J.D., Stone Scholar, Columbia University School of Law

B.S., cum laude, Computational Mathematics, Arizona State University


Hawai’i License No. 11695, Admitted November 2022

Washington License No. 42969, Admitted November 2010


Makalika Destarte Naholowaʻa

Executive Director

Makalika Naholowaʻa is a lawyer and indigenous peoples advocate. As the Executive Director at the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, Makalika works to fulfill NHLC’s mission to protect and advance Native Hawaiian identity and culture.

Makalika’s legal practice includes intellectual property, technology law, and traditional knowledge legal matters. Makalika has written, spoken on, and advises frequently on intellectual property and traditional knowledge issues. She has experience providing advice and counsel on trademark, copyright, and unfair competition matters for small, medium, and large, multinational organizations.

Makalika is dedicated to service in the profession. Makalika has nearly a decade of leadership roles with the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA), and in the 2023-2024 will serve as the organization’s President. In addition to her work for NNABA, she has held leadership roles with the American Bar Association (ABA), Washington State Bar Association (WSBA), and International Trademark Association (INTA). Makalika is additionally a lifetime member of the Native Hawaiian Bar Association.

Makalika is also dedicated to community service, with a long history of volunteerism with nonprofits and on nonprofit boards. Makalika is currently the Vice Chair of the Board for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), a member of the Board for the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Board for Women’s Fund of Hawai’i. Makalika is also a Commissioner on the Hawai’i Access to Justice Commission.

Makalika is a Hawaiian cultural practitioner. She is a haumāna hoʻoponopono studying under Kumu Lynette Paglinawan. Makalika is also grateful to have been a student that trained while in law school under another mana wahine, Tonya Gonnella Frichener, who was a North American Representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and advocate for all indigenous peoples.

Publications and Engagement

M. Naholowaʻa, Advancing International Intellectual Property Negotiations to Protect Indigenous CulturesAmerican Bar Association Human Rights Magazine Vol 49, No. 3: Native American Issues (January 22, 2024).

M. Destarte Naholowaʻa, C. Camero, and P. Chakrabarti, Why the legal profession should encourage diversity and inclusionWorld Trademark Review (July 30, 2019).

M. Naholowaʻa and D. Forrest, Ethical Marketing, Cultural Integrity, and Consumer Protection in Hawai‘iAmerican Bar Association Landslide Magazine (October 4, 2023).

M. Naholowaʻa, D. Forrest, and T. Faʻagau, The Pursuit of Health and Wellbeing: 45 Years of Native Hawaiian RightsHawaiʻi Bar Journal (October 2023).

American Bar Association, ABA Presidential Speaker Series: Deb Haaland and a panel of Native American women “firsts,” (November 2, 2023).

Thomson Reuters, Ep. 128 – Makalika Naholowaʻa (Native Hawaiian Legal Corp.), The Hearing – A Legal Podcast (July 24, 2023).