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Genealogical Violence: Mormon (Mis)Appropriation of Māori Cultural Memory through Falsification of Whakapapa

Simon, Hemopereki (2024) Genealogical Violence: Mormon (Mis)Appropriation of Māori Cultural Memory through Falsification of Whakapapa. Genealogy, 8 (1). pp. 1-23. ISSN 2313-5778. (doi:10.3390/genealogy8010012) (KAR id:104773)


The study examines how members of the historically white possessive and supremacist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United States (mis)appropriated Māori genealogy, known as whakapapa. The Mormon use of whakapapa to promote Mormon cultural memory and narratives perpetuates settler/invader colonialism and white supremacy, as this paper shows. The research discusses Church racism against Native Americans and Pacific Peoples. This paper uses Anthropologist Thomas Murphy’s scholarship to demonstrate how problematic the Book of Mormon’s religio-colonial identity of Lamanites is for these groups. Application of Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s white possessive doctrine and Hemopereki Simon’s adaptation to cover Church-Indigenous relations and the salvation contract is discussed. We explore collective and cultural memory, and discuss key Māori concepts like Mana, Taonga, Tapu, and Whakapapa. A brief review of LDS scholar Louis C. Midgley’s views on Church culture, including Herewini Jone’s whakapapa wānanga, is followed by a discussion of Māori cultural considerations and issues. The paper concludes that the alteration perpetuates settler/invader colonialism and Pacific peoples’ racialization and white supremacy. Genetic science and human migration studies contradict Mormon identity narratives and suggest the BOM is spiritual rather than historical. Finally, the paper suggests promoting intercultural engagement on Mormon (mis)appropriation of taonga Māori.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3390/genealogy8010012
Projects: Working to End Racial Oppression (WERO)
Uncontrolled keywords: whakapapa; Mormonism; white possessive; settler/invader colonialism; cultural (mis)appropriation; LDS Church; Critical Indigenous Studies; Lamanites; genealogy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
E History America
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GR Folklore
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions and public administrations (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
K Law > K Law (General)
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Hemopereki Simon
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2024 07:17 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2024 15:34 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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