1.0202 Preservation of Samoan customs.

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The customs of the Samoan people not in conflict with the laws of American Samoa or the laws of the United States concerning American Samoa shall be preserved. The village, county, and district councils consisting of the hereditary chiefs and talking chiefs shall retain their own form or forms of meeting together to discuss affairs of the village, county, or district according to their own Samoan customs.

History: 1961, PL 7-14.

Case Notes:

The court is responsible for preserving the customs of the Samoan people. Kaliopa v. Salao and Harris 2 A.S.R. 2d I 1983}

Anyone living on communal land must perform tautua to senior matai. Pule over communal land always rests with senior matai of the Family. Taufa’asau v. Mauga. ASR (1979)

Matai may not be arbitrary in orders at eviction; good cause is required. Individual members of the family do not have undivided interest in communal fami1y lands. Kishi v. Lefeau, ASR (1979).

Trial court can not give power to orally devised interest in parcel of communal land to “assignee”, thus transforming a communal right into an undivided interest in the property. Kishi v. Liufau. ASR (1978). Acquisition of title to bush land by clearing on individual’s own initiative, cultivating by him and occupation

by him is court recognized Samoan custom. Land becomes individually owned land. Fanene v. Talio ASR (1977).

Although Samoan custom requires family consultation before a sa’o conveys communal land, the court cannot impose this as an additional condition to such a conveyance absent statutory direction from the Fono. A.S.C.A. §§ 1.0202, 37.0201 et seq. Vaimaona v. Tuitasi, 18 A.S.R.2d 88 (1991).

When a conflict arises, Samoan custom must give way to the laws of the United States and American Samoa. A.S.C.A. § 1.0202. Taeleifi v. Willis, 21 A.S.R.2d 118 (1992).