Makalika Naholowaʻa

Executive Director

Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation

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

Makalika is an intellectual property, technology law, and traditional knowledge expert. She started her legal career handling trademark, copyright, and unfair competition matters in private practice at a Vault 100/AmLaw 100 law firm in the Pacific Northwest. She then moved in-house and continued her IP and tech law practice at a Fortune 100 technology company where she held several roles including the leader of the company’s global trademark practice group. Makalika has written, spoken on, and advised frequently on intellectual property and traditional knowledge issues.

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 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 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.