St. Martiners Tell Stories from Their Lives in New Oral History Book

Stories of St Martin collects twelve stories told by St. Martiners in their own voices.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new book, Stories of St. Martin. In this book, twelve St. Martiners tell stories from their lives in their own words. Each story captures a unique part of life on St. Martin, and each story captures a unique voice. They are stories of work, hardship, accomplishment and inspiration.

“Reading this book is like sitting down with a neighbor while they tell you a story,” said co-editor Jenn Yerkes. “It’s a great way for St. Martiners of all ages to share the living history of this place, from major events to daily life back in the day. The stories really come alive because each one is told in a unique voice.”

These stories were recorded on St. Martin between 2016 and 2021. Topics include salt and salt harvesting, storms and renewal, work and service, and local traditions. Each one is part of an oral history tradition on St. Martin that stretches back hundreds of years, and continues today. This important process has preserved knowledge, customs, and culture, including the local language, by passing them down from generation to generation.

“We are excited to publish this book in French as well as English,” added co-editor Mark Yokoyama. “People living here who don’t speak the island’s mother tongue don’t have many opportunities to learn about the lives of St. Martiners. We hope this book promotes deeper understanding and connection.”

Twelve St. Martiners are featured in Stories of St. Martin. (Photos Les Fruits de Mer, Ryan Tackling)

Free copies of Stories of St. Martin will be given away at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday, January 29th from 9am to noon thanks to sponsor Delta Petroleum. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from and for purchase worldwide at Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected]. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published twelve books about St. Martin nature and heritage. All are available in both English and French. The association is currently working to develop new books on local topics for all different ages. Their long-term goal is to give a free book about St. Martin to every student on the island, every year they are in school.

Stories of St. Martin was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, and Delta Petroleum.

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