Marshall Islands

J. Froelich / KUAF


In part two of our report, we learn more about the CDC team's investigation into why a disproportionate number of Marshallese migrants in Arkansas have been sickened or died from COVID-19. Marshallese physician, Dr. Sheldon Riklon, who helped guide the study, and Republic of the Marshall Islands Secretary of Health and Human Services Jack Neidenthal provide cultural context and reaction to the findings. For the full report from the CDC, click here.


J. Froelich / KUAF

The Marshallese Educational Initiative, in cooperation with the Republic of the Marshall Islands Consulate in Springdale, are joining forces today to deliver critically needed food and supplies to Marshallese families under quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a new report issued by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, which recently deployed an investigation in Northwest Arkansas, Pacific Islanders are disproportionately affected by the virus. 


J. Froelich / KUAF

A pair of matching bipartisan bills were introduced in Congress this year to reinstate Medicaid eligibility to citizens of Freely Associated States residing in the U.S. under treaties called Compacts of Free Association. Included are persons from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Marshallese physician, Dr. Sheldon Riklon, discusses the rationale for the entitlement.

Courtesy / ACOM

Experts believe Arkansas is home to the largest Marshallese migrant population in the world, yet census estimates widely vary. To obtain an accurate count, Melisa Laelan, chief executive officer of Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese, in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau and with state grant funding, is preparing for the 2020 census by coordinating community outreach and Marshallese census enumerator training.


The Marshallese Supreme Court has recently reversed a law that barred absentee voting in future elections. But an emergency motion, filed after the high court's decision, requests the upcoming national election on Nov. 18 be delayed to accomodate Marshallese migrants living in the U.S. to vote on election day.

Courtesy / Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

An attorney with the license to practice in Arkansas, Arizona and Utah has been arrested on federal charges in connection to a scheme that involved coercing dozens of Marshallese women to come to the U.S. to give their babies up for adoption, which is illegal under the Compact of Free Association between the U.S. and the Marshall Islands.

Courtesy / U.S. Department of Energy

New independent research conducted by a Columbia University team of scientists reveals persistent radiation levels in the northern Marshall Islands where the U.S. conducted a series of Cold War nuclear weapons tests in the mid-20th century.

COURTESY / Daniel Caruth

Tuberculosis, an ancient bacterial infectious disease imported by New World colonists to what is now known as the Republic of the Marshall Islands, continues to plague Marshallese in the RMI as well as in places like Arkansas where islanders are legally allowed to migrate. Global medical teams are conducting mandatory mass screenings to cure those who are sick and to check the spread, says Arkansas Marshallese public health expert, Sandy Hainline Williams, who periodically travels to the RMI to assist.

courtesy: The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel is producing a series of online climate impact reports from all 50 states titled the “United States of Climate Change.” So far, 33 states have submitted stories, including Arkansas. We learn how award-winning documentary producer Dale Carpenter collaborated with noted cartoonist Nate Powell on “Awaiting a Wave,” which profiles the beginnings of a Marshallese climate refugee crisis.

After voting to eliminate postal ballots late last year, Republic of the Marshall Islands Parliament is considering reinstating mail-in election ballots for offshore Marshallese voters, most of whom live in northwest Arkansas.