Stirring Waves American Samoa and the Fight for Equal Rights
  • 14th Amendment: concerned with US citizenship: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.“
  • Aiga: Samoan for family, kin
  • Amicus brief/amici: a legal brief filed in appeals cased to aid the court by providing extra relevant information or arguments
  • Fa‘a Samoa: Samoan way of living (prefix fa’a is Samoan for „in the way of“)
  • Fono: means meeting or council

„The American Sāmoa Fono under the Revised American Sāmoa Constitution is composed of traditional matai [chief]

The prerequisite to be an eligible Senator in the Fono is to be mātai, and the Senator must fulfill traditional duties and responsibilities to their registered constituency.“ (Memea Kruse, 10)

  • Insular Cases: US Supreme Court since 1901: “addressed the legal status, specifically the application of provisions of the U.S. Constitution to newly acquired possessions in a period of expansion at the turn of the twentieth century” (after the Spanish-American War), today various scholars view it as a justification of imperialism and colonialism
  • Jus soli: „the right of the soil“; birthright citizenship

-origin England: subjects of the king are people who were loyal to and born where the king ruled à US adapted this concept and replaces “subject” with “citizen”

  • Jus sanguinis: (right of blood) birth right citizenship is based upon nationality of a child’s parents; location of birth is irrelevant
  • Matai: Samoan for chief

„The senior (highest) […] title holders of a district [who] had authority over all district lands [of a family]“ (Memea Kruse, 8)

  • Naturalization: legal process for a non-citizen to aquire citizenship
  • Nu’u: (Samoan for village)
  • Organic Act: is an act of the US Congress that establishes a territory within the US body-politic or what can be labeled as being within the “domestic sphere.” (76) Anerican Samoa was never destined to become a state.“ (Memea Kruse, 76)
  • has a legislature (Fono) and an elected governor, the operation of the civil government is not the result of an Organic Act

“US nationals may obtain US citizenship via naturalization; if they have lived in any outlying US territory for a minimum of five years immediately preceding their application, they can become citizens by moving to continental America and establishing domicile there for at least three months” (Memea Kruse, 80).

Additionally the process includes “filing of an application, interview, finger printing, test of English proficiency, [as well as a] test of knowledge of U.S. history and government” (Memea Kruse, 81).

There is one exception to this rule. Any US national or alien who was on reserve or on active-duty status in the Armed Forces during hostility periods […]  World War I, World War II, Korean and Vietnam hostilities—and who was engaged in armed conflict with foreign forces, may receive immediate citizenship under the special wartime provision” (Memea Kruse, 80).

  • Nu’u: (Samoan for village)
  • Social Darwinism: is an ideological worldview, which applies Darwin’s biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology, economics, and politics.

Darwin’s evolutionary thinking was often misused by non-biologists such as Herbert Spencer. “Spencer […] [argues that] individuals were free to compete for survival and only the fittest survived, as the natural order of things. Government intervention to protect the weak, aid the needy, or the like amounted to interfering with the laws of nature and was doomed to fail” (McCarthy, 2009).

  • 14th Amendment
  • Citizenship rights for people born in the states, regardless of race or ethnicity
  • Equal protection under the law for all U.S. citizens
  • How citizens are represented in government through the House of Representatives
  • Punishment for citizens charged with insurrection or rebellion against the United States of America
  • Exempts federal and state governments from paying the debts of former Confederate states.