Bikinian Senator Henchi Balos died at 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning (Majuro time), September 10, 2000, following an automobile accident that occurred the night before. He was 54 years old. He is survived by a wife and many children and grandchildren. A national day of mourning was declared by the Marshall Islands government for the period of September 11-17, 2000.

[pictured at left at the United Nations, 1987]

Senator Balos was revered by the people of Bikini having logged many thousands of miles on their behalf over his many years of leadership. He first worked for Amata Kabua, later President Kabua, when the Marshall Islands Political Status Commission was formed in 1976, and he appeared at the United Nations with Amata in July 1976, the 200th anniversary of America's independence, when the MIPCS pushed for political talks with the United States. He was elected to the first Nitijela in 1979, when the constitutional government of the Marshall Islands was formed, and he served as the first - and only - Senator representing the Bikini people until his death. At a meeting at the White House in 1981 with Vice President George Bush, he told the Vice President that the people of Bikini were not satisfied with the Section 177 Agreement. This meeting was instrumental in leading to the re-opening of the talks and additional cleanup funding for Bikini Atoll.

During his 21 years as a member of the Nitijela, the governing body of the Marshall Islands, he served under late President Amata Kabua as Minister to the President, Minister of Health, Minister of Resources and Development and Minister of Finance. He often served as Acting President when the late President Amata Kabua was away from the Marshall Islands. He was key to most of the Bikinian negotiations with the United States in Washington, DC, and was welcomed by many U.S. Congressmen over the years to their offices. In 1998 he was named by the Bikini Local Government Council as their Ambassador at Large. He was a very soft spoken and eloquent speaker–in both in English and Marshallese–and will be remembered for his creative ideas and thoughts during meetings with U.S. government officials, Marshall Islands leaders and Bikinian elders.

Senator Balos pictured with Mayor Tomaki Juda at the opening of Bikini Atoll's local government office building in January of 2000.
Senator Balos pictured [from R to L] with RMI President Kessai Note, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, and Mayor Tomaki Juda in February of 2000 in the U.S. Senate Chamber.
 Senator Balos pictured with the President of India, 1990.

All Photos © Jack Niedenthal

View Pictures of the Government Memorial Service for Senator Balos

The Burial of a Hero, The Hon. Senator Henchi Balos

What Senator Henchi Balos meant to the People of Bikini.


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kindle The historical information within this site, while constantly updated, is drawn largely from the book, FOR THE GOOD OF MANKIND: A History of the People of Bikini and their Islands, Second Edition, published in September of 2001 by Jack Niedenthal. This book tells the story of the people of Bikini from their point of view via interviews, and the author's more than two decades of firsthand experiences with elder Bikinians.

Copies can be purchased from this direct ordering link at Amazon.com, or you can also buy and download the Kindle edition.