Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has submitted a letter to the editor in response to a letter to the editor which was published by Samoa News on August 7, 2006 and which was entitled “It’s a Matter of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” A complete copy of Faleomavaega’s letter is included below.
I am writing in response to a letter to the editor published by Samoa News on August 7, 2006 signed by “a respectful citizen.” The letter is entitled “It’s a Matter of R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and makes accusations against me by stating that I am being disrespectful by making references to Mrs. Radewagen as Mrs. Amata Radewagen rather than referencing her as Aumua Amata or Amata Aumua or Aumua Amata Coleman.
With due respect, I refer to Mrs. Amata Radewagen by the name she uses officially and professionally. On her business card, her name is printed as Mrs. Amata Coleman Radewagen. Her email is listed as Amata C. Radewagen. In the 2004 Statement of Disbursements of the US House of Representatives which lists all staffers and their salaries, Mrs. Amata Radewagen is listed as Amata Coleman Radewagen.
Again, not being disrespectful and based upon the above examples, it is quite
obvious that Mrs. Radewagen has made a deliberate choice to use Radewagen
both as her official and professional name rather than to be known by her matai title Aumua. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with her using Radewagen as her professional and official name of choice.
As for myself, I prefer to be professionally and officially known by my Samoan
matai title, Faleomavaega, which I have been known by since l983. For almost 18 years now in Washington DC, my name has always been listed as Eni F.H. Faleomavaega. One should note, however, that in Samoa a person’s matai title is listed first and then the rest of the name follows. For example, many times the media and others list my name as Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, and I have no problem with that either.
But if I had followed the palagi way of listing names, my last name would then
be Hunkin rather than Faleomavaega. But out of respect for our Samoan culture, I wanted to make sure that Faleomavaega would be my last name, similar to our first Delegate at Large, Paramount Chief A.U. Fuimaono, or our late Governor High Chief A.P. Lutali. Both gentlemen used their matai titles as their last names.
Given that “a respectful citizen” has raised the issue, I believe it would be helpful to me and to many of our people to know by what name Mrs. Amata Radewagen prefers to be known. During the campaign season, she lists her name in the ballot box as Aumua Amata Coleman but in Washington DC she lists herself as Amata Coleman Radewagen, National Committeewoman for the Republican Party of American Samoa.
The Congressman concluded his letter to the editor by stating, “With all due respect, I would like to know which name she would like to be known as in Washington DC as well as in Samoa.”