’Cause I can tell you one thing, a lot of people are disappointed that I don’t have braids, I’m covered in tattoos and I go to metal shows. No, you cannot, but as any complex question it can be qualified and discussed. Our islands may cease to exist in the next 10, 20, 50, 100 years. It’s not oriented around any of the people that are on this call right now. This meeting has stirred the interest of various biographers and researchers, who, perhaps, anticipate a connection between Heyerdahl’s white race of culture bearers and his connection to a Nazi raciologist. However, this one-time visit is the only contact between the two on record. He has for the past few years critically examined the origin and subsequent development of Thor Heyerdahl’s theory on the settlement of Polynesia, and is currently finishing his Ph.D. on the subject at the Australian National University. Culture; Gear; Ideas; Science; Security; Joe Flahert y. CT: Even the name is annoying for me because as much as we want to switch it to “tropical,” we can’t actually start the conversations and [reach] the people that we want unless we refer to it as “tiki.” Our main focus is to lead by example, to work with different bartenders from different cultures and kind of be like, “You can create an experience that takes you somewhere else without stealing from somebody else’s culture and community.”. In this book, Heyerdahl claims that the easternmost islands of Polynesia were first settled by a white race of megalith builders, or ‘culture bearers’, whom he traced to America, and potentially through Meso-America, back to Africa. 3. Read White Gods, White Researchers, White Lies here! This theory is supposedly inspired by Hans F. K. Günther. Something that felt good, something that encouraged actual representation and input from the people whose cultures are being taken from. Leading the charge in reexamining the genre’s place in modern cocktail culture are Chockie Tom, co-founder of Doom Tiki, a non-appropriative pop-up series, and Mariah Kunkel and Samuel Jimenez, founders of Pasifika Project, an organization by and for people of Oceanic descent working in the hospitality industry. In fact, many sociologists argue that race is a social construct , no more inherent in our world than the difference between rap and jazz. CT: Right now, we’ve got this changing thing… There’s the old school and then there are the newer people. I care more about that than whether tiki exists or not… At the end of the day, I try not to get too down on it and just continue to focus on the process of educating people about … why these things are problematic. The Tiki culture began in 1934 with Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt's opening of Don the Beachcomber. Cultural racism exists when there is a widespread acceptance of stereotypes concerning different ethnic or population groups. SJ: I’m a big believer in the idea that for any culture to survive, it has to adapt and it has to evolve… so I tend to believe in the good in people in that sense, and in the good in people nowadays to move forward with new knowledge and to try and do better. It’s not a thing. In an ensuing debate, Eirik Stokke and Reidar Solsvik, wrote a lengthy review of the book which was made public by the Kon-Tiki Museum. Tiki culture is a motif of exotically decorated bars and restaurants catering to an escapist longing for travel to tropical regions of the South Pacific.Featuring mock tiki carvings and complex, alluringly named alcoholic drinks, it eventually influenced residential recreation. I don’t necessarily think that there is a checklist of things that you should or should not have in your bar, but I think it’s really about considering some of these greater, more complex themes that run through these establishments, and the history of colonization and imperialism in the Pacific. But in the current climate, in which racial inequities and personal accountability are put under a microscope, tiki’s history of appropriation and cultural insensitivity are receiving overdue attention. MK: You have the whole culture as costume situation, which impacts many people, indigenous people especially. Woman charged with murder of Tiki Laverdiere chooses trial by jury; ... Minister Bardish Chagger had previously announced the federal government would be investing $15 million for 85 anti-racism initiatives across the country. Reaching an audience of more than 16 million, we are the nation's largest luxury media company offering leading brands access to the most affluent audiences in the most prominent cities across the U.S. Günther’s wife was a friend of Liv’s mother and the young couple wanted an insider’s help to sell their collection of zoological specimens and ethnological and archaeological artefacts. However, as Holton himself points out, allegations of an inherent racism in Heyerdahl’s theories can be traced back to the 1950s. Was Thor Heyerdahl’s search for a vanished people of megalith builders, with light skin and red hair a racist theory? White Gods, White Researchers, White Lies, The terminology and models-of-explanation, used by Heyerdahl in, Thor Heyerdahl, who was a self-educated man in the fields of ethnology and archaeology, was already prior to publication of, The “value hierarchy between superior (white) and inferior (brown and black) people” leading critics to “emphasise racism as a key factor in Heyerdahl’s work” (Melander 2019:2) is not complete story. Since its inception in July 2019, Doom Tiki has acted as a counterpoint to the prevailing tiki aesthetic, and has become a guiding light for the category’s future along the way. Through my father I am CHamoru, the Indigenous people of the Mariana Archipelago in the West Pacific. Culturally speaking, white supremacy is the idea that white people are better and more deserving of wealth, power, and privilege than people of color. Mariah Kunkel: It is really nice to be able to talk to both of you at one time, because I have a lot of experience working with each of you, but not necessarily together. But in the current climate, in which racial inequities and personal accountability are put under a microscope, tiki’s history of appropriation and cultural insensitivity are receiving overdue attention. Originally used in ancient Polynesian and Hawaiian culture, Tiki masks are hand-carved, wooden decorative masks intended to represent deities and bestow specific traits upon the setting in which they're placed. MK: At one time I was like, “Oh yeah, you know, just, like, get rid of the mugs.” But the deeper that I get into this, the more thoughtful I am about it, the more people that I talk to, the more I have to concentrate on it, I really do feel like there needs to be a thoughtful examination of this. This review contains new information on a key event in Heyerdahl’s life, and comments many of the general accusations leveled against his research. Our cultures, our languages, our islands may be lost to climate change. And then, with Austin Hartman, I founded Doom Tiki, which is a fundraising non-appropriative pop-up that likes to bring attention to a lot of problematic issues while benefiting different cultures and communities that are still dealing with the aftereffects of colonization. MK: To me it comes back to understanding how tiki sort of adds to the representation of colonized people, of indigenous women and how that continues to communicate how we value these cultures, these people—women especially—and I would really like to move past that. It has always used the prevailing local culture to grab as many people as it can. This is to the point. Racism, on the other hand, is not evolutionary at all. The perceived co-opting of their group’s attire by individuals who shared neither their values nor views enraged them and, frankly, hurt. Cultural racism can be defined as societal beliefs and customs that promote the assumption that the products of a given culture, including the language and traditions of that culture are superior to those of other cultures. Except for suspicion of plagiarism, which made headlines in some Norwegian news media, this is the reviewers’ main problem with the book. MK: What do we think the current status quo is in terms of tiki? Let’s open a tiki bar and not think twice about anything that we put in it.”, “If it is appreciation that you have for our people, for our islands, for our cultures, for this aesthetic, for our words-then help us. But they actually perpetuate racism by simply becoming "a receptacle for potential and actual abuse," instead of examining their racially-biased behavior. Same Racism, Different Generation As much as I detest early Tiki culture, at least Trader Vic’s had the decency to change their problematic ways. But even within those communities … there still needs to be a lot of conversations about cultural appreciation and working with each other instead of profiting off of the pain of another group of people. ... Ward-Schur said Elders have long maintained culture is key to positive self-esteem. If racism is defined as a personal conviction that some races are better than others, then there is absolutely no racism in Thor Heyerdahl’s writings. White liberals, who unconsciously seek self-punishment for historical oppression, appear racially sensitive. Why has this argument not framed the discussion of Thor Heyerdahl’s work and theories until now? In recent years, critical readings of Thor Heyerdahl’s works claim his theories themselves uses terminology and models of explanation that is racist. It’s what causes an awful lot of misunderstandings trying to apply a different set of standards to a different, a different nation really. MK: I think a lot of times with indigenous tribes in the United States and also in the Pacific, people assume that these cultures are extinct, that they’re gone, that these people are not here, they’re not being impacted by really important issues. For critics of tiki, it was an ironic turn of events, offering an opportunity to engage in discussion about the ways in which one group’s appropriation of another group’s aesthetic might similarly incense individuals from the aesthetic’s originating, parent culture. It’s totally unfair to look at it from a hundred-and-fifty odd years later and pass judgement on what those people did without knowing what their values were and what the laws were even. Here is my go at a useful spectrum.By Brian E. Frydenborg (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter @bfry1981) June 13, 2020Protesters unhappy in June, 2020, with the remov Like tiki bars of the 50's and such--Trader Vics, et al. Despite its retro reputation, Tiki culture is alive and well at the Tiki-Ti. In 1936-37, Thor Heyerdahl and his first wife, Liv, spent a year on the island of Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas. Often the kind of racism that we face in our circles is more causal, more at the level of microaggressions. The space now breathes the essence of tiki culture as extravagant drinks are set on fire and music pulsates through its art-covered walls and … Thor Heyerdahl dancing on a local festival in Tucumé, Peru (Photo: Walter Leonardi). Auditors, they have an important task to get done — to make sure our organization accounting is up to par and in accordance with federal and state mandates. Because at the end of the day people are trying to create these wonderful bar experiences, [yet] I noticed a sort of creeping dread when I would have to go into these types of [tiki] bars for the brands that I’ve worked with in the past. In a new series of conversations that we’re publishing on PUNCH, we’re asking leading voices in drinks to have a discussion about the topics that are most important to them. But again, I think that there needs to be a lot of transparency in the history of rum and colonization and the fact that every single bar in America is on stolen land and maybe cement that has my ancestors’ bones in it. Here, Tom, Kunkel and Jimenez talk about the problems with challenging tiki’s status quo and what the future of the genre looks like. CT: I don’t think there’s a future for tiki in its current form, change is necessary. Both of my parents immigrated here: my dad from Guadalajara, Mexico, my mom from Tula, American Samoa or Tula, Tutuila. But I’ll be a 100 percent honest—for the Pacific Islands, for Oceania, for Pasifika, the problems that we face in this world are greater than tiki. It can’t be a thing. I just want to help to uncover and amplify real stories, real people and help people understand why some of these things are harmful in terms of, you know, generational trauma and replicating colonization through tiki, and through hospitality environments that are not necessarily very hospitable. I always come back to the Enchanted Tiki Room [at Disneyland]. Something that felt good, something that encouraged actual representation and input from the people whose cultures are being taken from. Each mask represents a different purpose. The Kon-Tiki had six men on its crew including Thor Heyerdahl 6. Although people aren’t, generally, shouting “blood and soil” while lighting tiki torches at most Pagan gatherings, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the space is inclusive. And I don’t necessarily mean slash and burn because honestly, this segment of the hospitality industry provides a lot of jobs for people that are of Pacific descent… It’s a very tricky, nuanced situation, but in my heart of hearts, I would love for something entirely new to be constructed. White supremacy is not just about Nazis marching with tiki torches. Andersson also critically examines Thor Heyerdahl’s theory on the settlement of Polynesia, including what he believes to be problematic aspects of it. This book is an in-depth study of how Heyerdahl’s most famous expedition became one of the founding myths of the post-war world. CT: There needs to be cultural exchange, not appropriation. I think there needs to be more of a conscience about how that drink got into your glass. However, for every pharagraph you find that could be interpreted as racist, you will also find a paragraph demonstrating that Thor Heyerdahl did not view ‘black’ or ‘primitive’ as inferior in any way. The famous writer Shelby Foot, author of perhaps the most popular book on the American Civil War, once said the following about the writing of history: And that’s the way I think history should be written. We already know it’s racist for white Oregonians to make burritos, and now it’s racist for them to open tiki bars. MK: I think there’s a distinction that should be drawn between cocktail bars—sort of industry darlings—and bars that are more consumer-facing, where I don’t see as much change as I might see within the [cocktail] industry. We may not have homes to return to. This collection was supposed to tie them over financially until Heyerdahl’s travelogue, which he was about to write, would be published. I think this is also part of a big conversation in the whole entire industry that needs to happen around the stereotypes and racism that we find even within agave spirits and Mexican drinking holidays… We need to create a greater awareness so as things trend in and out, people will be inclined to be less terrible about it. Everybody loves tiki bars. And glorifying that worldview, how does that play out in hospitality? So, if you don’t have any sort of truths or real human beings to counteract that … it’s easy to play on stereotypes. SJ: The drinks genre itself is rooted in colonialism and imperialism. This means first of all that the figure of the Tiki, in carved and in … Its founders, veteran New York bartenders Austin Hartman and Chockie Tom, were motivated by the genre’s persistent issues of cultural appropriation and overt racism. It seems to always resurface when times are hard, when people need, you know, some sort of escape into a beautiful place and to be transported to tropical islands. 8. The Kon-Tiki was constructed out of balsa logs 4. My family is from the island of Guåhan, or Guam. Every year a group of fresh faces moves into the park board offices for several weeks. Is the mid-century pop culture tiki theme considered offensive to native Hawaiian people in any way? Tiki culture ostensibly began when Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt opened the first Don the Beachcomber bar in Hollywood in 1933, decorated with the souvenirs of his own voyages around the South Pacific. No, you cannot, but as any complex question it can be qualified and discussed. Link to White Gods, White Researchers, White Lies, by Eirik Stokke and Reidar Solsvik (2019). Since this paper corrects some basic facts relating to Thor Heyerdahl’s connection with Hans F. K. Günther, and details some of the evidence found in Heyerdahl’s writings, pointing to him not holding a racist view of cultural development and prehistoric migrations, we make this paper available in a translated and slightly rewritten version: White Gods, White Researchers, White Lies, by Eirik Stokke and Reidar Solsvik (2019). If you define racism as an impersonal structure, evidenced by which words are used or whether or not a model of explanation is used, that may have originated one or two generations prior, without any qualifications – well, in that case you may find traces of racism in his writings. To me, there’s no way around it. The main sail was 15 ft by 18 ft on a yard of bamboo stems lashed together 5. The book is riddled with the writer’s personal assumptions and is affected by inadequate research. Is that just something that I’m supposed to deal with? If we want to change things, I think creating experiential bar[s] is different and that’s worth changing. SJ: As messed up as it may be, I think there is a little bit of validity to the fact that Polynesian pop and tiki allowed for people to open themselves up to Pasifika cultures… The majority didn’t do it and don’t care about it, but there have been the few that have gone on to do the work to further understand why these things are problematic. These theories are highly debatable propositions and understanding what is going on with Tiki culture is a perfect example of their flaws as a framework. It’s really about filtering down some of this activism and some of these conversations to see how we can impact a larger audience. On their way home to Norway, the couple visited the German race ideologist Hans F. K. Günther in Berlin. If you want to do something you can be respectful about it, but you need to talk to people—and not like this monolith of a cultural idea that you’ve built up in your head. 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