CINTA KAIPAT on the Militarization of Pågan and Defending Island Sovereignty /129

Military wreckage on sacred lands in Pågan;  Photo by Dan Lin

Military wreckage on sacred lands in Pågan; Photo by Dan Lin

With over a quarter of Guam being solely occupied by U.S. military bases, a legacy of nuclear bomb droppings throughout the Marshall Islands, and the military’s lease of Kwajalein Atoll, much of the Pacific remains silently condemned to serve as a sacrifice zone in the name of U.S. empire. The implication of ongoing military presence in the Pacific Islands has profound consequences for all facets of life. However, rarely do we hear about the struggles faced by these communities. On this episode, we are joined by Cinta Kaipat to learn how the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth, are impacted by said militarization. In the Northern Marianas, communities are resisting a future in which aerial bombardments become the norm, where amphibious-assault trainings sever communities from key fishing grounds and decimate aquatic ecosystems, and shelling, artillery, and mortars destroy sacred land.

The military is known for arriving, taking Indigenous lands, polluting it, and then just turning their backs…
— Cinta M. Kaipat / Episode 129
Cinta Kaipat;  Photo by Lauren Benson for EarthJustice

Cinta Kaipat; Photo by Lauren Benson for EarthJustice


Cinta M. Kaipat, of Refaluwash-Chamorro descent, is an advocate for Indigenous Refaluwash (Carolinian) rights; preservation of Indigenous cultural practices and beliefs; and promotion of responsible environmental stewardship in the Marianas. Cinta is an attorney, a former Assistant Attorney General; a former Congresswoman; and a former Hearing Officer, as well as a former Deputy Secretary for the Department of Labor. She founded Beautify CNMI!, co-founded PaganWatch, and co-founded the Alternative Zero Coalition, which was newly formed in 2015 to advocate for and protect the Mariana Islands, especially Pagan and Tinian, from irreparable destruction at the hands of the U.S. military and its allies.

Should the military barge through with its plans, Tinian and Pågan could expect to be battered with almost 100,000 grenades, rockets, mortars, and artillery rounds. The fight to save Pagån is critical, should the military occupy the island it would ban the public from living on the island – “coincidentally” during a time in which Indigenous Chamorro and Refaluwash communities have been trying to return to Pågan via agricultural settlements. We share Cinta’s story in the hopes that you take time to both listen to and take action with this community that is facing down the world’s largest military.

♫ Music by Pura Fé & a traditional recording from The Mariana Islands

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About Our Podcast…

At For The Wild, we discuss the critical ideas of our time and parlay them into action for the defense and regeneration of natural communities. Key topics include the rediscovery of wild nature, ecological renewal and resistance, and healing from the trauma of individualistic society. We will travel deep into ancient forests, align with the struggles and ways of Earth-based people, and rekindle the mysteries of intuition. We will join today’s brightest visionaries in this momentous work of reimagining a world where humanity can find its way back into the web of life.

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