American Samoa Delegate Uifa’atali Amata welcomes news on Monday that the U.S. Supreme Court did not take up the Fitisemanu case, allowing the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to stand and in essence confirming the prior Tuaua case in the D.C. Court of Appeals. This outcome helps preserve American Samoa’s cultural priorities and right of self-determination.
“First of all, we owe an enormous thank you to attorney Michael F. Williams, a prominent attorney with a prestigious law office, who has represented American Samoa pro bono on this case for years. He is married to Julin Pan Williams of Lauli’i Village. We hope this is the final word so that we don’t continue to put Mr. Williams through all of this.
“I welcome this outcome from the Supreme Court, and the fact they chose to respect the self-determination of the people of American Samoa, and the emphasis our people place on preserving our Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan way). This result is of utmost importance to preserving the American Samoa we know with the continuation of family land and our matai heritage, which our ancestors very clearly did not intend to let go in their actions of 1900 and 1904. Our people value American Samoa’s right of self-determination, with great love for the United States as expressed in our people’s high rate of service to the country.
“The issue of the Insular Cases can be addressed by Congress, based on self-determination by the people of each territory. Finally, Congress should now pass my bill, H.R. 1941, to better assist U.S. nationals, especially those living in the [United] States, who wish to personally choose citizenship. Under my sensible and concise bill, a U.S. national can quickly and affordably become a citizen as an individual, without forcing a group change on the islands.
“God bless American Samoa and the United States of America.”
Uifa’atali Amata (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Uifa’atali Amata is the delegate of American Samoa in the U.S. Congress.