In many areas of the Pacific, the rapid acceleration of economic invasions by global corporations, seeking added access to ever-more scarce resources, is creating profound crises for indigenous and local governments and peoples. A new aggressive pace of entry is being stimulated by big-power (United States, China, Russia, Indonesia, et al.) eagerness to find undeveloped resources to feed their own economic supply chains. The role of bi-lateral free trade agreements is also extremely important in opening resource supplies. These will shortly be amplified by such mega-schemes as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement now nearing completion, among a dozen or more Pacific Rim powers, led by the United States. Such agreements are rapidly opening access to the mining of dozens of minerals—from rare earths to lithium and copper—as well as coal and oil development, forest depletion, palm oil plantations, and ocean sea-life depletion, as well as tourism development. Most of these are on the lands of traditional indigenous peoples with little ability to fight- off these entries.
Another major factor in the assault upon island peoples, has been continued big-power military intrusion. This has of course been on-going for well more than a century, dominated variously by the Spanish, Japanese, and, since the mid 20th century, the U.S. military activities over enormous swaths of the Pacific. These famously include the atomic bombing of Eniwetok and Bikin Atolls and the forced removals of their populations, still not returned home. Since World War II, however, these activities have accelerated quietly even in regions misleadingly designated as “environmentally protected,” but which are used for big-power training exercises—devastating to deep sea life—as well as for construction of hundreds of military bases intended to assert dominance throughout the region. Many of these have assaulted specifically indigenous lands with devastating effect. This is especially the case in W. Papua New Guinea, Borneo, many areas of Indonesia, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Jeju Island (S. Korea), Siberia and Mongolia, the Marshall Islands, the Caroline Islands, the Hawaiian Islands, and in Japan (Okinawa, Yonaguni Island) et. al.
In the face of these accelerating dual corporate and military onslaughts, the indigenous and small-island peoples from these regions have begun to formally organize and construct collaborative regional pressure groups insisting on their rights to control their own lands and waters, and how they are used and developed. Moana Nui #1 in 2011, and Moana Nui #2 in 2013, were both examples of steps in that direction, and resistance is rapidly growing.