18 Jan 2012

American Samoa congressman defends resident proposal

7:26 am on 18 January 2012

American Samoa's US congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says the communal land tenure system is being eroded by locals, not foreigners

Opponents of a proposal by the Congressman to allow a alien permanent residents to apply for US national status, say that communal land may end up in the hands of foreigners.

But Congressman Faleomavaega says chiefs of families are parceling out communal land which then ends up in a different category of land ownership, that is not even established by law.

"I will always contend that the land is the unmbilical cord that ties our people and our society to our culture. Once you break the trusteeship relationship between the matai and his responsibility as trustee of his communal lands there will be no more Samoan culture. And I am afraid this is happening because our own Government, and our own people are doing this."