LEESBURG, FL — Americans who count the seconds until payday know what it means to be “stone broke.”
However, the expression takes on literal meaning on the island of Yap, where huge doughnut shaped stones are still in use as traditional currency in the realm.
Beacon College anthropologist Dr. Stefan Michael Krause will explore the unique indigenous cultures of the people in Yap State in the western Pacific Ocean (one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia [FSM]). His talk, “Traditional Navigation and Canoe Building in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia,” is slated for April 7 at the Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Yap is legendary for its money, called rai or fei, carved discs of stone up to 12 feet in diameter (though some are as small as 1.4 inches in diameter), whose value is based on size, quality, and importantly, the stories of hardship and suffering that are attached to their provenance. Equally amazing, however, is the traditional knowledge and technologies of long-distance canoe voyaging that the island cultures depended on for survival and for hundreds of years made it possible for the Yapese to ferry back to Yap the stone discs they carved from quarries 400 miles away in Palau.
Krause, an assistant professor of anthropology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Fla., the first higher-education institution accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students with learning disabilities, ADHD and other learning differences, previously served as a staff cultural anthropologist for the Federated States of Micronesia.
Working with UNESCO and the FSM Historic Preservation Offices, he designed and launched the Federated States of Micronesia’s first intangible cultural heritage program in Yap State. He has also worked in the Republic of Palau and American Samoa, and researched and published on surf tourism in Costa Rica.
His April discussion will explore Yapese culture and their traditional practices of traversing the Pacific in hand-carved single-hulled outrigger voyaging canoes using only the stars, waves, currents and sea-life as guides. As an applied anthropologist working with cultural heritage preservation, Dr. Krause will examine the significance of safeguarding Yapese navigation and canoe-carving practices that are in danger of dying out.
The museum will host the presentation from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. in the Root Family Auditorium, 352 S. Nova Road, Daytona Beach FL 32114. You must be a MOAS member to attend the free event. For more information, call 386-255-0285 or visit http://www.moas.org