29 Aug 2008

American Samaon bill seeks to alter title requirements

1:50 pm on 29 August 2008

A revised version of a bill seeking to make several changes to the law dealing with matai titles has been introduced in the American Samoa Senate.

The original version of the bill, which was introduced in January, sought to remove hereditary right as a point of consideration for the High Court when determining which candidate is awarded a matai title.

The revised bill removes the hereditary right criterion when a matai title dispute goes to Court, but changes the qualifications for succession to a matai title by removing the blood percentage qualifier and replacing it with hereditary right.

During a recent Senate hearing, several senators argued that requiring a person to be at least one-half Samoan blood prevents all claimants to the title to make a claim.

The senators said that as long as the person claiming the title, has bloodline to the title it doesn't matter whether it is 10 percent, 25 percent or 50 per cent