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Book launch for Charlotte Coté’s Spirits of Our Whaling Ancestors

November 30, 2010

From left, Vancouver artist, Susan McCallum, Charlotte, Charlotte’s niece Jenoah, and Cynthia del Rosario, UW Director of Graduate Recruitment and Retention.

by Charlotte Coté

The Book Launch Event on October 28th for Spirits of Our Whaling Ancestors was a great success! Tleko (thank you) to my family from Canada who came to support me and shared our beautiful Tseshaht songs and dances with the audience. I also want to thank the University of Washington Press and the Burke Museum for making this a wonderful event. Tleko to my family and friends, and everyone who came to show your support and helped make this such a memorable evening. Uu’uq ch’ap’ap ‘athle’itsuu – You all make me happy!

Following the removal of the gray whale from the Endangered Species list in 1994, the Makah tribe of northwest Washington State announced that they would revive their whale hunts; their relatives, the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation of British Columbia, shortly followed suit. The Makah whale hunt of 1999 was an event of international significance, connected to the worldwide struggle for aboriginal sovereignty and to the broader discourses of environmental sustainability, treaty rights, human rights, and animal rights. It was met with enthusiastic support and vehement opposition.