The Institute for Ethnography and Kreyol Oral Histories (EKO) was established in 2020 to echo and amplify the voices of Haitians from all walks of life. In pursuit of this mission, we have gathered an exhaustive collection of ethnographies on Haitian society. We also have created a repository for transcripts of focus groups and other interviews conducted by researchers to provide direct public access to the stories of ordinary Haitians – farmers, merchants, fishermen, aid workers, and others. For the next phase of our project, we are recording a series of oral histories.
The need for this platform is clear. Journalists, historians, anthropologists, aid workers, and others have written volumes about every aspect of Haitian society. But even the most brilliant ethnographies often fail to reach a general audience. Many of the thoughtful accounts provided by the people interviewed for journalistic and academic reports have never reached the outside world, making it into final reports as truncated quotes, if at all. EKO exists to provide these Haitian voices with a forum where they can be heard.
EKO invites anthropologists to make their research available on the site. We launched with dozens of theses and dissertations already uploaded, and we are still receiving more. EKO’s searchable collection of focus group transcripts already covers coffee, cacao, and mango farming; fishing; school feeding programs; and animal husbandry. We also have focus groups where participants provided oral histories of their experiences in camps for people who lost their homes in the 2010 earthquake. We are translating more interviews on other topics and will post them soon.