At what cost? What would remain of our already small islands? Do Northern Marianas descents know about and understand what will happen to their sacred cultural homeland if the U.S. military is allowed to conduct live fire and bombing trainings in their lands? Will NMDs allow the U.S. military to permanently destroy their sacred cultural homeland and surrounding marine environments and displace their social and cultural livelihoods like Bikini and Enewetok in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Vieques Island in Puerto Rico, Kahoolawe in Hawaii, and others?
These are but a few questions that NMDs and fellow residents are extremely concerned about as they consider their future survival against uncertainties and lack of specifics by the U.S. federal government and its military. The more than 1,000 pages draft environmental impact statements spread over almost 10 chapters were prepared by paid consultants and commissioned by the U.S. military, all of whom are “outsiders” who have neither physical nor cultural connection to the NMDs’ sacred homelands that will be permanently destroyed.
– Due to the complexity and highly technical language contained in the EIS, NMDC requests for more adequate time, preferably two years, for the CNMI government and its leaders, private sector, community organizations, and individuals to review and understand the scope and permanent destruction to their cultural homeland, ocean and marine environment, and their future survival.
– The Northern Marianas Descent Corp. demands that the federal government and its military be strictly and unconditionally held accountable for their actions associated with decades of militarization to date by requesting that an independent environmental impacts study be conducted to determine the effects on marine ecosystems and surrounding lands—major sources of subsistence livelihoods for NMDs—from the years of military aerial target bombings on Farallon de Mendinilla.
– This on top of the deleterious and permanent chemical contamination of the entire Marianas from the military assault and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) abandoned and stored throughout since World War II.
– Therefore, in view of the compelling and clear present dangers and unlimited risk exposures to the lives, health, and safety of the people of the Marianas from further U.S. military bombings and in order to preserve their sacred cultural homeland and sanctity of the lives of NMDs and residents now and the future generation without any undue disturbances and permanent destructions, the Northern Marianas Descent Corp. unequivocally opposes any U.S. military bombing trainings in the entire Mariana Islands.
NMDC strongly invites and urges residents of the CNMI to attend the scheduled public meetings next week during CHamoru Standard Time (ChST):
– Wednesday, April 29, 2015, from 5pm to 8pm, Saipan Southern High School cafeteria
– Thursday, April 30, 2015, from 5pm to 8pm, Tinian Junior Senior High School cafeteria
– Friday, May 1, 2015, from 5pm to 8pm, Garapan Elementary School
NMDC equally urges residents to submit and register their comments at the hearings and/or online by visiting http://www.cnmijointmilitarytrainingeis.com/. Incidentally, the U.S. military canceled earlier proposals to use sacred lands in Pagat, Guam, due largely to the overwhelming opposition of tens of thousands of comments that were submitted by Guam residents earlier in 2012, which is considered an unprecedented, historic feat and a hopeful demonstration of undisputed solidarity.
NMDC is a legally chartered, duly licensed non-profit community based organization whose members are local persons of Northern Marianas descent, incorporated to conduct its community affairs on Saipan, Tinian, Luta, and later in the Northern Islands. They also plan on conducting other cultural, family fun, and fundraising activities annually all aimed at generating community advocacy and defraying the costs associated with hosting such events. If you are interested to join, to contribute, or to learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.