Kathy Robinson

mom and auntie erma2.jpg
Kathy Robinson also goes by the name of ʔuʔaałukʷis

Kathy Gallic was born on a windy day in the Broken Group Islands of Barclay Sound, home to many tribes of nuuchahnulth. She lived in a longhouse where everyone spoke their language, worked hard all day and taught all the tradiitonal practices needed to keep their living culture intact. Their summer and winter homes provided shelter when travelling with food resources called “Seasonal Rounds.” Potlatches were schooling for songs, dances and tradition.

Her family moved to Port Alberni when a law passed that all First Nations’ children must attend a system called the residential school. Despite punishment for speaking her language, Kathy kept her fluency and remained culturally rooted. She married Doug Robinson at 16 and they had 12 children together, eventually adding 22 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.

In the early 60s, she began picking up the Elders from her community and taking them to her home. Her daughters cooked, baked and fed the Elders, who in turn, taught her and her children the protocols of dancing and singing along with many traditions.

Where most people were looking at their retirement years, at 50, Kathy began working at the brand new ḥaaḥuupay̓ak Elementary School with Carrie Little (ʕaaḥuusʔatḥ). She:
• Co-developed the foundation for the school's curriculum
• Worked tirelessly to keep the language department operating
• Fundraised for materials/supplies by holding bake sales and lahal tournaments, working 12 hour days and many weekends
• Modifed the international phonetic writing system to suit nuuchahnulth, which did not have a writing system
• Ensured language integrity and culture were upheld
• Instilled passion/love of culture and language into many generations
• Took many courses to ensure her best acheivements, including a computer class. Today, she still works proficently in her own dialect translating documents on the computer.

Kathy worked at the school for over 18 years, leaving a rich curriculum, protocols for traditional use and also composed prayers for the children. She is always just one call away for the Nuuchahnulth Studies teachers and is the first to say, "I'm not sure, I will ask my Elders."

In her late 60s, Kathy formed a company called nuučaanʼuł iic c̓ic̓iqii “Language belonging to the nuuchahnulth,” documenting the language with Carrie Little. They typed language using a special typewriter ball with unique phonetic symbols. Kathy and Carrie published:
• Alphabet Books/Cassettes
• Word and Phrase Books/CDs
• Christmas Carol Books/CDs
• nuučaanʼuł dictionary
• Compiled a collection of language documents and language tapes

And assisted in:
• NTC websites
• FirstVoices

Kathy, an extremly active Elder has contributed to:
• Translated anthropology field notes
• Translated 2 books “ Family Origin Histories: The Whaling Indians” and
“ The Origin Of The Wolf Ritual”
• Participated in over 30 language programs
• Holds loonie/toonies for the band’s patient travel budget
• Works for the betterment of the ones who have less

Kathy was instrumental in the success of a children's dance group called the Animal Kingdom. It was her teachings and knowledge of the protocols needed that empowered the children’s performance.

She will never take credit for what she knows—she always thanks her late teachers, including her parents, Jimmy and Jessie Gallic, Cecelia Williams, Weenuck, Bessie Dick, Chief Adam and Margaret Shewish, Mable Taylor, Mable Yukum, Billy Yukum, George Clutesi, Jacob Gallic and many more.

Kathy is always reminding people: "Don't bring flowers when we're dead, bring them to us while we are alive!"

Nominator: Lena Ross