American Samoa Senate
American Samoa Senate
|American Samoa Fono|
|Founded||October 26, 1948|
President of the Senate
Length of term
The American Samoa Senate is the upper house of the American Samoa Fono. The Senate, like the lower House of Representatives, is a nonpartisan body. It is composed of 18 senators, serving a four-year term.
American Samoa became a United States territory in 1900 and was initially administered by the Navy. From 1905, annual meetings were held with delegates sent from the local communities, as an advisory council to the naval governor.
In 1948, a bicameral legislature was established, still in advisory capacity. The upper house, named the House of Ali‘i, was composed of 12 members, being the seven high chiefs of Tutuila and the five high chiefs of Manu‘a. This legislature was reformed in 1952, after administration of American Samoa had been transferred to the Department of the Interior. Members of the House of Ali‘i became advisors to the governor, while a new upper house, named the Senate, was established. There were 15 senators, five from each of the three districts of American Samoa (Western, Eastern and Manu‘a). Senators were elected in open meetings, according to Samoan custom, and had to be holders of a matai title.
In 1960, the first constitution of American Samoa was adopted. The Senate became composed of 15 members: one from each of the then 14 counties, elected for four-year terms, and an additional senator rotating from the then four counties of the Western District, elected for two-year terms. In 1967, the revised constitution modified the Senate to 18 members, all elected for four-year terms: two from the combined counties of Ta‘ū island; one from the combined counties of Ofu-Olosega; three from Ma‘oputasi county; two each from Sua, Itu‘au and Tualauta counties; and one from each of the six remaining counties. Under both constitutions, senators are elected according to Samoan custom by the county councils and must be holders of a matai title.
List of senators
As of 2020, the members of the American Samoa Senate are:
The American Samoa Senate is the only legislature of its kind in the entire United States, both state and territorial, that is not directly elected by the voting population. Instead, the Senate's voting franchise is strictly limited to the various chiefs of the islands.
Past composition of the Senate
- History of the Fono, AmSamoa.net.
- The Statesman's Year-Book: Statistical and Historical Annual of the States of the World for the Year 1953, S. H. Steinberg.
- Elite Communication in Samoa: A Study of Leadership, Felix M. Keesing and Marie M. Keesing, 1956.
- The Statesman's Year-Book: Statistical and Historical Annual of the States of the World for the Year 1954, S. H. Steinberg.
- Constitution of American Samoa, 1960.
- Revised Constitution of American Samoa, American Samoa Bar Association.
- "Legislative Branch of American Samoa - Fono". Retrieved June 4, 2020.
- 2.0202 Districts, American Samoa Bar Association.
- "american samoa". american samoa. Retrieved 2017-02-07.