A black and white photo of weavers at a loom

Micronesia, or the Federated States of Micronesia, is a nation of many small, scattered and diverse islands in the Western Pacific. Historically, these islands have been known as the Caroline Islands and the New Philippines.

Compact of Free Association, or COFA, and related treaties are a series of agreements between Micronesia and the United States. They extend US development assistance to Micronesia and provide for close collaboration and coordination between the two governments. Micronesians citizens are allowed free entry into the United States. The United States provides for Micronesian national defense, may build bases within the Islands, and can deny access to foreign militaries

Yap is grouping of islands in the west of Micronesia. Yap State is one of four states that comprise the Federated States of Micronesia, and consists of Yap Proper, as well as a long string of smaller low-lying islands and atolls which extend to the east towards Chuuk Lagoon.

Outer Islands, or the Neighboring Islands, are the islands of present-day Yap State outside of Yap Proper. The Outer Islanders, or Remathau, are culturally and linguistically distinct from the Yapese, but the two cultures have long standing and complex ties. Most notable is the Sawei system of exchange.

Lavalava are the distinctive woven skirts made and worn by women in the Outer Islands of Yap in Micronesia. Lavalava are a defining symbol of the outer islands, and heavily influence many women’s experience of their culture. Weaving Connections is an effort to sustain weaving practices among Remathau in the mainland United States.

Discover more about this unique woven skirt.