1.0401 Registration required—Closing of register.

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(a) Every matai in American Samoa must prior to 1 January 1969, register his title and designated name with the Territorial Registrar.

(b) The matai title register shall be closed as of 1 January 1969, and any matai title not registered by that date may not be registered.

(c) The matai title register must be kept as a part of the records of the Territorial Registrar.

History: 1961 PL 7-38; 1968, PL 10-61.

Case Notes:

Matai title not registered before 1 November 1932 should not be considered for registration since law required that all matai titles be registered. RCAS 6.0103, Mailo v. Fuimaono. 4 ASR 757 (1967).

Judgment that disputed tract was “communal land” of a family that was not a traditional Samoan family with a matai left open the question how family was to exercise rights of ownership under land statutes presuming the existence of a senior mata, since family was prohibited by statute from creating a new matai title. A.S.C.A. §§ 1.0401, 37.1502-03. Willis v. Willis, 4 ASR 2d 144 (1987).

Court deciding matai title disputes is not required to consider the views of the village, county or district councils except to the extent that they are evidence of facts that are relevant to issues properly before the court. A.S.C.A. § 1.0401 et seq. In re Matai Title Sotoa, 8 ASR 2d 10 (1988).

Village, county, and district councils have no power to veto a court decision, rendered after trial in accordance with statutory procedure, that a particular person is entitled to hold a matai title. A.S.C.A. § 1.0401 et seq. In re Matai Title Sotoa, 8 A.S.R.2d 10 (1988).

Territorial statute prohibits anyone from using a matai title before title has been registered in accordance

with provisions of statute. A.S.C.A. §§ 1.0401 et seq., 1.0414. I’aulualo v. Siofaga, 10 A.S.R.2d 26 (1989).

Where family had agreed that two persons would jointly hold matai title, and one of the two co-holders registered the title in accordance with statutory provisions, territorial statute required that the other co-holder be enjoined from using the title. A.S.C.A. §§ 1.0401 et seq., 1.0414. I’aulualo v. Siofaga, 10 A.S.R.2d 26 (1989).

A family’s establishing a “new” matai title for itself was not illegal until 1969, when the matai title registry was closed. A.S.C.A. § 1.0401(b). In re Matai title Mulitauaopele, 17 A.S.R.2d 75 (1990).

A matai title bestowed contrary to statute cannot be registered or otherwise recognized; and use of an unregistered matai title is a criminal act. A.S.C.A. §§ 1.0401-1.0414. Toilolo v. Poti, 23 A.S.R.2d 130 (1993).