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Hoea Te Waka ki Uta: Critical Kaupapa Māori Research & Mormon Studies Moving Forward

In this post I am highlighting Māori scholar Hemopereki Simon. He recently had his work published in the New Sociology Journal of Critical Praxis. This was published on June 13, 2022 in Volume 3 – Reverting the Gaze: Resisting Humanism & Hegemony in the West. What he is contributing to Indigenous studies within religion, and in this case Mormonism, is an important and much needed point of view. He has more research and articles in the works so please follow his work.

His article will be linked at the bottom of this page. With his permission I share the following quotes:

“The following is a reflective commentary on the place of Critical Indigenous Studies, with a focus on Kaupapa Māori Research, within Mormon Studies. Specifically, the piece explores the following questions: What does Kaupapa Māori Research look like when engaging in Mormon Studies? What positionality needs to be taken by Kaupapa Māori researchers and Critical Indigenous scholars when engaging in Mormon Studies? What are the main areas Critical Indigenous scholars and Kaupapa Māori scholars should engage when tackling issues around Mormonism? These questions are important in light of the growing importance of the cultural renaissance in Te Ao Māori and the rise of Kaupapa Māori Research.”

“In recent years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) has faced increasing challenges around their exclusionary and inequitable practices… As a result, an increasing awareness of problems in the church, both historical and contemporary, have been made obvious and subsequent calls to acknowledge diversity…”

“However, when your beliefs -religious theology, doctrine, or practice -seeks to alter or comment on my culture without good engagement with my people, including those who are non-Mormon, I have a right and a responsibility to ngā uri whakatupu: to reply and to question you, your teachings, and your practices. My right and need to do so is only further amplified by the fact that I am a critical Kaupapa Māori scholar.”

“Unlike Orthodox Mormonism and Mormon Studies, Te AoMāori considers it ethical or tika to engage in debate and to question, so that the collective may find an acceptable way forward that has depth and is true or correct to the collective.”

“Based on the lack of engagement in Mormon Studies with Critical Indigenous Studies, and, in particular, Critical Kaupapa Māori Research, we as a collective of Indigenous scholars must focus our attention on what I believe are the key or most pressing matters when it comes to Mormonism and Indigeneity…” (Keep in mind that in the article Simon goes on to list 12 key matters that should be addressed within and from a “Critical Indigenous Studies viewpoint”.)

“My hope is that by undertaking such works from a Critical Indigenous Studies viewpoint, the Church and its members with Indigenous ties will start to engage in much overdue dialogue about the place of Indigeneity within and outside of the Church… I hope we can arrive at new understandings and a place of empowerment and enhanced spirituality for Indigenous peoples.”

CLICK HERE for a link directly to Hemopereki Simon’s Article.

CLICK HERE for a link to New Sociology Journal of Critical Praxis.


  1. Sarah, I am delighted to see you featuring Hemopereki Simon’s new scholarship. He is offering a fresh and extremely valuable perspective on Mormon Studies and its entanglement with Indigenous Studies. The Critical Indigenous Studies and Kaupapa Māori perspectives he advocates offer great promise for enriching and strengthening dialogue, tearing down unidirectional bridges of misunderstanding, and replacing them with multidirectional bridges that all might cross safely and productively. I very much enjoyed this article and love what I’ve seen of his future work too.

    Liked by 1 person

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