An Intensive Ethnographic Survey on Traditional Routes in Kosraean Culture

Granting Agency: Department of Interior, U.S. National Park Service
Project PI:
Ashley Meredith, Kosrae State Cultural Anthropologist
Project dates: July 2017-January 2018
Approved by NPS: June 29, 2017

Historically, Kosrae was not only a refuge for travelers and major trading post (Wheeler 2015), but also a place from which Kosraeans emigrated (Sarfert 1919, 1920). Additionally, the archaeological reports of Wheeler (2015), Beardsley (2013, 2012), Cordy (1985), and Sarfert (1919) indicate travel occurred between the four main municipalities for collecting food, carrying food, maintaining relationships, and paying homage to the tokosra, Kosraean king, as well as the breadfruit goddess, Sinlaka, who made a route to Yap. Prior to Sarfert’s participation in the German South Seas Expedition from 1908-1910, Kosraeans voyaged as far as the outermost islands of Yap State closest to Chuuk, where, in his time, Kosraeans reported Kosraean descendents to still be living there in 1908.

On contemporary Kosrae, recent FSM population statistics report approximately 50 percent of  Kosraeans maintain a subsistence way of life. Additionally, a recent Kosrae State Government health initiative relieves government employees 30 minutes early each day to continue to maintain a subsistence way of life, requiring knowledge of traditional routes for hunting and gathering natural resources for subsisting; however, little ethnography captures this knowledge on traditional routes. Upon completion of this project, including NPS approval, the document can be found here.

***New!*** An Ethnographic Training
Welcome to Kosrae Historic’s ethnographic training course, from August 28-September 1, 2017. This course is unique and will be offered at this time. If you are interested, please call 370-3078.

The Historic unit of KIRMA and U.S. National Park Service partnered to offer a training in ethnography to help communities learn about historic preservation! We are proud to offer ethnography training and explain the importance of oral histories! Ethnography refers to the scientific description of the customs of people and cultures. It will be conducted by Kosrae’s Cultural Anthropologist, Ashley Meredith. If you are interested to attend, please call 370-3078. For the training, this is the schedule:
Monday, August 28: 10a-2p, Introduction to ethnography, ethnographic research, methods, and data collection; select oral history topic
Tuesday, August 29: 10a-2p, discuss and research oral history topic selected
Wednesday, August 30: 10-11a and 1-2p, Plan an oral history project; From 11-12 there will be a talk on “The Economics of Heritage Preservaton.” Everyone is encouraged to attend.
Thursday, August 31: 12-2p, oral history collection with elders
Friday, September 1: 10a-2p, oral history collection with elders
For any questions, feel free to call 370-3078 or message on Facebook. Kulo ma lulap!

Beardsley, Felicia
2013 Archaeological Survey and Mapping of Selected Sites within Menke, Utwe Municipality, Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. Phase I. Office of History and Culture, Kosrae, Micronesia.

2012 Archaeological Exploration of Menke, Utwe Municipality, Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. Phase I. Office of History and Culture, Kosrae, Micronesia.

Cordy, Ross
1985 Archaeological Data Recovery in Central Utwa, Kosrae Circumferential Road. Kosrae Office of History and Culture, Kosrae.

Sarfert, Ernst
1919 Kosrae. Vol. 1, Ethnography: General Information and Material Culture. Results of the South Seas Expedition 1908-1910. L. Friederichsen, de Gruyter & Co., Hamburg [translated by Carmen Petrosian-Husa, 2008].

1920 Kosrae. Vol. 2, Non-Material Culture. Results of the South Seas Expedition 1908-1910. L. Friederichsen, de Gruyter & Co., Hamburg [translated by Carmen Petrosian-Husa, 2008].

Wheeler, Thomas
2015 The Brig Waverly Historic Context and Reconnaissance Survey Lelu Harbor, Kosrae, FSM.

The activity that is the making of this website has been financed entirely with Federal funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of the Interior, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Department of the Interior.

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