Robin R. R. Gray

Robin Gray

IPinCH Fellow: Jan 2013-Dec 2014

IPinCH Steering Committee Member: Jan 2013-July 2015

PhD, Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Research key words: 
decolonization; community-based research; Indigenous methodologies; repatriation of Indigenous cultural heritage; knowledge and power

Robin R. R. Gray is Ts’msyen from Lax Kw’alaams and she belongs to Waap Liyaa’mlaxha, a Gisbutwada House in the Gitaxangiik Tribe. She wears the Ts’msyen name T’uu’tk, which, in its long form, roughly translates to Always Prominent Voice of Raven. On her father’s side, Robin is Mikisew Cree from Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. Her great-great-grandfather Chief Mikisew was a signatory to Treaty 8.

Robin holds a B.A.S (2008) from Bennett College for Women and a M.A. (2010) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In May 2015 Robin successfully defended her PhD dissertation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and passed “with distinction.” In addition to earning her doctorate, she has also completed a Graduate Certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies.

In her dissertation, titled Ts’msyen Revolution: The Poetics and Politics of Reclaiming, Robin investigates the motivations, possibilities and obstacles associated with Ts’msyen reclamation through two multi-sited and auto-ethnographic research projects: (1) a repatriation case study exploring the legal and ethical dimensions associated with reclaiming Ts’msyen songs from archives, and (2) a dance group case study exploring embodied heritage reclamation. Through the lens of song and dance, her work provides critical Ts’msyen standpoints on the topics of Indigenous in/visibility, Indigenous conceptions of property and ownership, Indigenous research methodologies, settler colonialism and decolonization.

Robin was recently awarded a 2015-2016 University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California Santa Cruz. She received the award based on her research proposal titled Researching, Representing and Repatriating Ts’msyen Cultural Heritage. Robin looks forward to expanding her community-based research projects with, by and for her people, and to executing a comprehensive knowledge dissemination strategy based on key findings from her dissertation. 

Robin's Blog Posts 

Repatriating Indigenous Cultural Heritage: What's Reconciliation Got To Do with it? 
Mar 25, 2014
In Canada, the call for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples has received increasing public attention since 2007, when the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was reached. More »

Appropriation (?) of the Month: First Nations Totem Poles
April 18, 2013
I am Tsimshian from Lax Kw’alaams, Ginaxangiik Tribe, House of ‘Liyaa’mlaxha, Gispwudwada Clan. I am writing this blog piece to discuss the appropriation of totem poles from a Northwest Coast First Nation perspective. More »