Honu’āina (Honu) Nichols

Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian)
HOMETOWN: Oʻahu, Hawaii

Honu’āina Nichols (they/them/ʻoia) is a queer Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) kiaʻi wai (water protector), aloha ʻāina, activist, haʻiʻōlelo (orator), organizer/facilitator, and creative raised in Maunalua, on the island of Oʻahu. They are kanaka diaspora born on Ohlone Lands, raised on O’ahu accountable to the protection of sacred sites, watersheds and Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi (The Kingdom of Hawaiʻi). Honu currently works at Loko Ea, a 400-year-old traditional loko iʻa (fishpond), as a research alakaʻi (lead) and restoration assistant for Mālama Loko Ea Foundation. They’ve led monthly community workdays, removing invasive algae and restoring native plant, fish and bird species. As a kumu (teacher), Honu educated elementary students through moʻolelo (story), place-based education, mele (song), and good ol’ fashion hard work. Honu recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BS in Political Science, concentrating in International Relations and Environmental Policy. While at UCSB, Honu stood in the gap organizing with the UCDivestTMT campaign, mobilizing students across California to demand the UC divest and reinvest in their students and indigenous communities. Honu’s pursuits are directed towards a complete hulihia (overturn) of decision-making power from Hawaiʻi throughout Moku Honu (Turtle Island). Honu’s advocacy focuses on food sovereignty, decolonization/demilitarization, the protection of sacred sites, nation-to-nation building, emboldening the ʻoiaʻiʻo (truth) of our histories and healing through connection to place.

As a Champion for Change with the Aspen Institute Center for Native Youth, this year Honu’s hana (work) is informed by aloha ʻāina, their ancestors and a few national cohorts to push these goals forward. Two under the Climate Innovation Center with the Youth Climate Leaders of Color and National Association of Climate Resiliency Planners Facilitators Program. Honu will also join ecologists bridging environmental perspective from California and Hawaiʻi in the Blue Water Exchange Program with Mālama ʻĀina Foundation. Honu will also serve as a Climate Change Champion with the City and County of Honolulu and other NGOs in building a climate plan for Hawaii’s future.