“hishuk’ish tsawalk – Everything is One. Revitalizing Tseshaht/Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Foodways.


Dr. Charlotte Coté | Assiociate Professor, University of Washington in Seattle

January 20, 2017


In her presentation, Dr. Coté will examine the concept of food sovereignty to articulate an understanding of its potential for action in reviving Indigenous foodways in the U.S. and Canada. Framing her discussion within the Nuu-chah-nulth philosophy of hishuk’ish tsawalk – (everything is one), Dr. Coté will then discuss how her people, the Tseshaht/Nuu-chah-nulth-aht on Vancouver Island, are revitalizing traditional food practices grounded in the principles of iisaak (respect) and uu-a-thluk (taking care of).

Short Bio
Dr. Charlotte Coté is associate professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Coté is a member of the Tseshaht/Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Coté holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. in Political Science from Simon Fraser University in B.C.

In 2010 Dr. Coté published her first book, Spirits of Our Whaling Ancestors. Revitalizing Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth Traditions. Her other publications include, “Food Sovereignty, Food Hegemony, and the Revitalization of Indigenous Whaling Practices,” “Maintaining Harmony and Keeping the Peace: Non-violence and Conflict Resolutions in Native American Traditional Systems of Justice,” “The Spiritual Aspects of Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth Whaling –The Guardian Spirit Complex of the Northwest Coast Tribes,” and “Historical Foundations of Indian Sovereignty in Canada and the United States.” Dr. Coté is currently completing her next book that focuses on the revitalization of Indigenous food traditions and ancestral ecological knowledge.
Dr. Coté serves as co-editor for the UW Press’ Indigenous Confluences series with Dr. Coll Thrush. She also co-hosts the UWTV’s Voices of the First People’s film series with Professor Daniel Hart.

Dr. Coté is chair of the UW’s wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ (Intellectual House) Advisory Committee; a project coordinated by Dr. Coté and other UW faculty, staff and students, to build a coastal longhouse-style facility on the Seattle campus that will provide a multi-service learning and gathering space that honors Coast Salish culture and architecture. Phase One of the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ project was completed in March, 2015.

Dr. Coté serves as chair of the UW’s annual “The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ” Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge Symposium, which brings people together to share their knowledge on topics such as tribal food justice and sovereignty, traditional foods, plants and medicines, health and wellness, ecological knowledge, climate change, and treaty rights.

Dr. Coté also serves as president of the Potlatch Fund, an organization whose mission is to inspire and build upon the coastal tradition of giving and through philanthropy has supported and empowered Native peoples and communities in the Northwest.

View January seminar poster
View January seminar video