Noelani Arista

Associate Professor; Director, Indigenous Studies Program
Noelani Arista
Department of History and Classical Studies
Faculty of Arts
Contact Information
Email address: 
noelani.arista [at]

Noelani M. Arista is an Indigenous historian of Hawaiʻi and the U.S. She is ‘Ōiwi (Hawaiian) born in Honolulu, Oʻahu. She is the Director of the Indigenous Studies Program and an Associate Professor in the History and Classical Studies Department. Her research focuses on the organization of Hawaiian traditional knowledge, intellectual, legal and religious history and the ethical rules and norms governing relationships to ʻike (knowledge).

Arista seeks (ʻimi) to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to apply traditional modes of organizing Hawaiian knowledge in Hawaiian language textual and oral sources to increase community access to ʻike Hawaiʻi, the methods of which will provide useful and scalable models for scholars working in their own indigenous language source base.

Arista is the author of the The Kingdom and the Republic: Sovereign Hawaiʻi and the Early United States (2019), which was awarded the Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAISA) Best First Book Award. The book details Native Hawaiians’ experience of encounter and colonialism in the early nineteenth century. Drawing upon previously unused Hawaiian language documents, this history addresses native political formation, the creation of published indigenous law, and supplies Hawaiian accounts of encounters with missionaries and traders, The Kingdom and the Republic reconfigures familiar colonial histories of trade, proselytization, and negotiations over law and governance in Hawai'i.


Ph.D. Brandeis University

Faculty of Arts: Indigenous Studies Program
Areas of interest: 

19th Century U.S. History; Pre-Contact – 19th century Hawaiian legal and intellectual history, governance; AI and Indigenous knowledge organization systems, epistemology and methodology; Indigenous language archives and translation; Indigenous AI & ethics; Colonial and Indigenous history and historiography

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