Chosen People, a Promised Land : Mormonism and Race in Hawai'i

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-01-27
  • Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Pr

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Christianity figured prominently in the imperial and colonial exploitation and dispossession of indigenous peoples worldwide, yet many indigenous people embrace Christian faith as part of their cultural and ethnic identities. A Chosen People, a Promised Landgets to the heart of this contradiction by exploring how Native Hawaiian members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (more commonly known as Mormons) understand and negotiate their place in this quintessentially American religion. Mormon missionaries arrived in Hawai'i in 1850, a mere twenty years after Joseph Smith founded the church. Hokulani K. Aikau traces how Native Hawaiians became integrated into the religious doctrine of the church as a "chosen people"-even at a time when exclusionary racial policies regarding black members of the church were being codified. Aikau shows how Hawaiians and other Polynesian saints came to be considered chosen and how they were able to use their venerated status toward their own spiritual, cultural, and pragmatic ends. Using the words of Native Hawaiian Latter-Day Saints to illuminate the intersections of race, colonization, and religion, A Chosen People, a Promised Landexamines Polynesian Mormon articulations of faith and identity within a larger political context of self-determination.

Author Biography

Hokulani K. Aikau is associate professor of indigenous and Native Hawaiian politics at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. She is coeditor of Feminist Waves, Feminist Generations: Life Stories from the Academy (Minnesota, 2007).

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introduction Negotiating Faithfulnessp. 1
Mormonism, Race, and Lineage: The Making of a Chosen Peoplep. 31
La'ie, a Promised Land, and Pu'uhonua: Spatial Struggles for Land and Identityp. 55
Called to Serve: Labor Missionary Work and Modernityp. 91
In the Service of the Lord: Religion, Race, and the Polynesian Cultural Centerp. 123
Voyages of Faith: Contemporary Kanaka Maoli Struggles for Sustainable Self-Determinationp. 157
Conclusion Holomua, Moving Forwardp. 185
Acknowledgmentsp. 189
Notesp. 193
Glossaryp. 211
Bibliographyp. 215
Indexp. 223
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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