Latter-Day Saints in the Pacific
Fun fact: the very popular Polynesian Cultural Center, which boasts six “villages” highlighting “traditional” dress, dance, music, arts and crafts, and other practices of indigenous Pacific Islander culture, is owned and operated by the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. Now, the LDS church was born and bred in the eastern United States, before ultimately setting up basecamp in Utah. Like many places in the US and the world, they sent missionaries to the Pacific Islands, but other than that, they don’t have any particular claim over Polynesian culture. So it might strike one as curious that this is what’s up. Join Averill and Katie as they talk about the particular efficacy of the Mormon spread, it’s growth in the Pacific Islands, and the fine line between educational tourism and exploitative mass culture.
Show Notes and Further Reading
Raibmon, Paige S., Authentic Indians: episodes of encounter from the late-nineteenth-century Northwest coast, Duke University Press, Durham, 2005.
Sonne, Conway B. Saints on the seas: a maritime history of Mormon migration, 1830-1890, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 1983.
“All of Polynesia, Your Way” Polynesian Cultural Center, accessed 10 Aug 2016
“History” Polynesian Cultural Center, accessed 10 Aug 2016
“Part Time Job Openings,” Polynesian Cultural Center, accessed 10 Aug 2016
Feature Image: Front of Polynesian Cultural Center, Wikimedia Commons