Congratulations to Professor Charlotte Coté on Her Promotion and a New Book

Submitted by Kai Wise on
Professor Charlotte Cote

Professor Charlotte Coté (Tseshaht/Nuu-chah-nulth) associate professor in American Indian studies, has kept herself busy these past few years. On top of continuing to teach some of the department’s most popular classes (American Indian Law and Indigenous Food Sovereignty, for starters) she serves on multiple boards and committees supporting everything including UW’s wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Advisory Committee, the Na-ah Illahee Fund Board, and is co-founder and chair of the UW’s annual “The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ” Indigenous Foods Symposium held in May at the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ, with this year’s event scheduled for May 13 & 14. Somewhere in her busy schedule she has also found time to complete her second book. All of this has culminated in her recently being promoted to Full Professor for her continuing excellence in American Indian Studies and all she contributes to our University and to our AIS community. We are so happy to see her get this recognition and look forward to her many new accomplishments in the coming years.

As part of a joint celebration – for her book release and promotion – the department will be hosting a celebration on May 25, 4-6:30 pm at the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ and all our welcome. If you haven’t had a chance, you can pick up a signed copy of her new book at the event, because it's selling out fast. 

Book cover of A Drum in One Hand, a Sockeye in the Other with traditional salmon racks around a fire and a woman wearing a blanket with salmon embroidered on it and holding her hands in the air, a drum in one hand and a drumstick in the otherA Drum in One Hand, a Sockeye in the Other: Stories of Indigenous Food Sovereignty from the Northwest Coast foregrounds the importance of Indigenous food in cultural revitalization and healing and was published in January of this year. Professor Coté shares contemporary Nuu-chah-nulth practices of traditional food revitalization in the context of broader efforts to re-Indigenize contemporary diets on the Northwest Coast. She offers evocative stories of her Tseshaht community's and her own work to revitalize relationships to haʔum (traditional food) as a way to nurture health and wellness. As Indigenous peoples continue to face food insecurity due to ongoing inequality, environmental degradation, and the Westernization of traditional diets, Coté foregrounds healing and cultural sustenance via everyday enactments of food sovereignty: berry picking, salmon fishing, and building a community garden on reclaimed residential school grounds. 

“A powerful philosophy of food sovereignty. Coté successfully navigates myriad scholarly and nonscholarly voices, telling a compelling comprehensive story that helps us understand the practices and policies needed to make change in our food systems,” says Kyle White and is echoed by Hannah Wittman, who says, Coté “[a]deptly uses a deep storytelling method, including both lived experience and critical analysis of history and theory, to examine experiences and transformations of Indigenous foodways.” But it was seeing a quote from Robin Wall Kimmerer (Potawatomi), well-known author of Braiding Sweetgrass, that came as a delightful surprise. Kimmerer says, “I am so grateful for Charlotte Coté’s A Drum in One Hand, a Sockeye in the Other, which creates a path into the living foodways and thoughtways of her people. Her warm, storytelling voice and sharing of collective knowledge embody the generous spirit of a feast, and this book itself, is a feast.” What better praise for a book about food, than it leaving you well-fed.