Robin R. R. Gray, Ph.D.

Dela waan, tansi and welcome to my website!


I am Ts’msyen from Lax Kw’alaams, BC, and I belong to Waap Liyaa’mlaxha, a Gisbutwada (Blackfish) House in the Gitaxangiik Tribe. I wear the ancestral Ts’msyen name T’uu’tk, which, in its long form, roughly translates to Always Prominent Voice of Raven. On my father’s side I am Mikisew Cree, with Dene roots, from Fort Chipewyan, AB. My great-great-grandfather Chief Mikisew was a signatory to Treaty 8, one of 11 numbered treaties that exist between the Crown and various Indigenous Nations in settler colonial Canada. I also have extended kinship relationships with Heiltsuk through the House of Dhadhiyasila and with Kwakwaka'wakw through Namgis by way of legal Potlatch Adoption. 

I hold a B.A.S in Interdisciplinary Studies (2008) from Bennett College for Women, an M.A. in Anthropology (2010), a Ph.D. in Anthropology (2015), and a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Studies (2015) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I recently completed my tenure as a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-2017) in the Department of History at the University of California Santa Cruz.

My current research projects focus on the repatriation of Ts’msyen songs from archives through the lens of ownership, access and control, and embodied heritage reclamation with an urban Ts’msyen dance group. My book manuscript, tentatively titled Indigenous Repatriation: Law, Property and Nationhood examines various forms of Indigenous repatriation, and it analyzes the colonial power dynamics engendered by the transformation of Indigenous cultural heritage into the property of people, states, and institutions unrelated to the source community. It necessarily confronts the contested sites of archives, museum collecting, ethnographic knowledge production, collective memory, intellectual property, research, and Indigenous rights, while it also disrupts totalizing discourses of Indigeneity, nationhood, property and heritage. 

Areas of specialization include:

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  • knowledge and power
  • law, ethics and society
  • Indigenous conceptions of property and ownership
  • settler colonialism and decolonization
  • reclamation through song and dance
  • repatriating Indigenous cultural heritage
  • community-based research
  • Indigenous methodologies