Dear First Presidency,
I refer you to just one of the many conclusions from the many years of research done on culture and identity.
“Cultural identity is an important contributor to people’s wellbeing. Identifying with a particular culture gives people feelings of belonging and security. It also provides people with access to social networks which provide support and shared values and aspirations. These can help break down barriers and build a sense of trust between people – a phenomenon sometimes referred to as social capital – although excessively strong cultural identity can also contribute to barriers between groups. An established cultural identity has also been linked with positive outcomes in areas such as health and education.
Conversely, members of minority cultures can feel excluded from society if the majority of those in authority obstruct or are intolerant of their cultural practices, as happened to the Māori language and culture through much of New Zealand’s history. Culture can also play a part in promoting social wellbeing in other ways. A strong national culture or identity, and strength in artistic endeavours, can be a source of economic strength and higher material standards of living.”
So please, do NOT come to my country asking for young people to drop their cultural and national identities in favour of a Mormon one until you are willing to dispense with:
The privileges of your Whiteness
Your US American-ness
Yours, in fierce protection of Indigenous women and mothers who raise children who live daily with the terrible effects of YOUR culture and YOUR identity.
We are not your flavours. We are the whole ice-cream.
Dr. Gina Colvin
Nga Puhi, Ngati Porou