loloto ne’i osofa’ia e i’a tetele. La e fa’atalitali mai le i’a tele lava lea o le i’a o le Konekeresi.

Ua ou avatu lenei tala e tau fa’amalamalama le faigata o le fefe. E ta’uleaoga ai le agava’a ma le tomai ua faula’i ma sapi i ai le atunu’u. Ia tu’u ai la i lea mea le tala. O le a tu’u ai i i.

Tau ia o se fa’amanatu e fa’amalumalu mai pe a le fia osofia lagona e tatau ona tatou sa’ili se faiga malo e gaosi i ou lava lima ma lou lava atamai. Sa loloto, sa lautele le galuega sa outou feagai a o lea ua taunu’u i lenei aso.

O le fesili ua tula’i mai i lo’u manatu ona o le galuega tele o lo’o lupe le tau fa’apasia; Pe mata o le a outou sainia lenei fa’amaumauga? Tu’uina mai matou te galulue e tu’uina atu i le au palota, pe mata o le a le tuana’i atu loa lenei aso, tatala le filiolali’i, ona sauni fo’i lea o le campaign a le tagata ia e fa’atoilalo le mea ua uma ona outou finagalo i ai? O lo’u fefe lena o lea o i ai. E uma nei, tatou ta’ape atu, alu le amio a le tagata ia.

Na tatala lenei fonotaga i le puipuia o aia a tagata ta’ito’atasi, a mulia’i, i le mana’o, puipui aia o tupu’aga a Amerika Samoa moni. Na amata lenei fa’amoemoe i le fia tu’ufa’atasia o le Fono Faitulafono ae mulia’i le fa’alauteleina ua sili atu ona to’atele. Sa matou tau talanoa ma ta’ita’ifono ona o le fale o le Maota Fono o lo’o i ai nei. Ua outou silasila i ai ua le toe ofi ai nisi nofoa ma nisi laulau. O le a mana’omia se fausia o se fale fono fou. Ae o ia mea, o le a tu’u atu i a’ao o tou finagalo.

Sa tatou sa’ili fo’i se ta’iala aua se faiga malo, o lea ua mulia’i i le aso, ua outou fa’amaonia le tatou tumau ai i le faigamalo fa’afuafaita’ape ma le le aofia i le li’o o faiga malo aloa’ia. O mea na o fa’amoemoega ua taunu’u i lenei aso. Ae na ou maua fo’i saunoaga a nisi o tama, lo tou finagalo e toa, tatou savavali pea i luma.

Atonu o le loto tele na fa’aalia e tama ma tina ua taunu’u ai le fa’amoemoega o outou tua’a ma o tatou matua sa folasia i le fa’avaeina o le Faavae o le 1960, fa’amaonia i le 1966. Fa’apea le faitau mulimuli lava o lo o i ai.

“O lenei, o le mea lea o lenei tulafono fa’avae ua toe suia nei sa fa’avaeina pei ona ulua’i faia ma ua fa’amaonia e le Failautusi o le Initelia, ma sa fa’amaonia fo’i e le Fono Tele o le Fa’avae o Tagata o Amerika Samoa fa’apea ma le to’atele o le au palota a Amerika Samoa sa palota i le palota tele o le 1966, ua fa’avaeina nei ina ia saga una’ia ai le faiga malo o tagata.” [Government of the people] E pulea e tagata [By the people] Mo tagata o Amerika Samoa [For the people] of American Samoa.

E le o sese pe numi ia le latou fa’atautai. Na ta’u sa’o, mo tagata o Amerika Samoa. Na fa’apena na tolaulau ai aia e puipuia ai outou measina ma meataua aua le atunu’u. A o fua na o le mamafa ma le lautele o le galuega sa outou alo atu i ai. Ua sasa’a fa’aoti lava utu lea ua aofia i ulu mea falafala, aua ua ta’otoga malie le aofia o le atunu’u.

Lea ua ou taulima lona fa’amaumauga o le a matou galulue e tapena e momoli atu i le atunu’u o fa’atalitali mai. Ia tatou talia la’ia o le fa’atonuga mai le atunu’u, po o fea o le a ta’oto i ai le moe ma le tofa sa’ili. Tatou talitonu fa’atasi e pei o la le Tupu o Tavita:

 â€œIa e tu’uina atu lou ala i le Ali’i ma ia e fa’atuatua ia te Ia, ona faia lea e Ia o lenei mea.  E fa’aalia e Ia lau amiotonu pei o le malamalama o le taeao, ma le tonu o au taumafaiga e pei o le la ua tutotonu.” – Salamo 37:5-6.

Sa fa’apena fo’i finagalo o nisi o ta’ita’i o lo’o alaala mai nei, sa fa’afofoga mai i ai le atunu’u. Ia tatou manatua, o le atunu’u lenei, e fa’alagolago lava i ona talitonuga, o lo’o i ai le Atua tatou te maufaitua i ai. Fa’apena le tonu o le fa’atuatua o le Tupu o Solomona na fai mai a ia: Ia e tu’uina atu i le Ali’i mea uma e te faia, ona taunu’u lea o ou manatunatuga.” – Fa’ata’oto 16:3. [“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.”]

Le mamalu e, o Manu’a, Tutuila, Aunu’u ma Swains, outou sa gapatia i lenei galuega tele ma le fita, tatou o laia e ave lo tou tautiga i le Ali’i ma le tatou fa’atuatuaga. Na te fa’amanuia i mea uma ua faia e ala i le amiotonu. O lo outou fa’amaoni ma le alofa.  Fa’apefea ona tatou iloa na fa’amaoni tou taofi? O le a tatou iloa pe fai e faigofie ma fa’apipi’i ma fa’aopoopo atu nei mea i isi mea moni. O a isi mea moni? O le finagalo o le Ali’i

O nai toe tapenaga na o lenei aso. Ua ia te a’u le fa’aaloalo e fa’alauiloa atu ai i lenei aso mulimuli o le tauaofiaga, sa ou sainia ananafi se poloa’iga fa’ata’ita’I, o le Executive Order, ina ia fa’atumauina ai tofiga o lenei Fono Fa’avae se’ia fa’atoa fa’amuta pe a mae’a ma talia e le Malo o le Iunaite Setete le Fa’avae.

Lau Afioga Faoa ma le mamalu o le Komiti Iloilo, ou te toe fa’afetai atu i le tou galuega tele ma le tou galuega fita ua mafai ai ona taunu’u le fa’amoemoe o Amerika Samoa.

I lenei taimi ua ia te a’u le agaga fa’afetai ma le loto fa’amaulalo ou te talia ai le fa’amaumauga ua tu’uina mai e lau afioga le ta’ita’ifono o le Fono Fa’avae o Amerika Samoa i lenei tausaga 2010, Lau Afioga i le Maoputasi – Lau Afioga Mauga, mo lona tapenaina mo le palota ia Novema i le aso 4, 2010 pe a molio’o lo tou soifua ma le tatou ola i lena aso. Ma lo’u fa’aaloalo tele.

Aua le i ai ma ni mala, aua le i ai ma ni matuasalu, po o ni mea to i le matagi. Ia lagimaina tupu ma e’e ma lo tou mamalu tele. Fa’alaolao e le Atua ni tui ma ni mauga o soloa fo’i ma’a e fa’alavea a’ao, pe a toe taliu le uto ma fo’i atu i afio’aga lo tou mamalu.

Fa’afetai galulue. Fa’afetai sa’ili. Ou te tatalo ia fa’amanuia atu le Atua i lo outou soifua tautua mo aiga, ekalesia, afio’aga ma le Malo o Amerika Samoa. Maua so ma ola ma le tina i le alofa o le Atua e tautua atu ai pea i le atunu’u. Soifua.

Tavita Tusitala

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Constitutional Convention American Samoa makes NY Times
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2011, 07:48:16 AM »
An American Concept, Carried Out in Samoan Style

The Tea Party movement has been working to oust the establishment by organizing protests throughout the country. Out in the Pacific, meanwhile, one of the United States’s colonial holdings, American Samoa, is using a more uncommon forum to rethink the role of the federal government. The island territory of 66,000 people is holding a constitutional convention.

The territory has a fairly loose relationship with the United States.
Philadelphia 1787 it is not.

The opening ceremonies this week featured belly-baring men in traditional lava-lava skirts and shell necklaces. Formal consideration of the proposed amendments had to be delayed, in part because of problems with a copy machine before all the Samoan-language versions could be printed.

Each of the United States’s territories has a slightly different relationship with the federal government, but American Samoa’s is among the loosest. The United States provides the majority of the operating budget for the “unorganized territory,” but American Samoans, as United States nationals, do not have the same rights as citizens.

“Samoa has been the smoothest of the relationships, in part because the treaty which is the basis for the relationship makes the U.S. job so simple, which is to protect their way of life,” said Allen Stayman, a former official at the Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs.

That means that some of the United States Constitution’s most sacred concepts — like the notion of one person, one vote — do not apply in American Samoa. For example, a network of tribal leaders, known as matai, controls communal lands and they serve as appointed members of the territory’s Senate.

But one piece of federal legislation that does apply has been blamed for economic hardship. The 2007 federal law increasing the minimum wage prompted the Chicken of the Sea Samoa fish cannery to close, eliminating more than 2,000 jobs.

One amendment under consideration would remove the United States interior secretary’s power to override the governor’s veto. But major changes to the territory’s political status are not on the agenda at the “ConCon.” In his opening remarks in Samoan, Gov. Togiola Tulafono said the two-week convention should offer a road map for the next 100 years, according to a translation by The Samoa News.

Not everyone wants more autonomy, notably the sizable contingent of United States military veterans who want to keep ties close. One attendee even eschewed the floral lei in favor of a stars-and-stripes tie.

The United States Congress has final say on the changes, and proposals at odds with the American Constitution, like a call for a unicameral legislature based wholly on the matai system, would most likely face objections.

Still, the 145 delegates could make the convention memorable by codifying the right to trial by jury — or enshrining the Public Utilities and Services Commission.


Photo: Lorisa Mata’utia, Miss American Samoa, performed for delegates to the constitutional convention during the opening ceremony.


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