IPinCH Fellow: April 2013-March 2014
MA Candidate, Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University
E noho iho i ke' õpu weuweu, mai ho'oki'eki’ —“Remain among the clumps of grasses and do not elevate yourself” (Puku'i)
Born in Wailuku, Maui, Ruth is Native Hawaiian from Kailua-Kona, Hawai’I, and currently an MA Candidate in Archaeology at Simon Fraser University. Her research seeks to identify and create opportunities to engage Native Hawaiian communities as research partners in archaeological research. She traces her genealogical lines to the Aloua line and Kemoeatu line through her father, Teufolau Faitua Aloua, from Nukualofa, and to Tonga and the Hoapili line and Ho?omanawanui line through her mother, Diane Leihua Wagner, from Lahaina, Maui.
In 2011, Ruth graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. While completing her undergraduate degree, she developed a strong interest in archaeology from her early mentors, Dr. Peter Mill, Dr. Fiona McCormack, and Dr. Kathleen Kawelu. Other mentors include her two h?nai mothers, members of the Native Hawaiian community, Lilyanne Souza and Michelle Tomas. Ruth is guided by the strength and humility of her 'ohana, early mentors, and hãnai mothers to guide her work as a Native Hawaiian archaeologist.
Ruth’s MA thesis research will explore Hawaiian cultural landscapes, as viewed through the eyes of Native Hawaiians, by focusing on concepts of time and space, which influence how Native Hawaiians and archaeologists interpret the past. She will be conducting a case study on Kaloko-Honokhau National Historical Park in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii to create a community-based stewardship plan to help Native Hawaiians share their personal histories and connections to the area. Her work seeks to entwine traditional knowledge and archaeology by collaborating with members of the Native Hawaiian community and archaeologists. In this manner, the traditional knowledge of the Hawaiian people and the knowledge of archaeology will form a single braid that strengthens human relationships, our understanding of history, and continued connections to the past.