Home On the Range | Chicago Reader

Home On the Range

A conventionally made documentary by Adam Horowitz with a potent subject—the dispute between the native inhabitants of the Marshall Islands' Kwajalein atoll and the U.S. Army, which has been using the Kwajalein lagoon as a target for hundreds of test missiles over the past three decades. In 1936 the inhabitants signed a 50-year lease with the Army and were relocated to a small neighboring island; today that island is a crowded ghetto and more than 10,000 people have lost their traditional way of life. When the lease expired and the Army refused to renegotiate better terms, a 72-year-old chief named Handel Dribo led a popular movement to repossess the atoll, but he and other claimants were evicted by the Marshall Islands' U.S.-controlled puppet government. A distressing (if typical) story, with actors James Whitmore and Lou Diamond Phillips providing offscreen translations for what the native islanders have to say, which is plenty (1990).

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