By Tauva Esera

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, Dec. 5) - Traditional leaders along with families, friends of the Mailo family in Fagatogo will witness this morning the bestowal of the Ceremonial maiden title of Tofoitaufa to Sandra Salevasaosamoa King.

The Mailo family Chief, Mailo Atonio explained that the bestowal of the title to the Salevasaosamoa came as a result of many family meetings and gatherings in the past few years to decide who would be the best candidate to bestow the title upon.

The title itself has a meaning according to Mailo Atonio who explained that "Tofo" which means to taste, and "taufa" means water was the name of a ceremonial maiden (taupou) who served the Tuimanu'a in making sure that the water was safe before drinking.

The bestowal of a chieftain title is one of Samoa's distinguished traditional ritual ceremonies that brings together families from countries overseas with the presentation of monetary gifts as well some of the finest mats (measina/ietoga) which usually indicate the financial status of the family the event belongs to.

A mass is scheduled at 9a.m. at the Fagatogo Catholic church before the ritual of blessing the candidate to be followed by the usual traditional presentations to acknowledge the families and friends who have offered their assistance in any way for the family's cultural event.

Sandra Salevasa King is currently the Executive Director of the Pacific Islander Center for Educational Development (PICED).

She served as a legal counsel for the Speaker of the House of Representatives before moving on to concentrate on the development of the center.

She worked for Senator Inouye for many years and also worked for the U.S. Senate Rules Committee.

Sandra was once a Deputy Director for the Department of Interior and was a campaign committee member for President Al Gore.

Sandra's late parents, Rowena and Jake King, were former publishers for the Samoa News and the Samoa Journal which is now the Samoa Post.

She is the second to the youngest of four siblings including her youngest brother Gary King in Los Angeles, her sister Rowena Johnson and Malotia Bobby King in Amouli.

December 10, 2003

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