Bank and Samoans as indigenous people

Dear Editor,

Can anyone explain to me how the State of Samoa signs up to the U.N. Declaration of Indigenous Rights guaranteeing those rights to its own people, then as a member of the Asian Development Bank, it votes against Samoans being Indigenous because A.D.B. Policy is that, if you are the majority in your own land the Indigenous Safeguards don’t apply to you?

Seems to me very cunning to have foreigners on boards of foreigners overseas voting to take away our ancestral rights. This is not only an act of war but also the ultimate treason by Samoa’s politicians.

What do you think? Maybe when our race is dying off they will give us handouts from the sale of our own lands to regain our pride so maybe we can buy some whiskey and blankets.

A.D.B. Indigenous Peoples Policy:

“The Management contends that the Indigenous People’s Policy has no application to the S.A.B.S. projects. The Management agrees that “Indigenous Samoans are ethnically and culturally homogenous group that speak the same language and have a close attachment to the land.”

However, the Management states that Samoans are “not deemed vulnerable being the mainstream and dominant culture, economic, social and political group in Samoa.

As such, the Management contends that affected Samoans do not qualify as needing protection under the indigenous people’s safeguards...They state that “The Samoan people self-identify as an Indigenous Peoples, and are regarded as such by the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and by the World Bank,which has recently triggered its Indigenous Peoples Policy (containing an identical definition of‘Indigenous Peoples’ to the S.P.S.), in relation to a project in Samoa called the Agriculture and Fisheries Cyclone Response Project.

While Samoans have been recognized as indigenous people by the International Labor Organization (I.L.O.) and U.N. agencies for various purposes and under various international instruments, they do not appear to satisfy one fundamental criterion under the A.D.B.’s Indigenous Peoples Policy.

Samoans are the dominant culture and social and political group in that country. When that is the case, the Indigenous Peoples safeguards under A.D.B. policy do not apply.

A.D.B. is bound by policies adopted by its Board and while it may well be that Samoans are recognized as indigenous people by the I.L.O. and other U.N. agencies, A.D.B. is governed by its policies adopted by its Board.

Under the current A.D.B. Indigenous Peoples Policy, Samoans are the dominant culture and political and social group in that country, and as such they do not qualify for the safeguards provisions under A.D.B.’s Indigenous Peoples Policy.

Accordingly, the C.R.P. finds that the A.D.B.’s Indigenous Peoples Policy does not apply to the complainants and other customary landowners in Samoa in this case. Soifua. 


Maua Faleauto

[email protected]

Related Stories

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?