Symposium Coordinators

Dr. Charlotte Coté


(Co-Founder and Planning Committee Chair)
is associate professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington. 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.. Dr. Coté is the author of Spirits of Our Whaling Ancestors. Revitalizing Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth Traditions (UW Press, 2010). Her other publications include, “Indigenizing” Food Sovereignty. Revitalizing Indigenous Food Practices and Ecological Knowledges in Canada and the U.S.,” and “Food Sovereignty, Food Hegemony, and the Revitalization of Indigenous Whaling Practices.” She 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 and co-hosts the UWTV’s Voices of the First People’s film series. Dr. Coté also serves as chair of the UW’s wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House Advisory Committee and is Affiliated Faculty in the UW’s Jackson School of International Studies, Canadian Studies Center. She is the president of the Native-led nonprofit organization, Potlatch Fund.

Dr. Dian Million

is Associate Professor in American Indian Studies and Affiliated Faculty in Canadian Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. She holds a BA in interdisciplinary studies from Fairhaven College, Western Washington University and a Masters and Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Dian Million’s most recent research explores the politics of mental and physical health with attention to affect as it intersects with race, class, and gender in Indian Country. She is the author of Therapeutic Nations: Healing in an Age of Indigenous Human Rights (University of Arizona Press, Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies Series, 2013) as well as numerous articles, chapters, and poems. Therapeutic Nations is a discussion of trauma as a political narrative in the struggle for Indigenous self-determination in an era of global neoliberalism. Reading unprecedented violence against Indigenous women and all women as more than a byproduct of global contention Therapeutic Nations makes an argument for the constitutive role violence takes in the now quicksilver transmutations of capitalist development. She teaches courses on Indigenous politics, literature, feminism and social issues.

Dr. Michelle Montgomery

Haliwa Saponi/Eastern Band Cherokee
is the assistant professor at the UW Tacoma School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences in Ethnic, Gender and Labor Studies/American Indian Studies. Dr. Montgomery’s research focuses on critical race theory, responsive justice, indigenous cultural autonomy, identity politics, and bioethics related to sociocultural and environmental health disparities within American Indian/Alaska Native/First Nations communities. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, a master’s degree in plant pathology from North Carolina State University, a master of arts in bioethics from the UW and a Ph.D. in language, literacy and sociocultural studies from University of New Mexico.

Susan Balbas

Cherokee and Yaqui Nations
is the executive director of Na’ah Illahee Fund, a Seattle-based nonprofit that advances sustainable Indigenous cultures in the Pacific Northwest through the leadership of Native women and girls. Susan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Teaching. She has been an independent consultant working with tribes, artists and nonprofits, and has held management positions in the business, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. Mother of three and grandmother of three, Susan has studied with elders and herbalists, is an organic gardener, a cook, and voracious reader of all books on indigenous foodways and the local/healthy foods movement, social and environmental justice issues, and historical novels. She is a graduate of Mid-Sound Fisheries’ Community Action Training School (CATS) program and currently serves on the board of Potlatch Fund, Washington Progress Alliance and The Friends of Discovery Park.

Jordan Brown

is a graduate of the University of Washington, Tacoma, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts studying the history of the Pacific Northwest and Oral History. Her undergraduate research interpreted the historical processes of resource management in the Pacific Northwest; specifically, how Eurocentric management techniques impact resources and people. Jordan is currently working on a graduate degree in Non-profit Studies from the University of Washington, Tacoma. Her current research explores the unique relationship between funders and organizations that advocate for culture-based programs in and around Washington State.