Malia Hulleman is an environmental activist, Hawaiian native, water protector, and indigenous woman. She joined the Standing Rock Sioux on the front lines against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the face of human and environmental rights violations.
Through changing the culture of disregard and disrespect of nature and indigenous people, her goal is to create a renewable and sustainable future for coming generations.
A lifelong steward of Native treaty lands and sovereign rights at home in Hawaii, she was an organizer with the Mauna Kea movement which worked to halt construction of the world’s largest telescope on Hawaii’s most sacred mountain.
Her commitment to preserving the Hawaiian language is motivated by the similar suppression faced by Native Hawaiians and other Native Americans, including silencing of native language, theft of the most-fertile land, seclusion to low-income areas, and the robbing of ancestral diets.
While canvassing for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, she traveled across the country with UpToUs, developing solutions with communities throughout the United States.
Organizing with Rezpect Our Water, an indigenous youth movement, brought her to the front lines of Standing Rock where she endured violence by law enforcement with less-lethal weapons. She was maced three times at Standing Rock (each time, she says, it definitely does not get any better), and faced snipers.
“I felt it was my job to protect the youth council. They had been maced before, and I helped guide them to wash their faces. They went right back up there, and I followed. Then we were all maced. I knew I had to stay calm, spit out the mace, and breathe through my mouth. After the night that law enforcement used water cannons on protectors in freezing weather, I broke down in tears.”
Malia brings what she’s learned from the Standing Rock movement to nationwide goals such as adopting sustainable energy, and continuing to live a life of pono, or righteousness, as is said in Hawaiian.
She inspires other women towards leadership with consideration for their neighbors and for the planet.