Happy 75th Anniversary Fono!


Tributes were paid to the founders of the American Samoa Legislature, surviving past Senate Presidents, House speakers and lawmakers, at the commemoration of the 75th birthday of the Fono at the Lee Auditorium today.

Leaders and officials from the Executive Branch and Judiciary, along with Congresswoman Uifaatali, joined the Senate president and Speaker and all lawmakers, sporting their 75th anniversary commemorative navy blue uniforms, to mark this significant milestone in the Fono’s history.

Former Senate President Gaoteote Palaie Tofau, was present, as well as former House Speakers Matagi Ray McMoore and Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga Nua.

Former Senate President and Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga was acknowledged but did not attend. Many former senators and House representatives were also in attendance.

Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga extended congratulations to the Fono leaders and members past and present for their contributions to building up the lawmaking body of the government. He urged they continue to serve with hope, faith and love for the benefit of the territory.

The keynote speaker, former Congressman and former Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau, Fofo Sunia, said the 75th anniversary was one of the most significant events that he’s fortunate to witness in his senior years. He expressed appreciation for the honor given him to deliver remarks at this special occasion.

Delivering the Fono’s address, Senate President Tuaolo Manaia Fruean gave special recognitions to former leaders and members of the Fono.

He said it took about 50 years to organize the Fono and it was officially established in 1948.

There were two chambers, the House of Alii, selected traditionally, and the other chamber had 54 members, one for each village. In 1968, the Fono transformed into how we know it today with 18 senators and 20 House Representatives plus the delegate from Swains.

Tuaolo referred to Samoa’s first female Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa, and said he wished that one day women will take the leadership reigns of the Fono. He issued a challenge to the women of American Samoa to make this a reality.

Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister, Tuaolo Iosefo Ponifasio, who attended the celebration with the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Auapaau Mulipola, presented a fine mat as a gift to the Fono from the leaders and government of Samoa.

Anniversary memorabilia and envelopes were presented to the VIP guests and all were treated to a luncheon.