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AFC’s Community Collections Grants Recipients: Habele Outer Island Education Fund, Federated States of Micronesia

This is an excerpt from a post on the Library’s Of the People blog highlighting the 2022 AFC Community Collections Grant recipient, Habele Outer Island Education Fund and their project, “The Warp and Weft of the Remathau.” Written by AFC Senior Folklife Specialist Nancy Groce, the post is part of the Of the People blog series featuring the 2022 awardees of the AFC’s Community Collections Grants program. Check out Nancy’s full post here, and the first post in this blog series here.

Modesta Yangmog of Asor Island, Ulithi Atoll interviewing master lavalava weaver Conchita Leyangrow of Lamotrek Atoll in Talguw on Yap Island

Modesta Yangmog of Asor Island, Ulithi Atoll interviewing master lavalava weaver Conchita Leyangrow of Lamotrek Atoll in Talguw on Yap Island for the Community Collections Grants project. They are using a warp board as their interview “table.” Photo courtesy of Habele.

In spring 2022, the Habele Outer Island Education Fund in the Federated States of Micronesia was one of 10 projects chosen to receive a highly-competitive Community Collections Grant from the American Folklife Center (AFC) through the Library’s Of the People: Widening the Path initiative. Funded by the Mellon Foundation, the grant program serves to support individuals and organizations throughout the U.S. and territories to document their communities’ contemporary culture and cultural activities. The resulting documentation – in the form of recorded interviews, photographs, videos, and musical recordings, etc. – will be added to the AFC’s archives to enrich and expand the historical and cultural record.

This post highlights the important fieldwork undertaken by Habele’s lead researchers, Modesta Yangmog and Regina Raigetal, on their project “The Warp and Weft of the Remathau.” This year-long study is documenting the knowledge and artistry of women from the Outer Islands of Yap who weave the beautiful and highly-valued lavalava cloth, which remains an essential element in maintaining cultural traditions and community relationships among contemporary Remathau (People of the Sea). Ultimately, the researchers plan to record in-depth audio interviews with 20 master lavalava weavers, photograph the weaving process and, when appropriate, the community spaces and workshops where weaving takes place.

Michaela Sukulbech weaving a lavalava on Falalop Island, Ulithi Atoll. Photo courtesy of Habele.

An artisan weaving a lavalava on Falalop Island, Ulithi Atoll. Photo courtesy of Habele.

Both Modesta and Regina come from the Atoll of Ulithi, a string of the scenic outer islands of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) in the western Carolina Islands. Both are themselves respected weavers of lavalava and knowledgeable about local customs and traditions. They are also fluent speakers of Ulithian – the Micronesian language spoken on Ulithi and neighboring Fais Island – and thus able to conduct their interviews in the language of that best encapsulates the history and complexity of the weavers’ culture. (They are also creating English logs of each interview, but obtaining substantial fieldwork in this previously under-represented language will enable the AFC to expand its holdings of the roughly 500 languages currently represented in its archives.)

Recently, I had a chance to speak with Modesta and Regina about their research…

Click on over for the full Warp and Weft of the Remathau blog post here

Capturing Military Stories with the Veterans History Project and Military Voices Initiative

This post is written in collaboration with Megan Harris, Senior Reference Specialist for the Veterans History Project On Tuesday, August 9, 2022 3 pm EST, the American Folklife Center will host the panel discussion, “Sharing Military Voices Archived at the American Folklife Center,” at the Library of Congress—and you’re invited! The American Folklife Center invites […]

Conversation with Nathan Salsburg, Curator at the Lomax Association for Cultural Equity

The American Folklife Center’s partnership with the Association for Cultural Equity dates from the Library’s acquisition of the Alan Lomax collection in 2004. The partnership focuses on creating access to and awareness of Lomax Family collections. The following is a conversation between Todd Harvey and Nathan Salsburg, respective curators from the American Folklife Center (AFC) […]

Music and Dance collections at the American Folklife Center

Music and dance have such prevalence in American Folklife Center collections that, appropriately, we announce guides to these cultural expressions in the same Folklife Today post. The resource guides “Music in the United States” and “Dance” provide descriptive access to more than 1000 AFC collections. Music and dance are intangible cultural expressions that lend themselves […]

Homegrown Plus Premiere: The Chosen Few’s a Cappella Gospel from Virginia

We’re continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with The Chosen Few, a Virginia gospel group that stands firmly in the great tradition of unaccompanied religious singing by African American residents of the Tidewater region of the mid-Atlantic states. As is usual for the series, this blog post includes an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore!

AFC’s Community Collections Grants Recipients: An Interview with Urban Artistry’s Junious Brickhouse

In March, the Library announced the ten recipients of the AFC’s Community Collections Grants, officially launching this new, multiyear program. The Community Collections Grants program is part of the Library’s Of the People: Widening the Path initiative, which seeks to create new opportunities for more Americans to engage with the Library of Congress and to add their perspectives to the Library’s collections, allowing the national library to share a more inclusive American story. The 2022 recipients’ projects are now well underway. To get to know them better, we are featuring each of the recipients and their projects on the Library’s Of the People blog over the course of this first, grant program year. And kicking off this series is an interview with Junious Brickhouse, the founding director of Urban Artistry (Silver Spring, Maryland), one of the ten awardees of the Community Collections Grants program.

Ukrainian Traditions on the Folklife Today Podcast

We’re back with another episode of the Folklife Today podcast, this one on Ukrainian Traditions! The latest Russian invasion of Ukraine occurred just days before our most recent previous episode was released, and we’ve been thinking since then of our Ukrainian friends and colleagues. So we decided to do an episode of the Folklife Today podcast focusing on Ukrainian materials and traditions in the Archive. Find links to it in this blog post, along with links to related Ukrainian content, videos, and audio selections. 

Homegrown Plus Premiere: Rodopi Ensemble’s Traditional Music from Thrace

We’re continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with Rodopi Ensemble, an accomplished traditional band playing music from the Thracian mountains of Greece, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria. As is usual for the series, this blog post includes an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore!