18 Oct 2006

50th anniversary appointment of first local Governor of American Samoa

8:00 pm on 18 October 2006

American Samoa has marked the 50th anniversary of the swearing in of the late Uifaatali Peter Coleman as the first local to be appointed governor.

Regionally, the event also marked the first time that the United States government appointed a Pacific islander to head a territory.

He also became the first locally elected governor of American Samoa and served three terms as chief executive.

Mr Coleman's daughter, Aumua Amata, who is currently running for the territory's seat in the US Congress, commented on the significance of the event in regional movements towards self-government.

"It kind of provided the impetus, the impetus for other Pacific islands to seek greater self-government for themselves. And apart from the Queen of Tonga - Queen Salote at that time - Tali Coleman was the only indigenous pacific islander to serve in that region. And his appointment is widely credited with providing inspiration to regional self-determination movements."

Aumua Amata Coleman