Vanuatu Oral Histories of World War II, circa 1987-2006 (bulk 1988) (MSS 435)

Extent: 0.4 Linear feet (1 archives box)

The Vanuatu Oral Histories of World War II contains transcripts of interviews, conducted from 1987-1988, with Vanuatu men and women who experienced the war. The bulk of these transcripts are in Bislama, and describe topics such as the arrival of the US fleet, black soldiers, and the effects of war on wages.

During World War II, Allied military bases were established on the islands of Éfaté and Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu. While the Solomon Islands experienced both land and sea battles, Vanuatu was spared from much of the actual fighting. People's lives were instead caught up in wartime work - officially and unofficially - for the foreign military now inhabiting the area.

Recording the experiences of the men and women of Vanuatu who had lived through the war became the basis for a project coordinated by James Gwero and Lamont Lindstrom. From 1987-1989, fieldworkers for the project located and interviewed over 125 of these men and women. A selection of these interviews can be found in Lindstrom and Gwero's book, Big Wok: Storian blong Wol Wo Tu long Vanuatu (1998).

The collection contains interviews gathered during an oral history project dedicated to recording the experiences of Vanuatu men and women who lived through World War II. The collection is arranged in two series: 1) ORAL HISTORIES and 2) PROJECT INFORMATION.

The first series, ORAL HISTORIES, contains interview transcripts that, in most cases, list the speaker's name, interview location, date, and a list of the subjects discussed, along with the interview text. The bulk of the transcripts are in Bislama, with a few written in English, and range in date from 1987 to 1988, and describes topics ranging from daily life during the war to air raids and bombings. The series is arranged alphabetically by name.

The second series, PROJECT INFORMATION, includes a geographic index which guides researchers to interviews by location. Most, but not all, subjects included on the index are located in the ORAL HISTORIES series. Also included are two papers about the project - one a final project report; the other a paper presented by Lamont Lindstrom at a conference in Port Vila, Vanuatu, in 2006.

Container List


Box 1 Folder 1
Andre, Russell - Ayong, Charlie, 1988
Box 1 Folder 2
Bani, Ella - Bulu, John, 1988
Box 1 Folder 3
Coulon, Alfred - Hiva, Tom, 1988
Box 1 Folder 4
Ielu, Silas - Joshua, 1988
Box 1 Folder 5
Kaften, Esel - Krankiri, Nase, 1988
Box 1 Folder 6
Lautu, Dick - Luwi, Charlie, 1988
Box 1 Folder 7
Mafe - Molirani, Chief Titus, 1988
Box 1 Folder 8
Nampuat, James - Nouka, Peter, 1988
Box 1 Folder 9
Obed, Lui - Rantes, Kambong, 1988
Box 1 Folder 10
Sablam, Erakor - Supwe, Sari, 1988
Box 1 Folder 11
Tahetamata, Chief Moli - Tugan, Willie, 1988
Box 1 Folder 12
Uiuai, Jack - Vusi, Stephen, 1987 - 1988
Box 1 Folder 13
Wanam, Jonathan - Wotias, Titas, 1988


Box 1 Folder 14
Geographic index
Box 1 Folder 15
White, Geoffrey & Lamont Lindstrom - Cultural Encounters in the Pacific War: Final Performance Report, 1989
Box 1 Folder 16
Lindstrom, Lamont - Big Wok: The Vanuatu Cultural Centre's WW2 Ethnohistory Project, ca. 2006