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Cultural Intervention in America’s Eden

Cultural Intervention in America’s Eden

(p.12) Chapter 1 Cultural Intervention in America’s Eden
American Aloha
Heather A. Diamond
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter traces the history of cultural intervention in traditional arts in Hawaiʻi. It first looks at the 1989 Festival of American Folklife, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, and how it fit into ongoing negotiations over ethnographic authority. It then considers how, at the end of the monarchy, traditional arts were politicized and collected as a way of establishing a record of indigenous civilization in relation to nineteenth-century ideals held by European powers. It also examines the role of religious institutions and national and local government in shaping ethnic identity by sponsoring ethnographic studies and cultural revivals. Finally, it discusses collaborations between the Hawaiʻi State Foundation for Culture and the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts to establish programs for cultural preservation based on assessments of traditional culture as both valuable and endangered. The chapter shows how tourism and tradition are bound together in the marketing of Hawaiʻi.

Keywords:   cultural intervention, traditional arts, Hawaiʻi, Festival of American Folklife, Smithsonian Institution, ethnographic studies, cultural revival, cultural preservation, tourism, tradition

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