Beloved student Camile Nauta dies at 21


By August Linton

Camile Nauta, a beloved CPH student and community member, was hit by a truck and killed while out walking their dog Wilson with friend Rune Kubbany on Jan. 17. Wilson was also killed in the accident, and Kubbany was hospitalized. Nauta was 21 years old. 

They are already sorely missed by everyone who knew them. They were enigmatic and whimsical, described by many that knew them as a ‘fairy,’ a ‘cowboy,’ or a ‘forest creature.’

They’re remembered by everyone who knew them as a kind, quiet person, who sometimes came off as standoffish just because they were shy. They had a unique ability to make people comfortable and to bring out that joy in others, which they also reveled in. 

Multiple people remember them for the silly accents that they loved to perform. They were an animal lover and a vegan. Taro smoothies, lying in the sun and spending time in nature were other things that Nauta loved.

Student Holly Ford described how familiar a part of the CPH world Nauta was.

“They’d walk through the forest and everyone knew them,” said Ford. 

Dorm-mate Tommy Broedner remembers the quiet companionship that they shared with Nauta when they met in the kitchen, and many people mention how much they loved coffee. Girlfriend Elizabeth Edens describes them as constantly jittering.

“There’s not coffee grounds on the counter anymore,” Broedner said.

Nauta posing with a camera at College Cove during the first semester of their sophomore year, in 2020

Grayson Ford remembers how Nauta waited for them when they fell behind on walks in the forest. Others said how Nauta’s energy and compassion made them feel comfortable dancing at shows, something that Nauta was known to do with abandon. 

Being a part of punk and local music subculture was important to Nauta. They were a regular at the Arcata music venue Blondies, went to various house shows, and loved dancing and moshing. 

Edens went with Nauta to many local shows. 

“They enjoyed being in the mosh pit a lot, they talked about it being like therapy for them,” Edens said. “They were always beautiful, it was great to see them in the pit because they’d always be having fun even on their own.”

People loved and were sometimes, at-first, almost intimidated by their intricate facial piercings, bright green mullet-hawk and patched clothes. The combination of a punk exterior and compassionate, loving interior is what defined their image.

“They styled themself as if they were a punk little forest goblin who occasionally engaged in witchcraft,” said their sibling, Lily Nauta. Nauta had a very close relationship with their sibling, who many described as their best friend. 

They broke their arm in the mosh pit at a “Days N’ Daze” show, and sported a scar on their shoulder for the rest of their life. 

Being queer and non-binary identity were very important to Nauta. They wore queerness on their sleeve, and found kinship, community, and love in the Humboldt queer community. The small size of this group in Humboldt is one reason why Nauta’s absence stings so keenly. They were known by most in the community.

“They were the best cheerleader for people finding their true gender identity and celebrated all of the things dominant culture shames queer people for,” Lily Nauta said. “They reclaimed it all and helped others do the same. They were the best lil nonbinary twink a guy could have the pleasure of knowing.”

A psychology major, Nauta was involved in many different programs at CPH. They were the first student intern from the school at local organization Queer Humboldt, where they helped to start a Discord chat server so queer people around the area could connect with each other.

Queer outreach was very important to Nauta, and they also worked on the Historic InQUEERies project teaching the queer history of  historic people to classes in those related fields.

Nauta was always with their dog Wilson, who also was killed in the accident. Whenever possible, they were always together, whether in the forest, at school, or around town. After they got him in Summer 2022, his presence helped Nauta open up, according to roommate Shayne Jarvie. 

“They started to kinda come out of their shell and be super goofy with everyone,” Jarvie said. “Everyone loved Wilson and Wilson loved everyone.”

“[Wilson and Nauta] were both each-other’s emotional support animals,” Edens said.

Nauta was very close with their family, whom they always nurtured. Their mother Lisa Nauta described how they nursed her back to health while she had COVID-19.

“Me, Lily, and Camile, we used to call each-other the three peas,” Lisa Nauta said. “They’ve always been a hugger, always giving love.”

“They’d offer to make the whole family tea nearly every night,” Lily Nauta said. “Words can’t describe how heartbroken we are and how much we’ll miss them.”

The natural world was one of Nauta’s loves. They spent much of their time in the forests surrounding campus or on the local beaches with friends. They found themself in nature. Jarvie said that Nauta was at peace while digging in the dirt, and feeling the sun. 

At a Jan. 24 memorial held for them on campus, mourners braved the winter cold to gather outside.

Friend Charlie Deible spoke about Wilson at the memorial, stating that it’s what Camile would have wanted.

Many who knew them spoke while the sun set, and several stated that they will always see Nauta in the trees and in the stars.

“I can not imagine a more practical place for them to be than up hiding in the cracks and ridges of the trees,” Lily Nauta said. “Please continue to visit them and Wilson in the trees.”

Camile Nauta at Sue-Meg park in 2021, post-leaf coronation

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