Ila P. Nako '26

Research Fellow
Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian)
Anthropology and Environmental Studies

Ila Nako, Kanaka ʻŌiwi, was born and raised on the island of Oʻahu. She is in the class of 2026 at Princeton pursuing an undergraduate degree in sociocultural anthropology with a certificate in environmental studies. She currently works with small farmers throughout Hawaiʻi, learning how to heal the land after many years of neglect and mistreatment by various causes. Additionally, she studies ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, the native language, to connect deeper with her culture and communities. She is interested in the narratives behind nuclear activity, and how Indigenous people have largely been left out of the media and conversations regarding nuclear activity.

Alongside her academics, Ila is a member of Natives at Princeton and serves as the Ivy Native Council Representative for Princeton University. She also interns for the non-profit, Story for All, under the project, Land Stories: Farming and Kauaʻi Culture, where she transcribes oral history interviews and works to develop an agricultural curriculum rooted in cultural knowledge and regenerative systems, with hopes of inspiring the next generation to steward the ‘āina. She is spending her summer interning with Ka Honua Momona on the island of Molokai, learning from kūpuna (elders) how cultural rootedness can return the islands of Hawaiʻi to the model of sustainability they once were.