Noelani M. Arista

Noelani AristaAssociate Professor
Hawaiʻi, 19th Century America, Pacific World

Office: Sakamaki B206
Phone: (808) 956-6767

BA, MA University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 1996, 1998; PhD Brandeis, 2009

He kupa au no Honolulu, he kākau moʻolelo ʻōiwi a he Hawaiʻiʻimiloa.



Noelani Arista was born in Honolulu and educated at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and Brandeis University. She received training in Hawaiian oli, orature and literature from Kumu Manuhaʻokalani Gay, Pōmaikaʻi Gaui, John Keola Lake, Rubellite Kawena Johnson and John Charlot. Her Kumu ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi include: Hauʻoli Victorino, Malia Melemaʻi, Puakea Nogelmeier, Kalani Makekau-Whittaker, Hauʻoli Akaka, Kalani Akana, Lalepa Koga and Kaleikoa Kaʻeo. Arista has received further training in Hawaiian language, history and literature by working on projects and performances to benefit the community, with Kumu Sam Ohukaniohiʻa Gon, Kathryn Māhealani Wong, Edith McKinzie, Jeffrey Kapali Lyon and Kale Langlas.

Noelani Arista is a Historian of Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Her research interests include Hawaiian governance and law, Hawaiian intellectual history, Historiography of Hawaiʻi, Colonialism and missionization, Native language archives and translation. Her work as a historian seeks to engage the “archives” of Hawaiian language source materials, (the largest indigenous language archive in the U.S.) making primary materials available in Hawaiian and English–in order to write better history. To this end she is working to develop digital humanities projects focused on the kanikau (Hawaiian laments), Hawaiian governance, and a public project that focuses on understanding “aloha” through mele which began as popular facebook group called 365 days of aloha.

Noelani Arista’s dissertation, “Histories of Unequal Measure: Euro-American Encounters With Hawaiian Governance and Law, 1796-1827,” won the Society of American Historians Allan Nevins Prize, for the best dissertation written on an American Subject. Her work on Hawaiian-U.S. History has been supported by generous fellowships from Dartmouth College, The University of Pennsylvania (UPENN), The McNeil Center for Early American Studies, The Woodrow-Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, and the Kohala Center. Arista has served as a member of the Hawaiian Historical Society (2011-2013) and is trustee on the board of the Weetumuw Wôpanâak Charter School working to open the first Wôpanâak immersion school.

Social Media & Wikipedia

Twitter logo@Noeolali


Facebook logo

365 Days of Aloha


Wikipedia logo

Noelani Arista’s Wikipedia page



NAISA Best 2019 First Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies Prize


Design Talk Hawaiʻi: Matt Gilbertson with Noelani Arista


Book Signing at Hawaiʻi Book and Music Fest 2019
Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence working group meeting, 2019

Hawaiian Research Links

Hawaiian Newpapers and other sources
Hawaiian Dictionary
Hawaiian Historical Society Library
Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society Library and Archives



The Kingdom and the Republic: Sovereign Hawaiʻi and the Early United States. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018.

Articles & Essays

  • “Davida Malo, A Hawaiian Life.” Introduction to The Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi of Davida Malo, vol. 2, University of Hawaiʻi Press (2020).
  • “Indigenizing AI: The Overlooked Importance of Orality in Print.” Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence, 2020.
  • “Ka Waihona Palapala Maneleo: Research in a Time of Plenty. Colonialism and the Hawaiian-Language Archives.” Indigenous Textual Cultures. Duke University Press (2020).
  • “The Reverend Canon Malcolm Nāea Chun: Hawaiian Historian, Anglican Minister, Healer.” Ka Wai Ola 36, no. 5 (2019).
  • “Captive Women in Paradise, 1796-1826: The Kapu on Prostitution in Hawaiian Historical Legal Context.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 35, no. 4 (2011).
  • “I ka moʻolelo nō ke ola: In History There is Life.” Anglistica – Special Issue on Maintaining Hawaiian Sovereignty 14, no. 2 (2010).
  • “Navigating Uncharted Oceans of Meaning: Kaona as Historical and Interpretive Method.” PMLA 125, no. 3 (May 2010).
  • “Listening to Leoiki: Engaging Sources in Hawaiian History.” Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 32, no. 1 (Winter 2009).
  • Foreword to Kepelino’s Traditions of Hawaiʻi, edited by Martha Beckwith. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 2007.

The Kingdom and the Republic

Moolelo Hawaii

Indigenous Textual Cultures