Thursday, March 11, 2010


Perhaps he already has received a signal from the White House that President Obama is not going to stop in American Samoa on his way back to the Mainland from Australia later this month and wants to use his hard line approach to the Administration as an excuse for why he failed to secure the visit.

That is the most logical explanation fro his non-stop bashing of the Obama Administration over a variety of issues. This week it is Indians. At a hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources, which has legislative jurisdiction over Native American issues as well as territories, Faleomavaega questioned the adequacy of the Administration’s proposed $3.4 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit over long-standing federal mismanagement of Indian tribal trusts.

Faleomavaega called the settlement “a pittance” to correct a 100-year-old grievance. In response, Blackfeet tribal member Elouise Cobell from Montana defended the amount, pointing out that a federal judge last year wanted to hold the government responsible for only about $450 million. Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes told the committee he felt "this settlement is fair and appropriate,” saying “We want to close the book and look ahead."

Even if the nearly half a billion dollars is the “pittance” Faleomavaega suggests, it sure is a lot more than he has asked the committee to authorize to subsidize wages to keep the StarKist tuna cannery in American Samoa. So far, that bill has gone nowhere, despite Faleomavaega’s seniority and theoretical influence.

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