CNMI mayor says US military ignoring indigenous history

7:04 pm on 10 April 2015

The mayor of the northern islands in the Northern Marianas says the United States military hasn't taken indigenous and cultural factors into account in its plans to set up a live firing range on Pagan island.

The military plans to lease the uninhabited island in its entirety so the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marines, can practice live fire training as part of plans to expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

But the mayor of the Northern Islands, which includes Pagan, Jerome Aldan says the island has a history dating back to the 1300s.

Pagan Island

Pagan Island Photo: Supplied

He says the original inhabitants were evacuated due to volcanic eruptions in 1981 and are hoping to resettle soon.

"Well the military likes to use that word 'uninhabited', but that's a false statement. Our history goes back as far as the 1300s and the military keeps coming out and stating in every press conference or document that the island is uninhabited, but that's not really true. We're from here and we know what's going on in our islands."

Jerome Aldan says the military hasn't given consideration to using anywhere other than Pagan.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs