Series: Women's History in the Pacific West - Pacific Islands Collection

Women's biographies from Hawai'i and Guam

  • Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site

    Article 1: Ka‘oana‘eha

    A yellow illustration of Kawaihae Bay depicting boats, homes, and a mountain range

    Ka‘ōana‘eha was born into the royal family that consolidated power over a unified Kingdom of Hawai‘i at the end of the eighteenth century, but her role in opposing Christian missionization following the collapse of the kapu (meaning both sacred and restricted) system meant that she died out of favor with her powerful family. Read more

  • Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

    Article 2: Princess Luka Ruth Ke'elikōlani

    An old image of Princess Luka Ruth Ke?elikolani sitting down and posing for the camera.

    Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani was a direct descendent of Kamehameha I, the leader who united the Hawaiian islands and founded the kingdom of Hawai‘i. She was an advocate for Hawaiian culture who was best known for defending the town of Hilo during the 1880–1881 eruption of the Mauna Loa Volcano that is part of the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Read more

  • Pearl Harbor National Memorial

    Article 3: Katherine Ah Lan Lowe

    Five determined women on pier training grappling with fire hose, large stream of water shoots in air

    The striking photo of Katherine Ah Lan Lowe and four other women looking determined as they hold a powerful fire hose steady in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard is familiar to many as an image of female heroism in World War II. Read more

  • Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail

    Article 4: Queen Lili'uokalani

    Regal Hawaiian woman in sumptuous beaded gown sits for professional photo

    Queen Lili‘uokalani was the last sovereign of Hawai‘i. Many continue to admire Lili‘uokalani for her resolute and peaceful resistance to the US businessmen who ended her reign and to the United States’ annexation of Hawai‘i during the 1890s. Read more

  • Article 5: Geraldine Kenui Bell

    Woman in National Park uniform and leis speaks to crowd. Podium stands field of lava rock

    Geraldine Kenui Bell, better known as Geri, was the first Native Hawaiian woman to be superintendent of a National Park Service (NPS) unit – in fact, she oversaw the operation of two different parks in Hawai‘i simultaneously. Read more

  • Kalaupapa National Historical Park

    Article 6: Olivia Robello Breitha

    Women with sun glasses smiles from inside her beat up blue car.

    “My name is Olivia. It’s not L-E-P-E-R….I wrote a book because I wanted people to know what I feel, what I felt, how much I struggled, fighting the disease, fighting ignorance, fighting bureaucrats, fighting that hurtful word.” Read more

  • Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park

    Article 7: Queen Ka'ahumanu

    Hawaiian woman and young man sitting in lush pavilion both holding ornate staffs. Ship in background

    Queen Ka‘ahumanu was one of the most powerful women in Hawaiian history, whose decisions would affect her people for centuries. As the favored wife of the powerful King Kamehameha I and the kuhina nui (regent or co-regent) of her stepsons Kings Kamehameha II and III, Ka‘ahumanu demonstrated a keen political sense and a strong understanding of power. Read more

  • War In The Pacific National Historical Park

    Article 8: Cecilia “Chilang” Cruz Bamba

    Photo of woman with short curly hair smiling

    Cecilia Cruz Bamba was a Chamorro woman who was orphaned at the age of nine during the Japanese attacks on Guam in 1941. Motivated by the grandmother who raised her, Bamba became a senator, businesswoman, and community leader. Read more

  • Honouliuli National Historic Site

    Article 9: Kiyome Tsuda

    Two Japanese women in kimonos stand next to man in suit and tie, posing before temple

    Kiyome Hirai Tsuda was a kibei, a US citizen educated in Japan, who exemplified the deep connections between Hawai‘i and Japan before World War II. Read more

  • Honouliuli National Historic Site

    Article 10: Haruko Takahashi

    Asian woman in dark kimono, wearing classes, in a formal portrait

    Haruko Takahashi was a Shintō priestess who spent part of World War II imprisoned at Honouliuli Internment Camp on O’ahu, Hawai’i. She died on December 24, 1972, and her life is still celebrated every year in a memorial service at the Konko Mission. Read more