As a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, Charlotte Coté offers a valuable perspective on the issues surrounding indigenous whaling, past and present. Whaling served important social, economic, and ritual functions that have been at the core of Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth societies throughout their histories. Even as Native societies faced disease epidemics and federal policies that undermined their cultures, they remained connected to their traditions. The revival of whaling has implications for the physical, mental, and spiritual health of these Native communities today, Coté asserts. Whaling, she says, "defines who we are as a people."
Her analysis includes major Native studies and contemporary Native rights issues, and addresses environmentalism, animal rights activism, anti-treaty conservatism, and the public's expectations about what it means to be "Indian." These thoughtful critiques are intertwined with the author's personal reflections, family stories, and information from indigenous, anthropological, and historical sources to provide a bridge between cultures.
Charlotte Cote is associate professor of American Indian studies at the University of Washington.
"This work, by an Indigenous scholar who also has hereditary rights to particular kinds of information and who shares the traditions of her own family and community, makes a powerful contribution to Northwest Coast Indigenous and environmental history." -Coll Thrush, author of Native Seattle: Stories from the Crossing-Over Place
"An excellent and timely book that chronicles the revitalization of the honored whaling tradition among the Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth but also raises broader issues of eco-colonialism, identity, and self-determination within the cultural nexus and political ecology of modern environmentalism and indigenous hunting economies." -Thomas Thornton, author of Being and Place among the Tlingit