Call for Papers

2021 Society for Hawaiian Archaeology Conference

I ka wā ma mua, i ka wā ma hope:

Looking to the past to inform the present and future

October 2–3, 2021       Virtual Conference

  • Conference Registration Opens July 12, 2021
  • Abstract Submittal Deadline: August 31, 2021
  • Presentation Recording Submission Deadline: September 10, 2021
  • Email all abstracts, presentations, questions, and statements to

This illustration was donated to SHA by Herb Kawainui Kane for the inaugural Archaeology Week poster in 1995

SHA 2021 Conference Theme:

I ka wā ma mua, i ka wā ma hope.”

As archaeologists and those who engage in wahi kūpuna stewardship and historic preservation, we are privileged with the kuleana (responsibility) of studying the past and caring for wahi pana (storied places). We also must acknowledge that the histories we study are not just relics confined in time, but are stories relived through generations. The problems faced by individuals and societies today are not new—they pervade time and space. This year’s conference theme, “I ka wā ma mua, I ka wā ma hope: Looking to the past to inform the present and future” speaks to collectively reflecting on the past to guide current and future actions.

Translated by Lilikalā Kameʻileihiwa in Native Land and Foreign Desires, “I ka wā ma mua” refers to “the time in front or before” and “i ka wā ma hope” refers to “the time which comes after or behind.” Kameʻileihiwa describes that “It is as if the Hawaiian stands firmly in the present, with his back to the future, and his eyes fixed upon the past, seeking historical answers for present-day dilemmas.” Learning and acknowledging the past contextualizes the present, and through this understanding, inspires a way forward. Said by Kameʻileihiwa, “for the future is always unknown, the past is rich in glory and knowledge.”

This year’s conference theme is applicable to archaeology in many ways. We can apply it directly to seek answers to large scale dilemmas we face as a society, through scientific inquiry, but we can also apply it to our own archaeological community. By acknowledging our past, we can find ways for the field of Hawaiian archaeology to better serve the people of Hawaiʻi. As we seek answers to understand the history of Hawaiʻi through archaeological research, we must strive to involve the community in our work and incorporate the knowledge, values, and needs of the people who have pilina (connection) to the ʻāina (land). Our common goals and mutual interests are better served when we engage in meaningful partnerships and seek a holistic understanding of the archaeological record, which includes prioritizing ancestral knowledge and striving to promote community education and stewardship. Perhaps it is through the invigoration of these relationships and helping others reconnect to the ʻāina, that the answers to our questions lie.

As we study the material culture of the past, we are directly connected to Nā Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian people), the native people of the Hawaiian Islands and others who came before us—their knowledge, traditions, culture, and other contributions. It is our collective kuleana to help others connect to the past and the knowledge that it holds, so that they too may seek answers to their own questions. 

The conference committee challenges participants to consider the following questions as we once again come together virtually, for the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology’s second online conference:

  • What is your relationship with the people and place(s) where you practice wahi kupuna stewardship? How does your work support and strengthen this pilina (connection) between you, community, and place? How do you identify and address existing and reoccurring issues between stakeholders? Consider sharing lessons learned and successes in aligning values.
  • How does the history of the place(s) you work influence how you interact with the ʻāina and those in the community? Are there ways for your research to highlight the genealogy of those place(s)? What are some of the ways these narratives inform your current operations and help to achieve collective outcomes?
  • How can archaeologists orient our research and practice to make the work we do more relevant to the communities of Hawai‘i with respect to historic preservation, sustainability, and fostering positive community engagement, now and in the future?

Abstract Submittal

In this spirit, the organizers of SHA 2021 invite submissions for presentations and panel discussions, workshops and engagement sessions, related to this theme of “I ka wā ma mua, i ka wā ma hope: Looking to the past to inform the present and future.” Abstracts of no longer than 200 words are required for each proposed presentation, panel discussion, workshop, or other session type. The digital format of the conference will allow for some types of sessions better than others. If you have an idea for a type of session not specifically mentioned above, reach out to the conference committee, and we can try to accomodate you. Please submit abstracts to by August 31, 2021.

Presentation Submittal

Presenters will need access to a computer with internet connection, camera, and microphone to record their presentations in advance of the conference and to participate in sessions during the conference. All accepted presentations should be recorded and submitted by September 10, 2021. Panel discussions, workshops, and engagement sessions will be recorded live during the conference. SHA will provide guides and assistance in recording and uploading presentations, as available. Presentations and recorded sessions will be on the SHA website to watch later for a limited time if you cannot attend the presentation or session time. More details on presentations will be forthcoming.

SHA 2021 Virtual Conference Free to All Members

Since this yearʻs conference is virtual and involves minimal costs, we will be providing the conference for free to current SHA members who have paid their 2021 annual membership fees (lifetime members are always considered paid). If you feel you can contribute, we will be recommending a donation of $15 to cover the cost of this virtual conference. The conference will run in the afternoon (Hawaiʻi Standard Time) for four to five hours each day, depending on the number of presenters that commit. This will include both moderated viewing/discussion sessions and all presentations being posted on the SHA website (behind a members paywall) with accompanying discussion boards following the conference. Please note that if circumstances allow for in-person events, attendance may require a small cost, depending on the type of event. Information regarding such events will be distributed through the SHA email Listserv, SHA Website, and social media accounts. Please stay tuned for information regarding conference registration.

Instagram: @Hawaiian.archaeology
Twitter: @SocHawaiianArch

SHA Membership Options

If your SHA membership has lapsed or if you would like to join for the first time, follow the link below and pick from either General ($30), Student ($15 with student ID), or Family ($35) membership, or become a lifer with the Lifetime Membership ($500).

2021 Conference Awards Information

Four awards are available during the 2021 conference: the Cultural Stewardship Award, Student Presentation Award, Fellowship Award for Lifetime Achievement, and a new Public Archaeology Award.

All nominations for awards are due by August 31, 2021. Honorees are selected by the SHA Board of Directors, which comprises professionals and enthusiasts in archaeology and historic preservation. Those selected for awards will be announced at the conference during an awards ceremony. Current SHA board members are ineligible for nomination.

Submittal and Questions: Please email nominations explaining why nominee is deserving of specific award, supporting documents (optional), and questions to

Cultural Stewardship Award

Purpose: To recognize the grassroot efforts of an individual or group working in the Native Hawaiian community, who has demonstrated long-term commitment to practicing responsible stewardship of Hawai‘i’s cultural heritage. The intention of this award is to recognize those who have significantly contributed to the preservation, protection, and perpetuation of Hawai‘i’s cultural resources through stewardship and/or educational efforts. With this award, SHA acknowledges the profound importance of engaging with such individuals and groups, and honoring their legacies and achievements.

Eligibility: Individual, group, or organization working in the Native Hawaiian community, who has made special, long-term contributions to the preservation, protection, and perpetuation of Hawaiʻiʻs cultural resources.

Nomination Criteria:

  • Works with the Native Hawaiian community
  • Commitment of substantial time and effort towards the proper long term stewardship of the cultural resources of Hawaiʻi
  • Educates others on the importance of cultural resource stewardship and raises public awareness of the issues and challenges that affect the proper stewardship of cultural resources

Student Presentation Award

Purpose: To recognize and encourage the contributions of SHAs student members.

Eligibility: All student members of SHA who are in good standing and contribute a presentation to the 2021 Virtual SHA Conference are eligible to receive the SHA Student Presentation Award. Student presenters—please notify the conference planning committee that you would like to be considered for this award at

Selection Criteria:

  • Relevance of research to the archaeology of Hawaiʻi
  • Research rigor and quality
  • Presentation of research at SHA Annual Conference 2021

Award Details: Only one student presentation is awarded per year. If the presentation has multiple authors, each student co-author will receive an equal share of the award. The award prize will be announced at the time of the conference.

Fellowship Award for Lifetime Achievement

Purpose: To recognize the specific accomplishments of archaeologists whose work in Hawai‘i is truly extraordinary, widely recognized as such, and of positive and lasting quality.

Eligibility: Any professional archaeologist who has made significant contributions to archaeology of the Hawaiian Islands or to the SHA organization may be nominated for this award. 

Nomination Criteria:

  • Has made significant contributions to archaeology in Hawai‘i
  • Has demonstrated a sustained and concerted effort to include living descendants in decisions that affect the preservation, interpretation, and presentation of their cultural heritage
  • Is a committed and effective advocate for the conservation and dissemination of archaeological data

Public Archaeology Award

Purpose: To recognize individuals or groups who have made efforts to reach a broad audience beyond archaeologists, and/or seek to involve local communities in archaeological projects. These groups or individuals exemplify the SHA Ethical Guidelines as adopted in the SHA Code of Bylaws. By promoting understanding of Hawaiian cultural sites both for kamaʻaina and visitors to the Hawaiian islands, recipient/s of this award encourage greater recognition and commitment to significant places. Through this award SHA recognized the importance of playing an active role in public education concerning Hawaiian archaeology and disseminating information regarding archaeological research and cultural sites.

Eligibility: Individual, group, or organization working with the public towards education on the importance of archaeological and cultural sites. Eligible individuals and groups have effectively demonstrated a commitment to public outreach, with particular emphasis on involving local communities in the archaeological effort.

Nomination Criteria:

  • Actively involves local communities and members of the public on archaeological projects
  • Ethically conducts archaeological research that is widely disseminated in a timely manner
  • Places emphasis on educating the public about the importance and practice of archaeology

Other Events

Virtual Pau Hana with a Senior Archaeologist

At all SHA events, we encourage socialization, sharing, and networking with friends and colleagues, both old and new. Since this year’s conference does not easily allow for this, SHA will be hosting a virtual pau hana with a senior archaeologist, oriented towards students and those who are new to the field of archaeology. Come talk story, ask questions, and get to know others in the field. Please email to sign up for this event.

SHA Huaka‘i

The SHA Conference Planning Committee is working hard to organize excursions throughout the islands. We are seeking volunteers to host huaka‘i during Archaeology Week and the weekend of the SHA virtual conference (September 26–October 3, 2021). Previous huaka‘i have included guided visits to archaeological sites, wahi kūpuna, and heritage sites—but we encourage potential hosts for a variety of excursions related to archaeology to reach out. The number of huaka‘i  participants allowed to attend each excursion will be determined by the host, as well as local COVID-19 ordinance. Hosts may also opt to video-record their huaka‘i to be shared in a digital format. More information and registration dates will be forthcoming.


Author: Angus

Communications Secretary and Webmaster of Society for Hawaiian Archaeology