Advancing excellence through faculty diversity

Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu


B.A., Women’s Studies, University of Utah; M.A., American Studies, Purdue University; Ph.D., Comparative Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley


The Mana of The Tongan Everyday: Tongan Grief and Mourning, Patriarchal Violence and Remembering Va

Thesis Advisor:

Patricia Penn Hilden, Professor of Native American Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Research Topic:

Tongan/ Pacific Islander futurities in the East Bay, California. I look at Tongan va, relationalities to fonua, land, cosmologies that are delineated as feminine and located at the heart of what we defined as Sacred. My research centers Tongan va, relationality, to the Lisjan Ohlone, the Indigenous peoples and original stewards of the East Bay, and I examine the current work of Lisjan Ohlone women leaders in building an Arbor (prayer house) and Sacred site in East Oakland. Concomitantly, my research also examines the land that lies next to the Ohlone Arbor, which is currently owned by the Tongan Methodist Church. and in addition, my analysis also includes the narratives of the Tongan Mormon families living next to the Arbor and I examine the two Mormon Sacred sites located in Oakland that Tongan Mormons honor and utilize for their Sacred Ceremonies and rituals. These sites include the opulent Mormon Temple positioned center stage on top of the Oakland hills and a chapel located in a wealthy Oakland neighborhood miles away from the working class Tongan communities located in East Oakland. In my analysis, I track the prominent hand of the colonial institution, heteropatriarchy, in legislating the architecture of the respective Tongan Methodist and Mormon Sacred sites here in Oakland and I examine the complexities of Tongan women's roles in these sites of exorbitant power and authority.


Elizabeth Middleton, Professor of Native American Studies, University of California, Davis

Current Position:

President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Native American Studies, University of California, Davis