2017: Passages between Pacific Histories

Geschichte.  Pazifik
Quelle:  The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 15 | Issue 24 | Number 1 | Dec 14, 2017
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.

A Complex of Seas:   Passages between Pacific Histories
Paul Kramer

By the late 1880s, Salt Lake City had embarked on its rocky career as the eastern hub of Oceania. The Mormons had first landed in Hawai'i in the 1850s and, having failed among Euro-Americans, turned their attention to Native Hawaiians, learning their language, converting leaders and establishing plantation settlements enabled by new laws allowing foreign land ownership. For Natives, the faith aided the preservation of communal beliefs and practices in the context of rapid, dislocating change, including those brought by Mormon newcomers themselves. In the absence of a temple in the Pacific, Native converts began migrating to Utah, settling in the Warm Springs area of North Salt Lake City. The movement enacted the Mormon concept of “gathering,” but was also continuous with historically deep Hawaiian journeys of discovery, trade and labor that spanned the Pacific, including the Western edges of the imperial United States. Inscribed in Mormon imaginaries as Lamanites—descendants of Abraham who had traveled to the Americas and, after great wars, into the “west sea” in an “exceedingly large ship”—and gathered into a racially-stratified American West, the Hawaiian arrivals were socially and economically subordinated. 

In 1889, church leaders established a separate mission community for them in desolate, sunscorched
Skull Valley, seventy-five miles southeast of the city, where they worked for an abusive, church-owned agricultural company. They called the town—228 souls at its peak—Iosepa, Hawaiian for Joseph, after Joseph F. Smith, one of the first Mormon missionaries to the Islands. Most of the converts returned to Hawai'i after 1917, with the raising of an LDS temple there, and helped spread Mormonism throughout the Islands and the wider Pacific. Meanwhile, early Hawaiian settlement in Utah paved the way for Salt Lake City’s emergence, by the early 21st century, as the American city with the highest per capita concentration of Pacific Islanders outside of Honolulu, a metropolitan area simultaneously and inseparably in the American West and the Hawaiian East. ....


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