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Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio

Heoli is a Kanaka Maoli wahine poet/activist/scholar born and raised in Pālolo Valley to parents Jonathan and Mary Osorio. Jamaica is a proud graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama. After high school Jamaica attended and graduated with honors from the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity program at Stanford University and a later received a Masters degree in the Arts Politics program at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

Jamaica is a widely published poet and professional performer and has shared her poetry throughout Oceania, on 5 of the 7 continents, and at the Whitehouse by invitation of President Obama. In her free time, Jamaica facilitates poetry workshops for local and Kanaka Maoli youth in Hawaiʻi and is a board member of the award winning organization, Pacific Tongues. Currently Jamaica is a junior faculty specialist at native Hawaiian Student Services at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

She earned her PhD in English (Hawaiian literature) with the completion of her dissertation entitled “(Re)membering ʻUpena of Intimacies: A Kanaka Maoli Moʻolelo beyond Queer Theory.” Currently, Heoli is an assistant professor of Indigenous and Native Hawaiian politics at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Heoli is a three-time national poetry champion, poetry mentor, and a published author. She is a proud past Kaiāpuni student, Ford Fellow, and a graduate of Kamehameha, Stanford (BA), and New York University (MA).


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