Dr. Noelani Arista (Kanaka Maoli) is an Associate Professor of History and Classics and incoming Chair of the Indigenous Studies program at McGill University. Arista studies Pre- Hawaiian Kingdom and Nineteenth Century Hawaiian and U.S. history, Hawaiian governance and law, historiography, missionization, and colonialism. Her work integrates customary knowledge, cultural and intellectual history to illuminate topics such as indigenous (data) sovereignty, indigenous legality, and the movement of indigenous language archives into digital mediums extending kānaka maoli traditional methods of organizing knowledge into the 21st century.
Her book The Kingdom and the Republic: Sovereign Hawaiʻi and the Early United States, investigates Hawaiʻi’s transition from kapu (sacred oral pronouncement), to written and published law in the early nineteenth-century. Arista’s book was the winner of the 2020 Best First Book Prize in Native American and Indigenous Studies from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.
Currently, Arista is advocating for the continuance of Hawaiian culture and knowledge systems through ethically engineered open-source digital mediums. She co-authored the award- winning essay Making Kin with the Machines on indigenous AI, published by MIT Press in 2020, and was a co-organizer of the Indigenous AI workshops held in Hawaiʻi in 2019.