Awarded the Adele Mellen Prize for their Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship in their co-authored piece “Narratives and Images of Pacific Island Women,” four Brigham Young University faculty members have proven their insightful-ness. Rose Ram, the Outreach Librarian, Debbie Hippolite Wright, the VP for Student Development, Marie Christensen, and Kathleen Ward, an emeritus professor, worked together in order to create this wonderful collaboration of spirit and profound insight into the daily lives of Pacific Island women.
A second and third part will be added to the compilation, interviewing subjects from the Pacific Islands who are now LDS members, and then Pacific Island women who life in tiny Diasporas, away from home. For all three of the puzzle pieces, student researchers, storytellers, and the four authors worked together in collaboration. In addition to all of the cooks in the proverbial kitchen, the interview subjects are also involved as editors of their own manuscript. In this way, the authors state, it is easier to keep a true voice.
The idea spun-off from a classroom project that Hippolite Wright hosted in her Multicultural Women’s Studies class. After students gathered information about their own matrilineal families, they were inspired to look outside, into the world. They aim to make the project intellectual and spiritual, so that it may transport the reader to other lifestyles and lives. One of the women interviewed in Papa New Guinea, in the Pacific Islands region, stated, “We’re all here to help each other along the path of life.” The authors agree, that by telling these rich stories of far distant cultures, a kinship is spun that will unite women from Diasporas and big cities, large churches and tribal spiritual circles.
With their stories and intellectually driven prose, this collaboration is creating a patchwork quilt of Pacific Islands culture and life. The Pacific Islands have benefited from this history capsule of sorts, too, as they now have accurate logs of their lives to pass to their children.