Tag Archives: Two-Eyed Seeing

Module 3 Weblog – Anne Coustalin

For this module’s Weblog, I focus on teachers and educators as I explore the following questions: How can we prepare ourselves to teach from a land-based approach? Where does land-based education fit with place-based learning?  What examples are there of students using land-based education to walk in both worlds?  I also continue my journey exploring two-eyed seeing and how it helps us understand integrative education.


CBC UnReserved interview with Tasha Spillet: Indigenous Learning on the Land instead of a classroom

In this interview, Tasha Spillet a Cree and Trinidadian Winnepeg educator describes the importance of land-based education for students but also for educators. Ms. Spillet is one of the instructors in the University of Saskatchewan’s land-based education cohort masters degree. She describes how land-based education shifted the way she views herself and the world and she speaks to the importance for educators of engaging in their own land-based education (instead of just reading articles about it). Another interesting feature of this interview was that Ms. Spillet spoke to land-based education in urban settings as benefiting indigenous youth, many of whom are disconnected from their cultural identity and need to be encouraged to also see their urban landscape as their land: “Underneath the concrete is still our land” (Spillet, 2017).

For more about this program, see this article: Land-Based Education: Taking Knowledge back to its roots


Land-based learning brings native and non-native cultures together

(Newspaper article)

“The First” Land-based learning camp (video)

This camp is hosted by the Living Sky School Division. It is purposefully intended to serve Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and restore or rebuild their connection to the land and to each other. Discussion about the initiative emphasizes teaching students to walk in both worlds.  “In these classes we have kids that come from both cultures . . . It is important for kids of native culture to realize the importance of keeping their own culture, but it’s just as important for western people to understand that it is a blessing to have First Nation culture alive”.  The speaker is Kim Pasche, a Swiss-born experiential archeologist and one of the instructors at the camp. He emphasizes to students that all of them (Indigenous and non-Indigenous came from hunter-gatherer society, but for some of them that society has been lost. Indigenous Elders and educators join non-Indigenous educators to explore the land from both perspectives simultaneously.


Indigenous Land-based Learning Programs

This site, created by a fellow UBC student for ETEC 521, highlights several different land-based learning initiatives offered in Canada (and one in the United States). While discussion of the programs on the site is limited, it does offer a brief analysis of the focus and approach of each camp and serves as a useful portal to investigate different land-based learning initiatives. It includes reference to Integrative Science camps in Nunavut that use Two-Eyed Seeing as their guiding philosophy.


Green Teacher: Education for Planet Earth  (Fall 2009 issue)

This issue is dedicated to exploring Two-Eyed Seeing: Integrative Science. It is a treasure trove of work on two-eyed seeing and offers many concrete examples of two-eyed seeing in the context of education. It also links to work on walking in both worlds.

From the editorial: “In this issue we present some of the learning activities that they and others have designed for teaching science in this way, thus enabling students to take the best from both world views, Indigenous and Western” (p. 2). The issue starts with an excellent article by Hatcher, Bartlett, Marshall and Marshall “Two-Eyed Seeing: A cross-cultural science journey” and also includes trans-disciplinary, cross-cultural science units on:  birds; traditional medicines; Traditional legends and astronomy; and Solstices and Equinoxes. This issue is highly recommended to anyone looking for a deeper understanding of Two-Eyed Seeing and concrete examples of what it looks like in the classroom.


Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society (December 2014 edition)

I came across this fantastic Special Issue on Indigenous Land-Based Education in my research. It has a number of great articles and in particular a valuable editorial essay entitled “Learning from the land: Indigenous land based pedagogy and decolonization” by Matthew Wildcat, Mandee McDonald, Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox and Glen Coulthard. I appreciated the connection drawn in this article and in the entire issue between land based education and decolonization. I also appreciated the ability to learn about the related experiences of several different Indigenous groups within that context.

Module 2 Weblog – Anne Coustalin

Module 2 examined stereotypes and the commodification of indigenous social reality. My weblog for this module explores some of those issues but it also continues to represent my search for understanding using the two-eyed seeing approach. This entry contains several examples of online resources that support teachers in growing their understanding of the many complicated issues and understandings involved with the integration of traditional Western and Indigenous approaches to learning.

Math Catcher: Mathematics Through Aboriginal Storytelling

Math Catcher is an initiative launched by various educational institutions and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Mathematical and Computational Sciences. It is based on the belief that it is crucial to engage Aboriginal students in mathematics and science at an early age. The program supports various initiatives including a math camp and a series of film resources for classroom teachers. The films feature a small indigenous boy named Small Number and they explore various mathematics and science concepts through First Nations imagery and storytelling.  The films are made in a variety of First Nations languages and in English. I have personally seen some of these films used in the classroom to great effect.

FNESC (First Nations Education Steering Committee): Science First Peoples

This is a free downloadable online resource for teachers that introduces teachers to the understandings necessary in order to effectively integrate First Nations ways of knowing into their science teaching. FNESC has previously published similar guides for Mathematics and English. The guide details how teachers can use various place-specific themes to explore issues that are relevant to Western and Indigenous cultures. It also provides suggestions for how teachers can develop local resources to support their practice and it provides information on indigenous ways of knowing and worldviews. This resource focuses on how Western and Indigenous understandings of science are complimentary. It does not value one above the other. This approach is helpful to teachers struggling with concerns that Indigenous and Western ways of knowing may be antithetical.

Integrating Western and Aboriginal Sciences: Cross-Cultural Science Teaching

This paper by Glen Aikenhead was published in 2001. It discusses the integration of Western and Aboriginal Sciences in a fascinating way. It views the process of “coming to knowing” of science as a cultural negotiation in which students must experience learning as a cross-cultural event.  “Success at learning the knowledge of nature of another culture depends, in part, on how smoothly one crosses cultural borders. . . In short, a science teacher needs to play the role of tour-guide culture broker”.  The educator makes border crossing explicit and is clear about which culture they are talking in at any given moment. The students could be exploring the culture of Western science in the context of Aboriginal knowledge or vice versa. This article has given me a great deal to think about as it introduces the importance of identifying the colonized and the colonizer and teaching the science of each culture. The article seems to focus primarily on teaching Aboriginal students.

Enabling the Autumn Seed

This paper by Mary Battiste was first published in 1988 but it has been reprinted many times and can be easily found online. In her paper, Battiste rejects the idea that the “add and stir” model of integrating indigenous knowledge and cosmology holds any promise as a means of reconciliation or Aboriginal student success. She contends that in order for education to be meaningful for Aboriginal students, it must include content in the form of language, epistemology and ontology. She emphasizes that Aboriginal language must be embraced and nurtured in education and that language is not simply a series of sounds but rather the socialization of language and knowledge, ways of knowing, and nonverbal and verbal communication.

Assembly of First Nations: Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property Right

This discussion paper was published in   It discusses the problems with the concept of Intellectual Property (IP) as it relates to Aboriginal Traditional knowledge. Aboriginal Traditional knowledge (ATK) is explained and discussed, as is the concept of ownership as it exists in the context of ATK. The crux of the argument is that the IP system is not suitable for protecting ATK, because it demands that ATK fully conform to western epistemology and be proven through western empirical methods in order to be considered valid. It claims that using the notion of “academic rigour” to determine validity of ATK is another form of cultural imperialism. Ultimately it urges the reform of IP laws and the creation of a separate legal regime within the IP system in order to provide legal protection to ATK.

Module 1 Weblog Entry – Anne Coustalin

BCTF Aboriginal Education Teaching Resources


This site is an excellent resource for British Columbia educators wanting to integrate Aboriginal Ways of Knowing into their practice. It provides a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) list of links connecting teachers to relevant resources that provide essential background and perspective on: the treaty process; the historical timeline of European contact and colonization (pre-contact to 2015); Indian Residential Schools and their legacy; and creating an inclusive, racism free classroom community. Of particular note is the BCTF-created document Beyond Words: Creating Racism-Free Schools for Aboriginal Learners. This resource offers practical information that speaks directly to issues teachers may confront in the classroom, with a focus on racism, understanding the rules of culture and how they may present in the classroom, and creating an inclusive community.


Two-Eyed Seeing

Two-Eyed Seeing (Etuaptmumk in Mi’kmaw) is a concept introduced by Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall in 2004. It is described as the guiding principles of how one should live on this Earth and is discussed by Elder Albert Marshall and Cheryl Bartlett. The concept was developed in response to the lack of representation of Indigenous students in the sciences and mathematics, particularly at the university level. It recognizes that there are different ways of looking at the world. The two ways that are particularly relevant in Canada are through the lens of Western science and through an Indigenous lens.  Two-eyed seeing refers to finding the strengths in both paradigms and mindfully bringing them together – drawing upon the deep understandings that each represents. When we employ two-eyed seeing, we very quickly realize that science alone is not going to save the natural world. Instead, a change of mindset must occur and the Indigenous way of seeing must simultaneously be employed so that people have a path to move forward on the planet together. The video describes the concept and provides the context of its introduction.


Two-Eyed Seeing – A Different Vision for Teaching Aboriginal Learners Science and Mathematics

This lecture, delivered by Dr. Michelle Hogue as part of the 2015 PUBlic Professor Series at the University of Lethbridge Alberta, further expands on the concept of two-eyed seeing and describes specific ways that it has been successfully applied to teach math and science to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners at the secondary and post-secondary level. Dr. Hogue describes her own teaching and research as being “focused on the space between Aboriginal ways of knowing and learning and the white western education system . . . the space I call the liminal space” (3:52). She describes this space as a space of possibility rather than a gap. The concept of learning through performing is discussed at length, as are a variety of other multi-layered education opportunities that move through different performance, experiential and theoretical stages.


First Peoples’ Cultural Council


This site provides a wealth of resources to assist in the revitalizations of First Peoples’ heritage, language and culture. For each of those areas, the website lists a number of valuable resources including maps, toolkits, events, programs. Of particular note is the FirstVoices Indigenous language archiving and teaching resource “that allows Indigenous communities to document their language for future generations”. Part of this program is the FirstVoices language tutor (an online interactive First voices language learning program). There are also links to specific language tutor mobile apps in a number of Indigenous languages as well as Aboriginal fonts that may be downloaded to your computer.  While much of the content is geared towards Indigenous communities, there are also resources and information useful to classroom teachers.


Authentic First Peoples Resources (FNESC, FNSA. 2016)


This document provides background into the way resources dealing with Aboriginal content have, in the past, contained false information and inaccurate representations of the unique experiences and world views of Aboriginal peoples. It provides teachers with the rationale for using only authentic Aboriginal resources, as well as guidelines for recognizing for how to recognize those resources. As outlined on the site, authentic First Peoples texts are historical or contemporary texts that

  • Present authentic First Peoples voices (i.e., are created by First Peoples or through the substantial contributions of First Peoples)
  • Depict themes and issues that are important within First Peoples cultures (e.g., loss of identity and affirmation of identity, tradition, healing, role of family, importance of Elders, connection to the land, the nature and place of spirituality as an aspect of wisdom, the relationships between individual and community, the importance of oral tradition, the experience of colonization and decolonization)
  • Incorporate First Peoples story-telling techniques and features as applicable (e.g., circular structure, repetition, weaving in of spirituality, humour).

Module 2.5 – Institute for Integrative Science & Health

The Institute for Integrate Science and Health is a Canadian site that has been non-functional since mid-2013, but is still maintained for its contributions to the science community.  Of particular interest are the articles and videos related to two-eyed seeing, the idea that students benefit from being able to view the world and learn through a Western perspective, as well as the eye from an Indigenous perspective.  Many videos, including interview with elders, are provided that focus on this concept of viewing the world.

Module 1 Post 4: Two-Eyed Seeing – An integrative approach to education

In Hare’s (2011) Learning from Indigenous knowledge in education, there is an emphasis placed on the importance of incorporating Indigenous knowledge and ways of thinking in today’s educational systems. As such, I was curious to see if there were post-secondary institutions that could serve as an example and I came across the Institute for Integrative Science and Health in Nova Scotia.

The program aims to explore science in a manner that is culturally inclusive using the Two-Eyed Seeing as the guiding principle. The Two-Eyed Seeing refers to learning to see the strengths of Indigenous knowledges using one eye and Western knowledges using the other, and then finding ways to learn, see and understand how to know using both eyes together. This video explains the concept in more details.

The site is extremely well organized and could be beneficial to anyone seeking to research ways in which post-secondary institutions are bringing together Indigenous and Western scientific knowledges. The website offers more information in the forms of videos, articles, activities, etc.

I found the approach of Two-Eyed Seeing really captivating and was able to find a few more sites that are informative on the topic and its inclusion in education:

Two-Eyed Seeing: Building Cultural Bridges for Aboriginal Students

Education Programs: Land-Based Camps

Applying Two-Eyed Seeing to Health