Janice Cantieri

Rising Sea Threatens Traditional Leadership in Kiribati

Surviving on an isolated, infertile island is tough—but managing the scarce resources needed for thousands of families to survive on that island is an even greater challenge. The people of Kiribati have done so for centuries through the village ...

Living on a Tropical Island—and an Asbestos Wasteland

BANABA ISLAND, Kiribati—Asbestos dust covers the floors of Banaba’s crumbling colonial houses, buildings, and schools. It’s in the field where people plant cassava. Broken pieces of asbestos sheeting litter the ground, and children use them to make ...

Notes from the Field: Reporting on ‘Island Time’

After three dizzying days at sea, I was relieved to step off the boat in Tarawa, Kiribati. I’d just spent six weeks on the remote Pacific island of Banaba–a place so isolated that currently there is no phone, ...

A History of Displacement, Remembered in Dance

Author’s Disclosure: While interviewing the former leader of the Banaban Dancing Group, Maraki Kokoria, he explained that he had tried to organize a special reunion performance of the group for an event commemorating the Banaban displacement on Fiji’s ...

Capturing I-Kiribati Resilience ‘Before It’s Too Late’

For most of Lulu DeBoer’s life, the Kiribati islands existed only in dreams and in the stories she heard from her mother. DeBoer, 24, was raised in Texas, almost 6,000 miles away from the tiny Pacific island nation where her mother ...

Shoreline Creeps Closer To Kiribati’s Sacred Sites

“If, one day, the waves take away these sacred places and they’re gone, we will keep on telling the stories,” explained Takirua Tiare, a traditional storyteller on Kiribati’s Marakei Island. “But I can’t stop that—I don’...

Coconuts and Co-Ops: Preserving Culture in a Kiribati Village

“This helps us. It doesn’t meet all of our expenses, but still, it helps,” smiles Tiitika Iita, as we sip water mixed with his homemade kamwaimai, a sweet coconut syrup. “We have a son in preschool, and this helps ...

Rising Tides Can’t Stop the Dancing in Kiribati

When I walked into Tarawa Island’s only air-conditioned coffee shop I was expecting to escape the 90° F heat, enjoy an iced coffee, and—if the Internet signal was strong enough—send an email. Instead I found myself face-to-face with ...