Robert Tait is a Nisga’a carver born in 1953 to Sadie Nellie (Benson) Tait of the Eagle Clan and Josiah Tait of the Wolf Clan. Robert inherits his Eagle clan status matrilinealy from his mother, Sadie Tait. Robert comes from a very talented family joining the ranks of his two older brothers Norman and Alver Tait.
Robert is an experienced wood carver, carving such objects as ladles, bowls, masks, canoes, traditional ceremonial regalia, and monumental totem poles. Robert is also an accomplished jeweller, with works in silver and gold. In 1980 he completed a carving and design course taught by his brother, renowned Nisga’a Master carver Norman Tait. After completion of the course, Robert went on to apprentice under his brother.
During his apprenticeship, Robert contributed to the carving of two canoes in which the carvers themselves traveled from Prince Rupert to his ancestral traditional territory, the Nisga’a village of Gitgingolx through the Nass river. In 1981, he was off to Chicago to dance and raise a 60 foot Nisga’a totem pole which was given the traditional name “Big Beaver” which was carved for the Chicago Field Museum.
Robert continued his work with his brother Norman who was commissioned to carve four Totem poles for the Vancouver area. In 1985, the 42 foot “Wil Sayt Bakwhlgat,” translated “Where the people gather,” totem pole; in 1986, the North Vancouver Capilano Mall, two totem poles, 30 and 45 feet. These monuments have an additional back slab that has been carved and mounted at the rear of the poles; and in 1987, the “Big Beaver” 35 foot totem pole, raised at Stanley Park, Brockton Point.
Robert has developed his own style clearly reminiscent of his ancestry; he enjoys incorporating fine detail into his designing along with achieving dimension by way of a gouging technique. He is best known for his whimsical depictions of Hummingbirds with eloquent foliage.