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Marshallese community members sell items representing their culture at Fayetteville craft fair

It's Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and members of the Marshallese community held a craft fair selling handmade items in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Members of the Marshallese community gathered at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville for a craft fair Thursday, May 12. 

Over 6,000 miles away from the Marshall Islands, more than 30% of the Marshallese live in Northwest Arkansas, mainly Springdale.

For Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the community planned events throughout the month to celebrate their culture.

Albious Latior, the organizer of the craft fair, says many of the items were sent from the Islands.

“They ship it to family members and the family members can sell it to those who need it,” Latior said.

Some of the items showcased play a bigger role in the Marshallese Culture. Items like coconut oil and noni soap are sourced from the islands and play traditional fold medicinal roles. 

Marshallese retiree Anella Boaz says mothers would use coconut oil on their children when they were sick.

“We, the Marshallese mother of a family it's so important for the craft [fair],” Boaz said. “Because these are made out of our own woman knowledge as a mother."

Organizers say that events like the craft fair help preserve the Marshallese culture, even for those living thousands of miles from the island.

On Friday, the community will gather again at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church for Taste of Marshallese Homemade Donuts. 

You can find other Marshallese events at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church by clicking here

The community is also planning a May Day celebration from May 26 to May 31, you can find those details here.

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