Jennifer Kramer

Research Interests

Visual culture and ‘art’ of the First Nations of the Northwest Coast, specifically the Nuxalk, Heiltsuk, Wuikinuxv, and Kwakwaka’wakw.

Art Market Economies, Identity Production, Representation, Repatriation, Cultural Property, Aboriginal Cultural Tourism, Indigenous Modernity, and Collaborative and Critical Museology.

Research Projects

My ongoing research projects begin in museum collections but actually are about contemporary Indigenous relationships to historic material culture and to cross-cultural Canadian, US and global society. I am a co-applicant and partner in a $1 million SSHRC CURA grant (2011-2016) to explore new alternatives for the recovery of Indigenous heritage of two Quebecois First Nations: The Ilnu of Mashteuiatsh and the Anishnabeg of Kitigan Zibi. Bringing together university, museum, and First Nations partners from the University of Montreal, UBC MOA, the Chicago Field Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the American Indian Museum of Mashteuiatsh, and the Kitigan Zibi Cultural and Education Centre, this project is a think tank combining ritual knowledge holders with repatriation specialists, Indigenous language speakers with digital heritage archivists, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous museum professionals.

My second project is a multi-year, collaborative study of historic and contemporary interactions of the peoples of the central Northwest Coast of BC – Heiltsuk, Nuxalk, Wuikinuxv, and Kwakwaka’wakw. With grants from the Smithsonian Recovering Voices Project, the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art, the Jacobs Research Council, and the Peter Wall Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, I am working to bring Indigenous language speakers, cultural teachers, and artists into dialogue with historic material culture in museum collections in Canada, the US, and Europe. I am interested in the ways that traditional art historic stylistic analysis (ie, formalism, identification of national art styles and individual artists) and anthropological and museological categories and classification systems are employed or refuted by young cultural leaders on the central Northwest Coast.

I hold a joint position as cultural anthropologist in the department of anthropology and museum curator at the UBC Museum of Anthropology. I strive to be both a collaborative museologist and a critical museologist. In this way, I merge practitioner/curator and theoretician/critic as I partner with Indigenous communities to create ethnographic writing, exhibitionary displays, and digital resources that try to feel as true as self-representation, but at the same time be aware and reflexive of the histories, structural inequalities, and contemporary politics in which we are all embroiled.

I research how and why representation is meaningful and often politically charged by studying the ways that visual culture gets variously defined within art galleries and museums, art market economies, world expos and Olympic Games, national and international legal systems, Indigenous cultural centres, schools and tourism sites. In this way, material culture can be mobilized to support or refute claims to identity, status, land, or resource extraction in powerful and evocative manners, which highlight complex social relations between individuals and between cultural communities.


2013 Townsend-Gault, Charlotte, Kramer, Jennifer, and Ki-ke-in (eds.) Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas. UBC Press: Vancouver.

2012 Kramer, Jennifer with Solen Roth and Gloria Cranmer Webster.
Kesu’: The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer.
Douglas & McIntyre Press: Vancouver and University of Washington Press: Seattle.

2006 Kramer, Jennifer Switchbacks: Art, Ownership, and Nuxalk National Identity
UBC Press, Vancouver.


2015 Kramer, Jennifer “Exhibiting Kesu’: The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer” in Northwest Coast Representations: New Perspectives on History, Art, and Encounters. Andreas Etges, Viola König, Rainer Hatoum, Tina Brüderlin (eds.) Reimer Press: Germany 189-197.

2014 Kramer, Jennifer “Heiltsuk Moon Mask” Essay for Otsego Institute Alumni Review.
Uploaded October 31,

2014 Kramer, Jennifer. “Appropriation (?) Of the Month: The Bet of the Broncho and the Raven.” IPinCH (Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage: Theory Practice, Policy, Ethics) Digest.
Uploaded June 19,

2013 Townsend-Gault, Charlotte, Kramer, Jennifer and Ki-ke-in “Introduction: The Idea of Northwest Coast Native Art” in Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas. (Townsend-Gault, Charlotte, Kramer, Jennifer and Ki-ke-in, eds.) UBC Press: Vancouver: 1-14.

2013 Kramer, Jennifer “Fighting with Property: The Double-edged Rhetoric of
Ownership” in Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas. (Townsend-Gault, Charlotte, Kramer, Jennifer and Ki-ke-in, eds.) UBC Press: Vancouver: 720-756.

2009 Kramer, Jennifer “3 catalogue entries” in The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (Carol E. Mayer and Anthony Shelton, eds.)
Douglas & McIntyre: Vancouver & University of Washington Press: Seattle.
38, 39 & 43.

2004 Kramer, Jennifer “Figurative Repatriation: First Nations ‘Artist-Warriors’ Recover, Reclaim, and Return Cultural Property through Self-Definition.” Special Issue: Beyond Art/Artifact/Tourist Art. The Journal of Material Culture. Volume 9(2) (July):161-182.


(In press) Kramer, Jennifer “Möbius Museology: Curating and Critiquing the Multiversity Galleries at the UBC Museum of Anthropology” in Museum Transformations: Art, Culture, History (Annie E. Coombes and Ruth B. Phillips, eds.) Wiley-Blackwell Press.

Curated Temporary Exhibitions

Together Again: Nuxalk Faces of the Sky
Jennifer Kramer curator with ANTH 431/518 student curators
UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC
April 5 – September 30, 2012
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
December 2012 – July 14, 2013

Kesu’: The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer
Jennifer Kramer curator
UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC
March 16 – September 3, 2012
The Museum at Campbell River, Campbell River, BC
October 19, 2012 – February 17, 2013
The U’mista Cultural Centre, Alert Bay, BC
May 11 – October 8, 2013

The Story of Nulis – a Kwakwaka’wakw Imas Mask
Jennifer Kramer curator
UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC
January 22, 2010 – December 15, 2012

Winter 2020

ANTH100A Introduction to Cultural Anthropology - INTRO CULT ANTH Sections

Basic concepts and methods of anthropology; culture and race; comparative study of social systems, religion, symbolism, art, and other institutions. Examples are drawn from a variety of cultures.

Winter 2020

ANTH431C Museum Practice and Curatorship - MUS PRC&CURATRSH Sections

Management of museum collections and their public presentation, addressing questions of access, collaboration, and cultural property. The public interpretation of anthropological concepts and materials utilizing the programs and facilities of the Museum of Anthropology.

2014 Melva J. Dwyer Award, Art Libraries Society of North America – Canadian Chapter for Native Art of the Northwest Coast a History of Changing Ideas
(co-edited by Charlotte Townsend-Gault, Jennifer Kramer and Ki-ke-in. UBC Press (2013), May 3

2012 British Columbia Museums Associations “Museums in Motion Award of Merit” for exhibition: Kesu’: The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer, October 19

2012 2011 Alcuin Society Canadian Book design “pictorial” First Place Kesu’: The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer, Jessica Sullivan (designer), Jennifer Kramer (author) (Douglas & McIntyre Press), April 4

2007 Finalist for K.D. Srivastava Prize for Excellence in Scholarly Publishing 2006, UBC Press awarded to J. Kramer for Switchbacks: Art, Ownership and Nuxalk National Identity (UBC Press, Vancouver 2006)