16 Sep 2009

New rules likely to determine new matais in American Samoa

7:19 pm on 16 September 2009

The American Samoa Senate has approved and sent to the House of Representative a bill that would make changes to the legal process for determining successors to matai titles.

The bill would remove the one half Samoan blood requirement for matai title claimants and would require claimants to have a genealogical blood relationship to the original title holder.

The bill would change the first of the four criteria which guides the court in deciding successors to vacant matai titles.

Instead of best hereditary right, the bill says the first criterion should be a genealogical blood connection to the original title holder.

The bill states that when a claim to a title is made, the claimant would have to provide to the Registrar's office an affidavit showing the blood links to the original titleholder.