Coastal Insights education series – Season 2 launch

Eyes on the Coast: Bridging Indigenous and Western Science-based knowledge.

Drawing upon multiple types of knowledge (e.g., Indigenous knowledge, local knowledge, and science-based knowledge) strengthens our understanding of the natural world and is increasingly being implemented in policy, decision-making, and environmental planning. This approach to science and conservation has been integral to Raincoast’s research and conservation efforts. 

There are many benefits of incorporating multiple types of knowledge in education, environmental research, and conservation. Much of mainstream education in schools in the past has focused on a colonial narrative and approach. It wasn’t until 2015, that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a final report with calls to action to make age appropriate curriculum about the lives of Indigenous people past and present mandatory in schools, and for education ministers to maintain an annual commitment to this, including teacher training. 

Understanding Indigenous knowledge systems and ways of being is the first step, the next step is taking action to build them into curriculum development. The process of including Indigenous history, culture and perspectives into school curricula is still just beginning. Educators often need support in this area, which is part of the reason why Raincoast is championing these concepts in our new online learning series.

Two eyed seeing

Our new education series will use Two‐Eyed Seeing as a guiding framework for learning. Two‐Eyed Seeing (Etuaptmumk in Mi’kmaq) is a principle coined by Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall that describes the co-learning journey of different knowledges and cultures working together.  Specifically, it embraces “learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of mainstream knowledges and ways of knowing, and to use both these eyes together, for the benefit of all.”

It is with great excitement that we launch our newest season of our Coastal Insights, aptly named Eyes on the Coast. Taking off where season 1 ended, we will be diving deeper into coastal British Columbia’s rich history, ecosystems and conservation issues using a two-eyed approach.

Speakers from local communities

Our stellar line-up of guest speakers are some of the leading experts in their fields showcasing Indigenous and scientific work on BC’s coast. I am honoured to be co-creating and co-delivering this new series with Peter Underwood, who is a passionate, young W̱SÁNEĆ leader from the Tsawout First Nation located on Vancouver Island. He will be sharing W̱SÁNEĆ perspectives and knowledge learned from Elders and Knowledge Holders on the topics we discuss.  You will be hearing more from Peter soon. Although the details within each Nation are highly specific to different cultures, we are showcasing teachings within the W̱SÁNEĆ culture as a model to demonstrate some fundamental principles that span across nations and regions. 

The program will be free for anyone to join anywhere and we welcome you to join us on this enriching learning journey. Please feel free to share this invite directly with those learning at home, educators working with grades 4-12 students, or any other interested individuals.

You can help

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.