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From The University of Minnesota Press
A Chosen People, a Promised Land
Mormonism and Race in Hawai’i
By Hokulani K. Aikau
264 pages / 18 b&w photos / 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
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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

"A Chosen People, A Promised Land is a fascinating book. Attending to fraught and revealing episodes in Hawaiian-Mormon history, Hokulani K. Aikau opens up new terrain for historical analysis in a manner that is theoretically engaged yet accessible."
— Greg Johnson, author of Sacred Claims: Repatriation and Living Tradition

"More than finding an eager audience, this pathbreaking book will add convincingly to the growing body of work inside and outside the continental United States and the Pacific Islands region that compels critical audiences in the studies of American culture and Native Pacific struggles of the absolute need to read work coming out of the other."
— Vicente M. Diaz, author of Repositioning the Missionary

"Rich and important. As Fabricant tells the political history of this social movement, she provides insight into all that is Bolivia--Evo Morales, indigenous politics, regional divides--and then links that story to the politics, economics, and culture of everyday life. A work of huge relevance for the whole region."
— Steve Striffler, University of New Orleans
of their cultural and ethnic identities. A Chosen People, a Promised Land gets 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 Land examines Polynesian Mormon articulations of faith and identity within a larger political context of self-determination.



About Hokulani K. Aikau

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



First Peoples books are part of a special publishing initiative among four scholarly presses, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. Books with the logo exemplify contemporary scholarship and research in Indigenous studies. The initiative supports this scholarship with unprecedented attention to the growing dialogue among scholars, communities, and publishers.