Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture

Established in 2005 and named in honor of the UW’s first vice president for the Office of Minority Affairs, the annual Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture is dedicated to acknowledging the work of faculty whose nationally-recognized research focuses on diversity and social justice.


“Indigenizing” the University of Washington: Lessons from the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House

Featuring Dr. Charlotte Coté

Associate Professor
Department of American Indian Studies

Dr. Coté’s lecture will be followed by a panel discussion reflecting on the
five-year anniversary of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House

This event occurred  on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Watch Dr. Coté’s lecture on YouTube.

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Reception: 6:00 p.m.

Lecture: 7:00 p.m.

Panel Discussion: 7:45 p.m.

Cost: FREE! Registration is required as seating is limited*.

*UW COVID protocols will be in place including a limited number of in person guests, masks required regardless of vaccination status.


For questions, contact Sara Werner at

To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 (voice), 206-543-6452 (TTY), 206-685-7264 (fax), The University of Washington makes every effort to honor disability accommodation requests. Requests can be responded to most effectively if received as far in advance of the event as possible, preferably at least 10 days.


On March 12, 2015, wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House opened its doors, creating an Indigenous intellectual and cultural space at the University of Washington. It serves as a hub for bringing together people from diverse communities in the spirit of sharing, cooperation and collaboration with Indigenous peoples and communities. As an Indigenous food studies scholar born and raised in her Nuu-chah-nulth community Dr. Coté has studied, witnessed, and experienced how colonization and the ongoing impacts of settler colonialism have negatively affected her people’s physical, nutritional and spiritual health. Dr. Coté will discuss how wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ is connected to Indigenous decolonization by making Indigenous scholars and scholarship visible, and making the campus accessible to the larger Indigenous community. The annual “Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ” Indigenous Foods symposium, founded by Dr. Coté, has become one of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ’s signature events serving as an important place to foster dialogue and build collaborative networks as Indigenous peoples strive to maintain their traditional foodways and healthy relationships to the land, water and all living things. The creation of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ and the “Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ” symposium hold important lessons on what it means to Indigenize academic spaces.


Dr. Charlotte Coté, associate professor in the University of Washington’s Department of American Indian Studies, is from the Nuu-chah-nulth community of Tseshaht on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Dr. Coté has dedicated her personal and academic life to creating awareness around Indigenous health and wellness issues, taking an active role in working with Indigenous peoples and communities to address health disparities through the revitalization of traditional foodways and ancestral ecological knowledge. Dr. Coté is the author of numerous publications including “Spirits of Our Whaling Ancestors. Revitalizing Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth Traditions,” which raises issues concerning Indigenous self-determination, eco-colonialism and food sovereignty. The working title of her forthcoming book is “Hishuk’ish Tsawalk – Everything is Connected. Enacting Food Sovereignty and Restoring Health and Wellness in Northwest Coast Indigenous communities.” Dr. Coté is the recipient of numerous awards including the Na’ah Illahee Fund’s Spirit of Indigenous Leadership Award, Women of Color Empowered Foundation’s Women of Power: Future Builder’s Award, UC Berkeley’s President’s Research Fellowship Award, Friedrich-Alexander University’s Friedrich-Alexander Research Fellowship (Germany) and the Canada-US Fulbright Fellowship. She serves as chair of the UW’s wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House Advisory Committee and is the founder and chair of the UW’s “The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ” Indigenous Foods Symposium. She serves as co-editor for the UW Press’ Indigenous Confluences series and co-hosted the UWTV’s Voices of the First People’s film series. Dr. Coté also serves on the boards of the Seattle-based Native-led nonprofit organizations Potlatch Fund and Na-ah Illahee Fund.


Dr. Samuel E. Kelly

Dr. Samuel E. Kelly

Dr. Samuel E. Kelly was hired as the first vice president for the newly formed Office of Minority Affairs in 1970. Also the first African American senior administrator at the UW, Dr. Kelly was an educational advocate who opened doors for hundreds of underrepresented students at the UW. Many of the programs and services that he established during his six-year tenure still exist today. Among his accomplishments was securing funding to house sites for both the Ethnic Cultural Center (renovated and renamed in his honor in 2015) and the Instructional Center in 1971. Dr. Kelly passed away on July 6, 2009.