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American Samoa

The matai are family patriarchs. The title brings a family prestige, and the matai must uphold that prestige within the village and beyond. A matai is responsible for maintaining family unity and harmony, as well as promoting participation in religious or church-related activities. They also serve as family spokesman in the village council of chiefs, or fono, thereby providing the family a voice in all village matters and public affairs. Photo courtesy of the US National Park Service.