Muiwatmnej Etuaptmumk Conference Presenter Bios

Insights and Innovators

Welcome to an enlightening exploration of the presentations and presenters for our event.

Vision to Action - CEPI History, Mandate, and Goals for the Conference

Amanda Mombourquette, Mary Beth Doucette, Ron Newcombe, & Stan Johnson

Embark on an inspiring journey with us as we unveil the transformative work of the Bras d’Or CEPI. This presentation, led by our new co-chairs Mary Beth Doucette and Amanda Mombourquette, alongside key members Stan Johnson and Ron Newcombe, will highlight the collaborative spirit and strategic vision driving the Bras d’Or CEPI.

Discover the essence of the Bras d’Or Watershed through captivating imagery and insights, illustrating the critical role of CEPI in facilitating a management planning process that transcends traditional approaches. Our focus is on creating a dynamic co-learning environment and fostering collaborative governance for the sustainable stewardship of this precious ecosystem.

Delve into the unique structure and identity of CEPI, understanding how it brings together a diverse array of organizations and individuals with a shared passion for the lake. We will explore the challenges we face, our strategies for overcoming them, and our vision for the future.

Through compelling examples, learn about the impactful initiatives and task teams that CEPI has mobilized to address knowledge gaps and spearhead proactive environmental management. These stories will showcase our commitment to creating standards and guidelines that reflect our collective values and goals.

Join us as we make a passionate call to action. We invite you to become part of this exciting journey, to contribute your research, ideas, and energy. Whether you’re interested in tourism, environmental research, or simply seeking to connect with a like-minded community, CEPI offers a platform for engagement and impact.

This is more than a presentation; it’s a window into a vibrant, action-oriented community dedicated to the well-being of the Bras d’Or Lakes. Be a part of this remarkable movement and help shape a sustainable and thriving future for one of our nation’s most treasured ecosystems.

A dedicated coordinator for the Bras d’Or Lakes CEPI and a proactive member of the Eskasoni First Nation, deeply involved in sustainable energy and environmental initiatives.

Stan Johnson is the Bras d’Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative (CEPI) coordinator from the Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton. The CEPI is a unique organization where four levels of government come together to work on economic, environmental, and sustainability issues for the people of the Bras d’Or Lake. Stan also worked as a Senior Researcher for the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment at Cape Breton University. Stan is also on the Board of Directors for the Bras d’Or Lakes Biosphere Reserve Association (BLBRA) and the Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP). Stan is also a Graduate of the Energy Sustainability Engineering and Technology program at NSCC and is currently finalizing his MBA in Community Economic Development at Cape Breton University. Stan is also the president of Nakuset Energy, specializing in new home construction, new home design, energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades, renewable energy recommendations, and residential and commercial energy audits.

A creative Cape Breton artist and communicator, Ron is deeply engaged in environmental stewardship as the Assistant Coordinator of CEPI, with a passion for SCUBA diving and underwater photography.

With a background in communications, Ron began supporting the work of CEPI in the early days of the organizations formation. In 2019 Ron joined CEPI full time as a co-coordinator under Stan Johnson. Additionally, as an avid scuba diver Ron enjoys a unique perspective on the Bras d’Or Lakes.

A collaborative innovator from Unama’ki (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia), who melds Indigenous-led business and community economic development with Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing principles, advancing integrated learning and policy administration in organizations.

I am Mi’kmaq/Canadian from Unama’ki’ (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) and Membertou community member. I was honored to be appointed as the Co-Chair of the Bras d’Or Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative in the spring 2023. Professionally, I hold the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies at Cape Breton University’s Shannon School of Business. My research is focused on Indigenous-led business Community Economic Development, policy administration, and curriculum development. I work with organizations that strive to use collaborative co-learning approaches to integrate an Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing lens throughout their operations.

A dynamic leader and economic developer, Amanda dedicates her career to enhancing business growth and community prosperity through innovative educational initiatives and strategic local governance.

From St. Peter’s in Richmond County, Warden Amanda Mombourquette has a degree in business administration with a major in information systems from St. Francis Xavier University. With experience at international and local levels, Amanda’s background includes economic development, strategic planning, business counseling, measurement and evaluation, workshop facilitation, contract negotiation, financial and project management, and adult education. 

Amanda has a passion for the well-being of Unama’ki Cape Breton and has held various economic and business development roles.  She works as a Community Innovation Lead at the Nova Scotia Community College  helping businesses and organizations with their workforce development needs and training. Prior to her role at NSCC, she was the Executive Director of the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, providing a leadership role on all matters related to business advocacy for over 350 businesses. 

Amanda was elected to Municipal Council in Richmond County in 2020 and currently serves as Councillor for District 4 and Warden for the County.

In addition to co-chairing CEPI, Amanda serves on several boards and committees across the province including the Celtic Colours International Festival, the Forestry Sector Council of Nova Scotia, and  the Strait of Canso Offshore Wind Task Force.  

Amanda has a strong belief that creating positive change and innovation in rural Nova Scotia will contribute to the social and economic prosperity of all communities across the province – enabling more people to choose our communities as a place to live, work and invest. Amanda and her husband Floyd live in Grande Greve where they raised their two children, Ryan and Julia. 

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A Two-Eyed Seeing Framework for Tourism Development

Eleanor Anderson

This presentation explores the challenges and opportunities related to the application of Etuaptmumk Two-eyed Seeing by Indigenous and non-Indigenous tourism decision makers.

Kwe is a Mi’kmaq word that can mean hello, but also can often serve as a bridge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Kwe is a fitting start as we bridge two worlds, Indigenous and colonial, to undertake an exploration of multiple perspectives toward a common purpose. The inter-generational approach to this presentation is unique with the two presenters bringing different perspectives in a true example of turning the Etuaptmumk Two-Eyed Seeing vision into action.

Eleanor Anderson has worked more than three decades in various tourism and related sectors and is a tourism researcher and educator. Kelly Paul is from Membertou and is a current student of tourism, with excellent work experiences and education to her credit. From different points in our tourism careers, we will bring our cultural, generational, educational, and experiential perspectives together for a critical analysis of tourism planning.

The Etuaptmumk Two-Eyed Seeing approach is strengthened by the embracing of multiple perspectives to challenge existing tourism research norms.

We will examine the role played by Indigenous knowledge in destination tourism planning and how we might emerge from the recent pandemic with new insights and creative methods to not only overcome the unprecedented challenges brought on by Covid-19, but to build capacity and strengthen the sector long term. Enhancing an understanding of the Indigenous vision of sustainability and how it might be applied to tourism development is one topic we will explore.

Indigenous voices are critical to tourism development in the post-Covid planning context if Indigenous aspirations for community development are to be realized (Hutchison, Movono and Scheyvens 2021). While tourism can provide a pathway to economic growth for Indigenous communities, the exploration of Indigenous knowledge systems and wider Indigenous-informed approaches can positively contribute to transforming business, health, and education for a more positive global society (Carr 2020). Whether it be for the advancement of Indigenous peoples or collaboration with established western approaches, the benefits of Indigenous inclusion could be transformational for the tourism industry on its post-pandemic journey.

This presentation addresses several of the conference areas of interest including multi-disciplinary (i.e. research, tourism, sustainability), inter-generational in its approach, and economic development

A sustainable tourism advocate and educator, Eleanor integrates global research with local tourism development.

Eleanor has worked in the tourism sector her entire career. With a keen interest in destination management from a sustainable tourism perspective and how communities and organizations build capacity. Eleanor’s tourism roles have included event management, marketing, research, product development, strategic planning, and stakeholder communications. She has participated in five training sessions in Canada and the US hosted by Al Gore and the Climate Project Canada. Currently, she is Project Manager with the World Tourism Institute at Cape Breton University, where she teaches tourism and business communications part time.

Apoqnmatulti'k: Working together for a healthy and resilient ocean

Alanna Syliboy, Evelien VanderKloet, Shelley Denny, & Skyler Jeddore

This session will focus on how to build strong and inclusive collaborative research partnerships based on trust and respect. Project partners will share stories about their experiences, challenges, lessons learned and achievements from working together. Attendees will gain firsthand insight into how different knowledge systems strengthen research, inform stewardship and management decisions, and contribute to a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

  • A healthy and resilient aquatic environment requires bringing together diverse perspectives and knowledge systems to understand challenges and co-develop solutions that foster shared stewardship and management of aquatic resources.
  • Guided by the principle of Etuaptmumk, Apoqnmatulti’k offers a model for meaningful collaboration and a way forward for aquatic stewardship.

An influential community educator, spearheading educational initiatives and serving as a key liaison in environmental and cultural projects.

Alanna is the Community, Education & Engagement Manager with the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group (Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq). She is also the co-chair of Apoqnmatulti’k and serves as the community liaison for the Bay of Fundy study site.

A skilled operations manager at OTN, steering strategic planning and programs inspired by a deep connection with Canada’s wilderness.

Evelien VanderKloet is the senior operations manager at OTN. Evelien helps guide the administration of the project and acquire additional resources for research and infrastructure operations and maintenance.

Advocates for Two-Eyed Seeing in fisheries management, fostering collaborative relationships across various sectors.

Shelley Denny, Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources: Shelley is a Senior Advisor at the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources. Shelley is an expert in Two-Eyed Seeing and is passionate about using community knowledge to inform fisheries management. Shelley has helped Apoqnmatulti’k foster relationships between Mi’kmaw, academic, and local partners through making space for meaningful dialogue and co-learning.

Connects local and Mi’kmaw fishers with OTN, contributing to monitoring and research efforts in the Bras d’Or Lake area.

Skyler is the community liaison and field technician for the Bras d’Or Lake and works closely with OTN & UINR. Skyler connects with local and Mi’kmaw fishers, tags animals, collects samples and helps with monitoring field equipment.

Aqamoqey Pu’taliewey: From Forest To Basket - Knowledge Sharing In Practice

Anoogwa Pictou, Jill Francis, John Andrew Francis, and Lenley Melvin

The presentation will share the lived experience of the panelists on the project. This project involves a series of building block lessons designed to provide Earth keepers and community members with the knowledge and on the land (practical) skills needed to carry on the tradition of basket making and to pass it on to future generations. A primary aim of the project has been to allow Earth keepers ample time to acquire, consolidate and refine the knowledge transfer as well as gain the experience and confidence needed to transfer traditional basket making knowledge to their communities, both during these initial workshops and beyond. 

To date, the project has completed initial workshops conducted in three communities which involved: identifying suitable trees, harvesting the trees using netukulimk, and preparing the strips. The next phase of the project to be held over the winter, following traditional seasonal practices, will cover the weaving.

In the workshops, Elder and Teacher John Andrew Francis, teaches about the cultural significance of basket making to the Mi’kmaq, the importance of preserving this tradition for future generations, and the environmental benefits of small-scale harvesting for basket-making. Specifically, this project focuses on honouring, harvesting, and utilizing white ash, an abundant species on the mainland of Nova Scotia. This not only relieves potential resource usage pressure from the species at risk, black ash, but also centers a culturally significant species that will increasingly need care and attention with growing pressures from  invasive species and climate change. 

Overall, the workshops are a valuable experience in preserving the cultural traditions and practice of the Mi’kmaq people while promoting cultural and sustainable practices for the future. The presentation will be a discussion between the panelists about their experiences during the initial workshops held in spring and summer of 2023 and how they interpret etuaptmumk in their teaching, learning
and doing. This discussion will be supported by photos, videos, and will highlight key points.

Key Relevant Areas: Intergenerational Engagement, Natural Resources and the Environment, Education,Culture

An Earthkeeper deeply engaged in land-based projects, championing environmental stewardship and cultural heritage preservation.

Anoogwa Pictou, an esteemed Earthkeeper from the Paqtnkek First Nation, is deeply engaged in enriching and preserving the environmental and cultural heritage of his community. His commitment to land-based projects not only promotes environmental stewardship but also serves as a vital link to the cultural traditions of the Mi’kmaq people.

A dedicated Knowledge Learner, deeply involved in preserving and learning Mi’kmaw cultural traditions and environmental stewardship.

Alongside respected figures like her father, John Andrew Francis, her involvement in projects such as “Aqamoqey Pu’taliewey: From Forest to Basket” underscores her commitment to absorbing and perpetuating the deep-rooted skills and wisdom of her community. Jill’s journey is a vibrant example of intergenerational learning, embodying a dynamic blend of reverence for tradition and a forward-looking approach to cultural preservation and environmental stewardship within the Mi’kmaw Nation.

An Earthkeeper and educator, imparting wisdom in Mi’kmaq basketry traditions and nurturing community connections with nature.

With his deep-rooted understanding of Mi’kmaq culture and traditions, he plays a pivotal role in educating and inspiring his community. As a dedicated Earthkeeper, his expertise not only encompasses the intricate craftsmanship of basket making but also extends to fostering a profound connection with the land, ensuring that these invaluable cultural practices are preserved and passed down through generations. His teachings are a testament to the resilience and richness of Mi’kmaq heritage.

An Earthkeeper dedicated to promoting traditional ecological knowledge and practices, enhancing community connections with nature.

His commitment to environmental stewardship and his active involvement in initiatives that strengthen the bond between communities and the natural world mark him as a key proponent in the quest to maintain and nurture the rich environmental legacy of his culture. His work not only fosters a deeper understanding of traditional ecological methods but also ensures their continuity for future generations, making him an integral part of sustaining the balance and harmony with nature.


Beyond Words: A Settler Scientist Walks University Students Into Two-eyed Seeing

Bob Bailey

Unlike Cape Breton University, the story of Indigenous Studies and Two-eyed Seeing at Ontario Tech University has happened in the very recent past, mainly inspired by the TRC. I will sketch this journey and talk about the unique challenges of a settler presenting two-eyed seeing in a university with large Engineering, Health Sciences, Science, and Social Science & Humanities graduate and undergraduate programs but a very small amount of resources to Indigenous programs.

  • All university teaching, but especially two-eyed seeing, is a shared walk, not a bus tour
  • Progress in Indigenization of the university requires both commitment at the top, passion in the trenches, and humility throughout.

An ecology and environmental science educator, pioneering the Two-Eyed Seeing approach in his university curriculum.

Bob has been teaching and researching ecology and environmental science for more than 40 years. While working as an academic administrator at Cape Breton University, he learned about two-eyed seeing. Now that he is “just a prof” again, he has developed and is delivering a course, Two-eyed Seeing in the Natural Sciences, to students at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, Ontario.

Earth's Message

David Suzuki

Known for his profound insights and captivating storytelling, Suzuki’s talk is set to be a highlight, offering a unique perspective on environmental issues and our connection with the natural world. His wealth of experience and deep understanding promise an enlightening and inspiring session, sure to spark meaningful conversations and motivate us towards a more sustainable future.

A global icon in environmental activism, dedicated to promoting sustainable ecological practices and environmental education.

A globally recognized environmental activist and educator. With a lifelong dedication to advocating for sustainable ecological practices, he has become a pivotal figure in the discourse on environmental stewardship. His extensive work, encompassing broadcasting, writing, and activism, has played a significant role in raising awareness about the importance of preserving our planet for future generations. Suzuki’s influential voice and tireless efforts have made him a respected and powerful advocate for the environment, inspiring individuals and communities worldwide to engage in meaningful actions towards a more sustainable future.

Etuaptmumk and Reciprocity - Examples from Unama'ki - UINR and Province of NS

Clare Robinson & Patricia Nash

The Kluscap Wilderness Area is approximately 2,800 ha in size and located northwest of Sydney in Unama’ki (also known as Cape Breton Island). The area is sacred to the Mi’kmaq with legends based on a number of features including Kluskap’s cave, Stone Maidens, and Kluskap’s mountain. In 2020, following engagement with Mi’kmaw communities, this area was identified as part of a larger area for the establishment of a Mi’kmaw Protected and Conserved Area (MPCA).
As part of a Pathway to Target 1 Challenge project, funded by the government of Canada, Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources and the Province of Nova Scotia formed a working group in 2020 to oversee the long-term care and governance of the Kluscap Wilderness Area as part of the MPCA. This presentation will highlight how the working group evolved into a co-governance group, the development and signing of a unique shared understanding agreement, the importance of ethical space, and how relationships were built and knowledges shared on the land. We hope that these examples can be used as models for other co-governance arrangements in Canada.

Lisa Young, UINR
Annie Johnson, UINR
Craig Smith, Province of Nova Scotia

A Protected Areas Planner with extensive experience in environmental advocacy, focusing on Mi’kmaw conservation partnerships.

Clare has worked in the environment and conservation field for over 25 years. She began her career assessing and remediating contaminated sites in the Canadian Arctic, working closely with northern people and communities impacted by contamination from abandoned military sites. Clare is currently a Protected Areas Planner with Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change where she works to support Mi’kmaw-led IPCA proposals and plays a leadership role in facilitating the co-governance of Kluskap Wilderness Area with colleagues from UINR. Imagining and creating meaningful opportunities for co-learning through greater Mi’kmaw involvement in conservation planning guides her work and inspires her daily.

Her work weaves Haudenosaunee roots and zoology into leading Indigenous conservation and self-determination efforts.

Patricia Nash is the Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) Program Manager at Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources based in Eskasoni First Nation, NS. She spent her youth on the land and waters of her Haudenosaunee ancestors in Ontario, and has a degree in Zoology. Trish has had the honour and privilege to work with First Nation and Inuit organizations across Canada on self-determination.

Fireside chat - Celebrating Etuaptmumk - Then and now

Albert Marshall & Shelley Denny

Join us for an exhilarating fireside chat at our conference, featuring a dynamic conversation between two titans in the field of Indigenous knowledge and environmental stewardship: Elder Albert Marshall and Shelley Denny. Moderated by the esteemed Dan Christmas, this informal yet profound discussion promises to be a highlight of the event.

Dan will guide this engaging conversation, delving into the rich experiences and profound knowledge of both speakers. Expect a blend of personal anecdotes, insightful discussions on environmental stewardship, and a deep exploration of the Two-Eyed Seeing approach.

This fireside chat is not just a discussion; it’s a journey through the realms of wisdom, experience, and passion for the natural world and its preservation. It’s an opportunity to witness a meeting of minds that have significantly shaped the landscape of Indigenous knowledge and environmental conservation. Don’t miss this chance to be part of a conversation that promises to be as enlightening as it is inspiring.

His advocacy in integrative science and etuaptmumk has been pivotal in fostering collaboration on Indigenous and environmental health across Canada.

Elder Albert Marshall of the Moose Clan, Mi’kmaw Nation, advocates for the integration of Indigenous and Western knowledge through his Two-Eyed Seeing approach. Born in Eskasoni, Cape Breton, he survived the Shubenacadie Residential School, an experience that fueled his lifelong mission for cultural reconciliation and environmental stewardship. A fluent Mi’kmaw speaker and environmental champion, he’s been pivotal in numerous initiatives, including the Integrative Science program at Cape Breton University and the designation of Bras d’Or Lake as a biosphere reserve. His teachings and advocacy continue to inspire a deeper understanding of Mi’kmaw culture and sustainable living practices.

Focuses on research, technical support, and stewardship to enhance the Bras d’Or Lakes ecosystem and advocate for sustainable environmental practices

Shelley Denny, a Senior Advisor at the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources, is an expert in Two-Eyed Seeing and community-based fisheries management. Her work in fostering relationships between Mi’kmaw, academic, and local partners has been pivotal in creating spaces for meaningful dialogue and co-learning. Shelley’s expertise in integrating Indigenous knowledge with scientific approaches has been a cornerstone in advancing sustainable fisheries management and environmental conservation.

Growing the Grey Seal Industry in Nova Scotia

Ashley Sprague & Charles Doucette

Since 2019, Perennia, in partnership with Membertou, Potlotek and Pictou Landing First Nations and other industry partners, has led a multi-phased project to build the capacity of Nova Scotia’s sealing industry. The aim is to generate a long term, commercially viable, sustainable, and profitable sealing industry focused on maximizing utilization of the resource while addressing growing concerns over seal predation impacts on commercial, recreational and subsistence fisheries.

To date, the project team has been successful in recruiting and training harvesters, undertaking small annual pilot harvests to obtain resources for product development and analysis, and identifying new market opportunities.
The presentation will focus on how key partnerships were formed between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups to grow this project, progress made to date to sustainably harvest and fully utilize the resource to pursue a number of economic opportunities for local communities, challenges and opportunities that were encountered throughout the project, and what the future of a commercial seal fishery could look like in Nova Scotia. Charles will discuss a youth harvest that was led by Potlotek First Nations to teach skills to younger generations, and a new initiave to share knowledge and training on working with seal pelts.

A marine biology specialist, driving growth and innovation in Nova Scotia’s seafood industry with a focus on sustainable practices.

As the Manager of Seafood for Perennia Food and Agriculture Corporation, Ashley leads a number of projects and funding programs to support growth, diversification and innovation in Nova Scotia Seafood sector. Ashley Sprague is a biologist with over 15 years of experience in marine and coastal research, policy, conservation planning, and climate change adaptation Ashley has been the lead of the efforts to build capacity in Nova Scotia’s sealing industry since 2019. Previously, Ashley worked as the Coastal Coordinator with Nova Scotia’s Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre.

A leader in Indigenous fisheries management, advocating for sustainable practices and youth engagement in Potlotek First Nations.

Charles has been the Director of Fisheries for Potlotek First Nations since 2012. He was previously employed as an Aboriginal Fisheries Guardian and as a Conservation Officer with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. Charles has partnered with Membertou First Nations and Perennia to advance the seal industry since 2019. He organized a local youth seal harvest in 2021.

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Healing Generational Trauma through the Eastern Door Centre's Innovative Approach

Dr. Lori Cox, Daniel Christmas, Gail Christmas

Join Dr. Cox, alongside Dan Christmas and his nine-year-old daughter Gail, for a groundbreaking presentation on the application of Two-Eyed Seeing in the realm of healthcare, specifically in addressing and healing trauma-based developmental conditions such as FASD, ADHD, and ASD. This session will delve into the innovative ways in which Two-Eyed Seeing – the harmonious integration of Indigenous wisdom and Western scientific knowledge – has been utilized to develop unique tools and approaches for the assessment and treatment of these conditions.

Dr. Cox will share insights into the tools developed under this framework and discuss some of the remarkable results achieved. The presentation will be enriched by the personal experiences of Dan and his daughter Gail, providing a real-life perspective on how these approaches have positively impacted Gail’s medical health.

This session is more than just a presentation; it’s a narrative of healing, innovation, and the power of combining diverse knowledge systems for the betterment of health and well-being. It’s an opportunity to witness firsthand the practical application of Two-Eyed Seeing in a crucial area of human development and health. Whether you’re a healthcare professional, educator, or someone interested in holistic approaches to health, this presentation promises to be enlightening and inspiring.”

A pioneering researcher and clinician, merging traditional healing with modern medicine to improve outcomes in Indigenous communities.

Dr. Lori Vitale Cox is a community researcher and clinician who works in Elsipogtog First Nation where she is the Director and founder of the Eastern Door Center.that opened in 2006. The ED uses a Two-Eyed Seeing approach to diagnosis, prevention and intervention of trauma related neurodevelopmental disorders such as FASD, ASD, ADHD. A traditional healer as well as physician give insights that inform the assessment process. The. Nogemag Healing Lodge is another part of the ED and it has been offering healing on the land winter and summer programs in collaboration with community She has been active in FASD research, diagnosis, and intervention for many years designing the Medicine Wheel Tools and the TES Two Eyed Seeing Assessment Wheel in collaboration with the FN elder on the team Noel Milliea. The approach at the ED is inspired by Elders Murdena and Albert Marshall. FASD in the community has significantly decreased and many of the affected youth involved in the programs have gone on to complete high school and to live productive livesA few years ago she was appointed as adjunct professor at UBC Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine where she is collaborating with the faculty there on the CIHR research.

Daniel Christmas, a visionary Mi’kmaw leader and respected elder, brings a unique and deeply personal perspective to the upcoming presentation. As a father, he shares his journey alongside his daughter, Gail, through the innovative approaches to healing at the Eastern Door Centre. His role in this presentation is not as a leader but as a parent witnessing and supporting his daughter’s journey through the integration of Two-Eyed Seeing in healthcare. This intimate and powerful narrative showcases the transformative impact of combining Indigenous wisdom with modern medical practices, highlighting the importance of understanding and healing generational trauma. Dan’s presence, along with his daughter Gail, underscores the significance of family and community in the journey towards healing and well-being.

Indigenous approach to Decolonization

Jeff Ward

Decolonization requires an understanding of Indigenous history and acceptance and acknowledgement of the truth and consequences of that history. 

The process of decolonization must include non-Indigenous people and Indigenous Peoples working toward a future that includes all. Let’s examine the common 5 step approach with the addition of indigenous knowledge, with the help of Ceremony and the 8 pointed star. Each phase can be experienced at the same time or in various combinations. Like the steps of colonization, these phases of decolonization do not have clear demarcations between each other. 

NOTE: This presentation is in place of Sarah Thomas of ClearSeas, who couldn’t join us today. Please make a note in your program.

An active community member who works with non-profit organizations and First Nations organizations.

Jeff has a passion for Ceremony and Education of Authentic Indigenous Knowledge and helping marginalized communities thrive. He is the current General Manager of the Membertou Heritage Park and Co-chair of the Membertou inter-agency committee and President of the Cape Breton Boys and Girls Club. He is a graduate of Cape Breton University and is currently studying part-time for an MBA in Community Development. A Husband, Father of 4 and Grandfather. 

Indigenous Tourism Reconcili-Action: Two Eyed Seeing - Etuaptmumk Perspectives

Robert Bernard, NSITEN

In this insightful presentation, we explore the concept of ‘Tourism Reconcili-Action’ from an Indigenous perspective, focusing on Etuaptmumk, or Two-Eyed Seeing. This approach melds Indigenous wisdom with contemporary practices in tourism, advocating for true collaboration and understanding.

The talk emphasizes the importance of authentic Indigenous representation and leadership in tourism, advocating for Indigenous voices in decision-making, policy development, and advisory roles. We will address how to challenge systemic barriers and myths, using Etuaptmumk to reshape the narrative and practices in Canadian tourism.

This presentation is a call to action, highlighting pathways for respectful and effective partnership in Indigenous tourism, ensuring that it is shaped by those who know it best: the Indigenous communities themselves.

A cultural entrepreneur, blending traditional Mi’kmaw heritage with strategic initiatives in tourism and Indigenous relations.

An entrepreneurial force in Indigenous tourism and Mi’kmaw authenticity, this business owner leads a network focused on the resurgence of Mi’kmaw culture through authentic tourism experiences, orchestrating projects that safeguard traditional practices and narratives, while also coordinating regional efforts for a national tourism body to amplify Indigenous presence in the sector.


Karen Bernard

This presentation will provide the audience with insights into my personal journey, a historical overview of the Kinis’kwe’j, and a brief discussion of the workshops I deliver. The key points include:

  1. My Elder: Jane Meader
  2. The importance of the revival of this piece of regalia
  3. Workshop details and Kinis’kwe’j display

A social justice advocate, addressing inequalities and enriching her work with Indigenous storytelling and knowledge preservation.

Karen resides in Wekoqmaq First Nation and a very proud Mi’kmaq woman who is a a descendant of the Indian residential school. The daughter of the late Mi’kmaw Oka warrior Lawerence (Lunch) Bernard and Shubenacadie residential school survivor Lena Bernard. Sister to 5 siblings and mother of two.

Worked on the front line within Unamaki for various First Nation organizations for close to twenty four years  dealing with all social justice issues from poverty, family violence, suicide, MMIWG , justice for aboriginal victims, addictions, residential school, Gender based violence, mental health, human trafficking and a true advocate in caring for our people. 

I was appointed as a council member to the Nova Scotia advisory council for the status of women in 2017 with my term ending in February 2023. I co-chair FOCUS which encourages women leadership, and part time program manager with The Mi’kmaw Circle of Hope Society. Also a traditional knowledge holder, consultant, researcher, published author, public speaker, event planner, and workshop facilitator.

Land Based Learning/Traditional Tools workshop

Terry Denny

We are thrilled to welcome Terry Denny to our conference, where he will share his profound knowledge and insights on topics central to Mi’kmaq culture and heritage. Attendees can expect an engaging exploration into land-based learning and the art of traditional tool-making. Terry’s expertise promises to offer a deep dive into the relationship between the Mi’kmaq people and their environment, highlighting the importance of traditional practices in contemporary times. This session is poised to be an enlightening experience, blending historical wisdom with practical skills, and offering a unique perspective on the enduring legacy of Mi’kmaq craftsmanship and environmental stewardship.

A dedicated Mi’kmaw Knowledge Keeper and storyteller who passionately preserves and shares the rich heritage of Mi’kmaw culture and traditions through engaging land-based education and captivating storytelling.

Terry Denny, a Mi’kmaw Knowledge Keeper and storyteller from Eskasoni, now residing in Potlotek First Nation, is renowned for his dedication to preserving Mi’kmaw language and culture through traditional storytelling. Deeply connected to his roots, he engages in land-based teaching, sharing his skills in bow making, trapping, and eel spearing with students, and passing on animal and nature-focused Mi’kmaw legends and myths. Denny’s work is pivotal in keeping the oral traditions of the Mi’kmaq alive, offering vital lessons in human and nature relationships. His approach to teaching, influenced by his late grandfather’s ‘silent teaching’ method, emphasizes observation and hands-on learning, preserving the rich tapestry of Mi’kmaw heritage for future generations.

Learning from Nature: A "Natural" Approach to Adaptive Ecosystems Management

Brian Eddy

Yes, I believe there is a common ground between western science and Indigenous knowledge!

The common ground we have between western science and Indigenous knowledge is right under our feet!  It is quite simply ‘the Earth/ugs’tqamug’.  From this Earth, clues to how we can reconcile our human place in nature for a more sustainable future exist in observing how all other animals have learned to evolve and adapt, and apply those same principles to how we humans can do the same. Dr. Eddy will present some ideas on how this can be achieved, and invites passionate discussion on this approach.

Key Takeaways:

  • There is a common ground between western science and Indigenous knowledge: ‘Earth/ugs’tqamug’.
  • Clues to how we can solve many of our problems exist in learning from nature, particularly how other animals have learned to evolve and adapt to change.
  • Such clues are captured in an Adaptive Management Information Ecosystem (AMIE) framework that makes room for both scientific and Indigenous perspectives.

A research scientist specializing in mapping technologies for environmental management and ecosystem-based management frameworks.

Dr. Brian Eddy is a research scientist with Natural Resources Canada. He currently lives, works and plays in Corner Brook, Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland), and is originally from Unama’kik (Cape Breton).  Since leaving Unama’kik as a child, Brian has lived, worked and travelled to many places throughout his career of nearly 40 years, including all regions of Canada, and internationally as far away as Russia.  His experience covers Earth systems, natural resources and adaptive management, and integrating human and environmental information for sustainability.

Although his professional interests are primarily scientific research, he is very passionate about philosophy and culture and how we can envision new ways of reconciling different worldviews regarding our human place on Earth.  For this reason, he is interested in how we may advance the use of Two-Eyed Seeing in decision-making on important issues of today. With this in mind, Brian will share some new ideas on how we may find a common ground for western science with Indigenous knowledge.

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Maskwio'mi - A re-discovered Mi'kmaw Medicine

Matthias Bierenstiel

25 years ago, Young heard a story of maskwio’mi from the 1920’ies from two Elders in Membertou – one of the Elders has since passed away. Young pieced together what maskwio’mi is and how the extract is made, thus, preserving this traditional Mi’kmaq knowledge. Young and Bierenstiel work at Cape Breton University and met in a chance encounter 10 years ago. Bierenstiel, a chemist, provides his expertise as the extract is obtained in a chemical transformation of bark into a viscous oil in a campfire method. To date, they obtained over $1M in health research funding, including the largest CIHR grant at CBU, to study maskwio’mi’s medicinal properties.

From the beginning, Young and Bierenstiel established the bark project in harmony with the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, based on the principle of Etuaptmumk, or 2-Eyed Seeing, which balances Mi’kmaq traditional knowledge and western science. Young, as ethnobotanist and Indigenous researcher, taught Membertou community members the traditional way of making maskwio’mi in a Pillar called ‘Awakening of the Knowledge’. Bierenstiel carefully translated the maskwio’mi stories into chemistry and developed a proprietary extraction technology simulating the campfire. Young and Bierenstiel dounder Maswkiomin company in 2020 with its mission of the Ethical Commercialization of a traditional Mi’kmaw medicine.

The presentation will be about the story of maskwio’mi and Maskwiomin and how 2-Eyed Seeing was fundamental since the start of the project.

A chemist and educator, combining innovative research with community service and personal interests in woodworking and cooking.

Matthias Bierenstiel is a chemist and originally from Germany. He is over 20 years in Canada and moved to Sydney, Nova Scotia, 17years ago establishing an independent chemistry research lab at CBU. To date, he attracted over $7M in research funding for his fundamental and applied research projects. He also shares a passion for teaching and received a CBU Teaching Award in 2015 and a 2016 regional Teaching Award from the Association of Atlantic Universities. He is a volunteer fire fighter in Coxheath. He enjoys time with his family, likes woodworking and is a passionate cook.

Net-Zero Unama'ki: A Partnership Engage Grant

Mary Beth Doucette

Join Mary Beth Doucette for a concise overview of “Net-Zero Unama’ki: A Partnership Engage Grant.” This presentation will explore the integration of Indigenous knowledge and environmental sustainability in Unama’ki (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia), highlighting the project’s aim for net-zero emissions through the lens of Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing principles.

NOTE: This presentation is in place of Chris Googoo of Ulnooweg, who couldn’t join us today. Please make a note in your program.

A collaborative innovator from Unama’ki (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia), who melds Indigenous-led business and community economic development with Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing principles, advancing integrated learning and policy administration in organizations.

I am Mi’kmaq/Canadian from Unama’ki’ (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) and Membertou community member. I was honored to be appointed as the Co-Chair of the Bras d’Or Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative in the spring 2023. Professionally, I hold the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies at Cape Breton University’s Shannon School of Business. My research is focused on Indigenous-led business Community Economic Development, policy administration, and curriculum development. I work with organizations that strive to use collaborative co-learning approaches to integrate an Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing lens throughout their operations.

New Perspectives, Challenges, and Collaborations with Historical Indigenous Sound Collections

Darrell Bernard & Marcia Ostashewski

This collaborative presentation, jointly delivered by a Mi’kmaw Elder and a Ukrainian-Canadian university-based researcher, addresses an example of a new applied music research project that draws on both Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledges, practices, and strategies to find good ways of working with, honouring, and sharing historical Indigenous sound collections. The current project, leading to the re-release of the Sons of Membertou album Wapena’kik and creation of open access learning resources, is led by Mi’kmaw Knowledge Holders, and has built on relationships established through a previous intergenerational arts-led research project. 

This presentation focuses on the current, collaborative project led by Knowledge Holders and musicians of Membertou, which involves multiple CBU faculty, offices including the Centre for Sound Communities and a new Artist-in-Residence program; local and international archives and museums, including the Beaton Institute, the Canadian Museum of History, and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (the record label of the Smithsonian Institution); and music education research including the collaborative development of open access learning resources, focusing on Mi’kmaw music, culture and language. 

The presenters explore ways in which this project has served as a creative intervention and engagement with, and for the benefit of, local Indigenous and wider communities – as well as meaningful and productive ways that it has allowed the working group to address various practical challenges and cultural politics. 

Some questions include: What new intersections have emerged from applied ethnomusicology with archival sound collections, that is guided by Indigenous methodologies and perspectives? What new perspectives and challenges arise from collaborative Indigenous/non-Indigenous work with the return, sharing, re-listening of historical sound? How might historical sound collections offer new understandings of cultural practices, Indigenous sovereignty, and local history, and moreover, how might we better understand the culture of sound archiving and directions for future work in this area?  

A respected Elder and cultural guardian, renowned for his contributions in music and sharing Mi’kmaw heritage.

Darrell Bernard Sr. of Membertou First Nation is a respected Elder and cultural activist. He is also a musician and, with his wife, Membertou’s drumkeeper. As the leader of the Sons of Membertou, Bernard has been performing traditional and contemporary music nationally and internationally for nearly 30 years. He is also co-owner of Kluskap Ridge Campground where he shares Mi’kmaw culture, music and stories with those who have summer homes there, and their guests. Bernard devoted his career to civil service, and served on Membertou Council. He has also held leadership roles with NSITEN (Nova Scotia Indigenous Tourism Enterprise Network) and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.

A researcher and Director of the Centre for Sound Communities, bridging communities and academia through arts-led social innovation.

Marcia Ostashewski, scholar, singer, dancer, and Canada Research Chair in Communities and Cultures (Cape Breton U, 2013-18), founded the arts-led social innovation lab, Centre for Sound Communities, to support interdisciplinary, community-engaged research. Recent work includes the award-winning article with Membertou First Nation researchers, “Fostering Reconciliation through Collaborative Research in Unama’ki”; and, with Malaysian scholar Tan Sooi Beng, the ICTMD Dialogues toward decolonizing ethnomusicology, including the innovative digital publication ( Ostashewski leads the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings “Sound Communities” Initiative, including the upcoming re-release of the Sons of Membertou album, Wapena’kik, with Mik’maw music and language learning resources.

Nikani Awtiken: Land-based Learning guided by Etuaptmumk

Maisyn Sock & Nadine Lefort

Nikani Awtiken (Nee-gah-nee Ow-dee-ken), a Mi’kmaw phrase meaning “trail blazing” or “creating a new path”, is a program for Mi’kmaw youth ages 15-18 that provides rich cultural experiences, immersing youth in Traditional Mi’kmaw Knowledge and natural resource management.

Hosted by the Mi’kmaq Environmental Learning Centre (MELC) and Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR), Nikani Awtiken’s main goals are:

  • To foster re-connection with traditional Mi’kmaw values
  • To foster re-connection with Wksitqamu (the land)
  • To provide skills and confidence for Mi’kmaq youth on their career path

Currently celebrating our 11th year of delivery, Nikani Awtiken has engaged hundreds of Mi’kmaw youth in land-based programming that focuses on Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge.

This Indigenous-led, land-based learning program engages Mi’kmaq youth in their own learning path, building community connectedness, and revitalizing Mi’kmaq culture.

Nikani Awtiken activities are guided by:

  • Etuaptmumk as the guiding principle of all activities.
  • Netukulimk in action, as a way of life.
  • Msit No’kmaq (All Our Relations); viewing Wksitqamu from a wholistic, interconnected perspective encouraging connections to living, non-living beings and things;
  • Spiritual context, encouraging spiritual relationships with Wksitqamu;
  • Mi’kmaq language plays a large role: understanding that language emerges from Wksitqamu; and a traditional Mi’kmaw storytelling approach, including Creation Story, Kluskap legends, and Star stories;
  • Values of Sespite’tmne’j (Understanding issues in our community) and Tetpaqo’tmne’j (Stewardship), and introductions to Governance roles;
  • An overview of some Mi’kmaw leaders in Conservation in Mi’kma’ki, including Indigenous-led initiatives like Indigenous Protected & Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and the Nuji Kelo’toqatijik Earth Keepers Network;
  • Intergenerational learning: sharing and learning opportunities between Elders and Youth, and knowledge holders of all ages;
  • And, it takes place primarily outdoors; gaining skills and confidence through authentic, accurate and sacred experiences including how to identify local species, including traditional foods and medicines, and species at risk and species of cultural concern, and also fostering personal relationships with Wksitqamu;

This presentation will outline how Nikani Awtiken was developed, and how it is guided by Etuamptmumk and Mi’kmaw ways of being and knowing. We will explain how activities are guided by Traditional Knowledge Holders, and we will explore how the program deepens relationships with Wksitqamu and fosters understanding of Etuaptmumk.

A dynamic young leader amplifying Indigenous narratives, with experiences in youth programs and media coordination.

Maisyn Sock, from Eskasoni and Elsipogtog First Nations is a past Nikani Awtiken participant and a recent counselor for the summer program. Maisyn brings perspective on what it feels like to participate in Nikani Awtiken activities, what it meant on her learning journey, and her role as a young adult in engaging other Mi’kmaq youth. A fluent Mi’kmaq speaker, Maisyn worked as Community Coordinator with CBC Cape Breton’s Eskasoni Bureau, amplifying Mi’kmaq voices and stories from Unama’ki, and making them accessible to larger audiences. Together with her twin sister Camryn, she promotes Mi’kmaq culture through their podcast, Burnt Toast & Pitewey.

An educator in land-based learning and integrative science, leading outreach and communications initiatives that blend Western and Mi’kmaw knowledge.

Nadine Lefort has more than 20 years experience developing, managing and delivering land-based learning programs, including work with Cape Breton University’s Integrative Science Program with Drs. Murdena and Albert Marshall and Dr. Cheryl Bartlett as the concept of Two-Eyed Seeing was being articulated. Now as UINR’s Manager of Communications & Outreach, she works collaboratively in Mi’kmaw communities, integrating Western Science and Traditional Mi’kmaq Knowledge, weaving between the two. She has hosted programming for elementary school through to post-graduate university students and professional development workshops for educators, all based on deepening relationships with Wksitqamu (nature) and all guided by Etuaptmumk.

Nujo'tme'k Samsqwan: Atlantic First Nations Water Authority

Megan Fuller & Tiannie Paul

Water Services by First Nations, For First Nations

The AFNWA provides a path to transform water services for participating Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik communities.

As the first Indigenous water authority in Canada, the AFNWA’s mission is to provide clean drinking water and wastewater guided by the principles of Etuaptmumk, to ensure the integration of First Nations culture and tradition to achieve self-determination. The AFNWA has developed compliance standards for taking care of water in a good way to protect Msit No’kmaq. By seeing through both eyes, the Authority has assisted participating communities in verifying that drinking water and wastewater treatment processes reduce harmful pathogens, decrease the presence of metals, and improve the health of source waters and watersheds.

  • Learn about the AFNWA and their role in developing Indigenous water governance (20 minutes)
  • engage in a discussion about learning opportunities with the CWRS about how to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into college curriculum for all students
  • participate in an in-depth dialogue about the vital role First Nations people play in the economic development of the Indigenous water sector

Focuses on Indigenous wisdom and modern water governance techniques for protecting water resources in First Nations communities.

Megan is a research associate at the Centre for Water Resources Studies (CWRS). She works closely with the AFNWA to develop water governance approaches grounded in Indigenous values and stewardship. Megan has a PhD in Environmental Engineering and works closely with the AFNWA Elders Advisory Lodge to build practices and policies for water and wastewater treatment and monitoring that honours First Nations culture and Msit No’kmaq.

An engineering graduate advancing research on water safety for First Nations, blending traditional and scientific knowledge.

Tiannie is a masters student at the CWRS and engineer for the AFNWA. She is a proud member of Eskasoni First Nation and brings her respect and responsibility for water to her research and work. Tiannie’s research involves using both Eyes to guide water engineering in communities. Tiannie works with the CWRS to strengthen Indigenous ways of knowing in Engineering and water science at Dalhousie University.

Partnerships, Perspectives and Pathways to Reconciliation

Parks Canada

The Mi’kmaq have been stewards of the lands and waters of what is now Nova Scotia since time immemorial. In recent decades, Parks Canada and the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia have been working together to build relationships that support collaborative approaches for managing national parks and national historic sites in Nova Scotia. During this session, Parks Canada will delve into this collaborative approach with examples of how Indigenous peoples are being engaged to tell their stories in their own voices. Find out what this approach is rooted in, and how we are integrating Etuaptmumk into vision and action, from daily operations to governance and bigger picture planning. Learn about key challenges and opportunities that lay ahead as we walk the pathway to reconciliation.

Leads Kejimkujik National Park with a focus on collaborative management with the Mi’kmaq, highlighting its cultural and ecological significance.

Jonathan Sheppard understands the importance of being in the role as Site Superintendent for Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site considering the profound ecological and cultural significance to the Mi’kmaq, and has significance as a place of recreation, respite and connection. He works to implement the recently tabled Management Plan that has taken a shared approach to the management of Kejimkujik with the Mi’kmaq who hold the site a Mi’kmaw cultural landscape that underpins all management direction for the site. Jonathan has worked in a diversity of operational roles. His commitment to a place-based approach has provided him with management opportunities in Indigenous relations, inclusive infrastructure development, greening government, visitor experience, and collaborative conservation and restoration projects. When Jonathan isn’t working he can often be seen outdoors connecting with nature with his partner and two children.

A former chief, now a Mi’kmaw Relations Advisor, fostering connections and advancing reconciliation within Parks Canada.

Lindsay Marshall, a former Chief and band councillor of Potlotek First Nation, has found a new leadership role that bridges the past and the future. Lindsay is the Mi’kmaw Relations Advisor for Park Canada’s Cape Breton field unit, which includes Cape Breton Highlands National Park and the following national historic sites: Alexander Graham Bell, Fortress of Louisbourg, St. Peter’s Canal, Marconi, and Canso Islands. For Lindsay, a Mi’kmaw poet, history buff and lover of the natural world, the job is an important part of reconciliation. Lindsay is happiest when he is traveling to Parks Canada administered places connecting with staff, partners and stakeholders, or out and about in Mi’kmaw communities.

A contemporary artist and Indigenous community activist, applying her diverse skills to enhance relations between Parks Canada and Mi’kmaw communities.

Ursula Johnson has worked with Parks Canada since 2010, arriving to the public service after a decade with the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax where she also studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Her work provided engagement on various levels from grassroots programming where she became one of the founding members of the United Nations International Indigenous Youth Caucus. Ursula is publicly known as a cutting-edge contemporary Artist often working in performance and installation work. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Ursula aims to bring her skill sets from these various life experiences into her work with Parks Canada as the Mi’kmaw Relations Advisor for Mainland Nova Scotia.

Running in nature as a contemplative and healing practice

Dr. Gabriela Tymowski-Gionet & Dr. Fred Mason

This presentation introduces a two-eyed seeing approach in merging contemplative practices with long distance running in natural environments. We examine the western contemplative practice of mindfulness in combination with Indigenous traditional contemplative practices such as long distance running through nature. We seek a richer and more holistic understanding of running not merely as competition or for sport, but also as a form of meditation, reflection, and as a pathway to healing by connecting with ancestral lands, spirits, and Mother Earth.

Many indigenous cultures incorporate running as part of spiritual and ritual practices, all over Turtle Island from the Penobscot in the east, to the Haudnoshaunee and west to the Pueblo and Navajo peoples. In general, humans have a history of seeking peace in nature. People have long lived and meditated in, and retreated to forests, mountains, oceans, rivers, and other natural environments. Individuals seek refuge in silence and solitude. Mindfulness is the cultivation of the simple yet profound quality of paying attention to the present moment, without judgment. It may be fostered through stillness and mindful movement. Practicing mindfulness through meditation in nature allows us to deepen our receptivity to the natural world, and to mitigate anxiety and distress from the busyness of everyday life and its inherent separation from nature.

Running may be a naturally meditative endeavour, in varying circumstances. The rhythmic aspect of running offers an opportunity for the runner to concentrate on the present moment, a defining element of mindfulness. Running may serve as a catalyst for self-exploration, and offers many other benefits including mood enhancement, relaxation post-run, improved sleep, and other health improvements. Some ultrarunners (who train and race at extreme distances) talk about spiritual experiences, such as connecting to“absolute unitary being.”

We share an appreciation for the perspective that may be gained by embracing both Indigenous wisdom and contemporary understandings of meditative running in nature through the lens of two-eyed seeing.

This analysis has been influenced by the work in neurodecolonization by Dr. Michael Yellow Bird at the University of Manitoba, who has focused on the effects of colonization and methods of decolonization, ancestral health, Indigenous mindfulness, among other research areas.

A professor specializing in applied ethics in sport, advocating for compassionate living and ethical treatment in sports contexts.

Gabriela Tymowski-Gionet is an associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology. She teaches courses in applied ethics (sport, health, research), health behaviours, sport studies, and mindfulness. Gabriela’s research has focused primarily on the morally problematic treatment of children and animals in sport and recreation. Gabriela’s overarching philosophy is to live mindfully and compassionately, and to be immersed in nature every day.

A sociological expert in sports, delving into media representations and the societal impact of parasports and endurance sports.

Fred Mason is an associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick, who teaches course in the sociology of sport, sport-media studies, and world and Canadian history of sport, recreation and leisure. Fred has a Master of Arts in Human Kinetics (University of Ottawa), and a PhD in Kinesiology (Sport History) from the University of Western Ontario. Fred’s research has focused on various topics including the history of parasports, sports media coverage related to race, gender and nationalism, sport in literature, and field studies of sports fans and participants in endurance sports like ultrarunning. As an active runner and researcher in ultrarunning, Fred has probably spent more time running and hiking in nature, than at anything else in the last 15 years or so.

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Seven Generation Sustainable Forest Management

Geoff Clarke

As the Forest Licensee in Eastern Nova Scotia, PHP has a significant influence on the local forests, water, land, air and soon wind. Since our inception as Stora, we have always strived for a higher level of Sustainable Forest Management, recognizing, and managing for other non-timber values such as wildlife, water and recreation. Though we didn’t explicitly use the term “Netukulimk”, it has been the foundation of our resource management philosophy. Our underlying principle is sustainable utilization, both for manufacturing a suite of bio-based products and socio-economic well-being without jeopardizing the integrity, diversity, or productivity of our environment. 
Etuaptmumk, the two-eyed seeing approach “using the strengths of Mi’kmaw knowledge in one eye, and the best from Western science in the other, and using both eyes for the benefit of all” is an excellent opportunity to help our organization evolve and grow. We are currently incorporating this approach in our next Seven-Generation (140 year) long term management plan. Seven-Generations is the bar of measurement to evaluate the impacts of today’s strategic decisions. For example, the forest management approach and systems that we implement today, how will that impact our great-great-great-great grandchildren? 
Port Hawkesbury Paper respects Indigenous values and perspectives as integral part of its business. It desires strong, meaningful relationships with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia and especially with the communities in Eastern Nova Scotia where engagement is more prevalent. PHP has embraced Etuaptmumk, the two-eyed seeing philosophy, as it seeks to continually improve both its understanding and interaction with both traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge and objectives and increasingly incorporate Mi’kmaq perspective into its planning and operations. 
PHP strives to develop productive and mutually beneficial working relationships based on cooperation, trust, respect, fairness and understanding of each other’s history, cultures, goals and interests.

A forestry expert, blending his extensive experience in natural resource management with strategic initiatives for sustainable forestry.

Geoff is the Director of Sustainability and Economic Development and a member of the Senior Management Team at Port Hawkesbury Paper. Geoff is a Registered Professional Forester. Mr. Clarke, a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, holds Masters Degrees in both Business and Forestry from the University of Alberta. This is complemented with decades of industrial experience in natural resource management across various technical and senior management positions. During his consulting days, Geoff worked with many First Nations in Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in developing their strategies for long, medium and short-term sustainable forest management.

Treaty Education Nova Scotia: Practicing Etuaptmumk in Treaty Education

Celeste Sulliman & Jacqueline Prosper

This presentation provides an overview of the Treaty Education Nova Scotia initiative between the Mi’kmaq and Provincial government in Nova Scotia as we work together to create understanding about our treaty relationship.

Treaty Education is a vehicle to begin the long-term journey, over generations, toward reconciliation. The Mi’kmaq and provincial government are working together to develop specific programs and services for the education system, provincial civil service and all Nova Scotians. These programs and services highlight the contributions of the Mi’kmaq. They help explain how the Treaties were significant building blocks for Nova Scotia and Canada and how we have all benefited from them. Treaty Education is being incorporated into the curriculum of public schools, part of enhanced learning and development for public service employees, and available to Nova Scotians through public awareness projects. Through building awareness and understanding, Nova Scotians can together create an environment where reconciliation can be fostered.

An adept leader in communications and policy, advancing diversity and social justice in educational and governmental realms.

Celeste grew up in Glace Bay and after a career as a tenured professor of communication studies at Cape Breton University, she moved to Fall River with her family and joined provincial government in 2007. While teaching communications studies at CBU she practiced allyship by developing and delivering courses and programs in Mi’kmaw communities and worked to create spaces for L’nu students on campus and in her classrooms. Before coming to Treaty Education at the Office of L’nu Affairs, she served in government leadership roles in a variety of departments, including Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, Nova Scotia Gaming and Communications Nova Scotia. Her work contributes to provincial government networks and community organizations engaged in equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. As a lifelong learner, educator, and humble ally, being part of the province’s Treaty Education initiative at Office of L’nu Affairs is a highlight of her career.

An influential educator in Indigenous advocacy, integrating Treaty Education with the Truth and Reconciliation process.

Jacqueline Prosper was born and raised on Paqtnkek, where she raised her three strong daughters. Jacqueline’s work in education spans two decades. First as a teacher’s assistant and then as a classroom teacher, where she learned the true essence of “Treaty Education” and the manner in which it correlates with the Truth and Reconciliation process. Since leaving the classroom almost 10 years ago, she has held a number of positions pertaining to Indigenous education advocacy, and has been working with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey since 2019 as the Treaty Education Lead. Jacqueline believes the truth and reconciliation process is a personal journey that is multi-leveled and that reconciliation needs to happen within families, communities and Nations.

Treaty Epistemology & Etuaptmumk in Wabanakik: Embodying Treaty Responsibilities

Gillian Austin & Albert Marshall

Through Treaties, our ancestors agreed to take care of Creation using our diverse ways of knowing.

This sharing circle will strengthen understandings of Treaty epistemology (ways of knowing) by re-centring etuaptmumk within ankukamkowe’l (Treaties)/spaces of ethical engagement. We will uncover the roots of etuaptmumk as grounded in the Wabanaki Creation stories and subsequent ankukamkowe’l, including the Peace and Friendship Treaties (1725-1779). Ankukamkua’tu (doing Treaty) is the original instruction for relationality in Wabanakik. We will consider Albert’s insight that our ancestors agreed to uphold our human responsibilities to take care or all of Creation through ankukamkowe’l, and how we are stronger when we engage etuaptmumk – our diverse gifts and ways of knowing.

How can relationality & ethics of non-interference through the lens of ankukamkowe’l strengthen etuaptmumk in:

  • Activating & embodying human responsibilities in our everyday lives
  • Relationships with land, water & all of Creation
  • Collaborating, creating partnerships, policy & programs
  • Moving away from Eurocentric Knowledge domination in governance, science, research, education & settler society
  • Transforming colonial structures, systems & practices

His advocacy in integrative science and etuaptmumk has been pivotal in fostering collaboration on Indigenous and environmental health across Canada.

Albert Marshall, Mi’kmaw Elder & Honorary Doctor of Letters, has exceptional abilities for revitalizing L’nuk understandings. He is Moose Clan of the Mi’kmaw Nation and lives in Eskasoni, Unama’ki. Albert and Murdena (1942-2018) have inspired generations of diverse peoples to collaborate on Indigenous, environmental & health issues across Turtle Island. They co-created the Toqwa’tu’kl Kjijitaqnn/Integrative Science Program at Cape Breton University, emphasizing co-learning and etuaptmumk. Albert participates in many initiatives including the Unama’ki Institute of National Resources, the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health & the Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative.

An advocate for Indigenous land and water education, working towards decolonizing educational approaches and supporting environmental stewardship.

Gillian Austin (M.E.S.), is a settler/Treaty person of Scottish & Irish ancestry, living in Mi’kma’ki. She has taught in Indigenous & Canadian Studies at Trent, Dalhousie & the University of Toronto & is completing a Ph. D. in Indigenous Studies at Trent. Gillian works in alignment with Indigenous communities to nurture land, water & Treaty-based education & resist colonial systems & is a Water Walker. She supported the creation of the Atlantic Indigenous Economic Development Integrated Research Program.

Two-Eyed Seeing at TWC: A holistic approach to human environment projects

Jennifer Sylliboy

Two Worlds Consulting is able to bring a unique perspective using Two-Eyed Seeing, that combines traditional Indigenous knowledge with modern practices. This not only enhances the quality of our work but also promotes mutual understanding and respect for people and the environment.

The principle of Two-Eyed Seeing promotes the idea that diverse perspectives, especially those of Indigenous peoples, enrich our understanding and decision-making in various projects. By recognizing the value of multiple knowledge systems, projects can achieve better outcomes, foster inclusivity, and contribute to cultural preservation and reconciliation efforts. This approach serves as a model for collaboration and respectful engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, ultimately leading to more holistic and sustainable solutions.

At Two Worlds Consulting, we’re known for our professional project management, advanced business systems, and the technical quality of our work. However, we are also gaining a reputation for our unique, multi-lens approach to the human environment space. We see TWC’s role as a navigator between worlds. Offering our clients more than one lens makes our process and projects stronger — and sets us apart from other consulting companies.

This presentation will showcase how TWC has implemented the principle of Two-Eyed Seeing by bringing two or more perspectives into human environment projects, and how this approach has proven to be successful in achieving better outcomes, fostering inclusivity, and contributing to cultural preservation and reconciliation efforts. By collaborating and respectfully engaging with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, TWC aims to create more holistic and sustainable solutions.

Two-Eyed Seeing promotes diverse perspectives, particularly those of Indigenous peoples, to enhance decision-making in projects.

  • Two Worlds Consulting has a unique, multi-lens approach to the human environment space, which strengthens their process and sets them apart from other consulting companies.
  • TWC collaborates and respectfully engages with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, using the principle of Two-Eyed Seeing to create more sustainable solutions.

Merges Indigenous wisdom with scientific approaches in environmental consultancy, enriching stakeholder collaboration.

Jennifer Sylliboy is a Mi’kmaw from Eskasoni, Nova Scotia, currently residing in Calgary, Alberta. She works as a Lands & Culture Specialist for Two Worlds Consulting. In her role, Jennifer is guided by her lived experience as an Indigenous person, and experience working with First Nations, industry, and government groups to provide technical direction on projects using a Two-Eyed Seeing Approach, incorporating Indigenous Knowledge and western science into project deliverables.

Two-Eyed Seeing in Practice: Fisheries Western and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (Fish-WIKS)

Moderator: Dr Lucia Fanning. Panelists: Shelley Denny, Amber Giles, Erin Keenan, Nicole Latulippe, and Saul Milne

Understanding knowledge systems is needed to build relations, foster research, improve governance among the authorities for fisheries, and more recently, to further reconciliation in Canada. Fish-WIKS research was a partnership among academic, First Nations organizations, and governments across Canada that looked to further the understandings of western and indigenous knowledge systems, which at the time of the research, was timely to address key fishery issues in Canada.

Fish-WIKS explored how the different processes by which knowledge is acquired, transmitted and used can be harnessed to enhance Canadian fisheries policy. The goals of Fish-WIKS was to use the knowledge acquired to enhance decision-making affecting Canada’s fishery resources for current and future generations. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the research integrated the commonalities and differences in Indigenous knowledge systems across the Pacific, Arctic, Inland and Atlantic regions and in four distinct coastal communities in Canada (Tla-o-qui-aht, British Columbia; Naujaat, Nunavut; Nipissing, Ontario; and Eskasoni, Nova Scotia).

This workshop will address relevant areas of interest: 1. understanding knowledge systems; 2. exploring the diversity of Two-Eyed; and 3. demonstrating how Indigenous research priority were address in Two-Eyed Seeing. The workshop will start with a 45-minute moderated panel discussion where graduate and community-based researchers will share how Two-Eyed Seeing was integral to answer Indigenous-led research questions. Researchers will demonstrate how this research was developed, designed, and shared to further Indigenous identified priorities. Participants will gain insight into the diversity of Indigenous knowledge systems can be harnessed to improve the sustainability of fisheries in Canada. The panel discussion will be followed by a 15-minute open Q&A where workshop attendees will have the opportunity to engage with panelists. Relevant research material products will be provided at the event for conference participants and a link to project publications.

A marine biology expert, dedicated to enhancing Indigenous fisheries management and integrating traditional knowledge into policy-making.

Amber Giles is Wolastoqiyik from Wolastoq territory and Mi’kma’ki, and currently living in the Arctic.  Amber received Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology from the University of New Brunswick and a Master’s in Marine Management from Dalhousie University. Amber’s graduate work was completed as part of the Fisheries-Western and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (Fish-WIKS) research project and focused on the incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge Systems into policy-level decision making for commercial fisheries in Canada. Since graduating, Amber has worked in the area of Indigenous fisheries and Indigenous Knowledge Systems for various organizations, including the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs, Assembly of First Nations, Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, and Government of Nunavut.

Specializes in coastal and marine management, integrating diverse knowledge systems, including Indigenous perspectives, in fisheries decision-making.

Lucia Fanning, PhD, is currently professor emerita, Marine Affairs Program, Dalhousie University. Her research spans multiple scales from local to global and includes research in improving integrated coastal and marine management and ocean governance. Research studies include the role of key and emerging policy actors, including rights holders, resource users and members of civil society, in managing coastal and marine ecosystems. For the past seven years, in collaboration with indigenous partners from across Canada, she has worked on understanding how different knowledge systems (e.g. “western” and indigenous) influence fisheries decision-making in Canada (see

An environmental specialist, now focusing on Arctic marine conservation and supporting Inuit-led initiatives in Nunavut, with a background in integrating Indigenous knowledge into fisheries management.

Erin Keenan grew up in Toronto, Ontario and now lives in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She holds a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies and Global Development from Queen’s University and a Master’s of Marine Management from Dalhousie University. During her time at Dalhousie, she participated in the Fish-WIKS research project examining the role of Indigenous ways of knowing in fisheries management. Her research focused on a case study of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and narwhal harvesting in Naujaat, Nunavut. Erin now works for World Wildlife Fund-Canada, managing Arctic marine conservation projects and supporting Inuit-led conservation initiatives across Nunavut.

Collaborates with Indigenous communities on stewardship and environmental justice, exploring treaty relations through community-engaged research.

Nicole Latulippe engages in research on Indigenous geographies, environmental governance, and law, focusing on fostering respectful relations with land and waters. Her work involves collaborations with Indigenous communities, such as Nipissing First Nation and the Mississaugas of the Credit, exploring stewardship and environmental justice. With a background in both Indigenous and Western research paradigms, she combines these approaches in community-engaged projects, aiming to build just and sustainable futures. Nicole’s journey intertwines her French-Canadian and Indigenous ancestry with her commitment to respectful treaty relations and environmental stewardship.

Specializes in Tla-o-qui-aht knowledge systems and fisheries governance, bridging urban and ancestral perspectives in environmental management.

Saul is a Xwchíyò:m (Cheam First Nation) member and has worked with the Five Nations for 5 years, most recently as a strategic advisor to both Ha’oom Fisheries Society and in federal reconciliation negotiations. A PhD graduate from the the University of Victoria in the Department of Geography, Saul splits his time between Musqueam/Squamish/Tsleil-Waututh Solh Temexw (Vancouver) and the Tla-o-qui-aht ha-ha-huułi. His PhD research focused on Tla-o-qui-aht knowledge systems and fisheries governance. Saul is a huge Vancouver Canucks fan, and is the 4th generation of his family to work in Nuu-chah-nulth-aht ha-ha-huułi.

Excels in Two-Eyed Seeing, leveraging community knowledge to enhance fisheries management and fostering collaborative relationships across various sectors.

Shelley Denny, Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources: Shelley is a Senior Advisor at the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources. Shelley is an expert in Two-Eyed Seeing and is passionate about using community knowledge to inform fisheries management. 

Two Eyed Seeing and the Natural Resources Environmental Technology program

Waddie Long & Students

Two-Eyed Seeing and the Natural Resources Environmental Technology Program at NSCC: A unique exploration into integrating traditional Indigenous perspectives with contemporary environmental practices, guided by the voices of youth and students in the program

An NSCC educator dedicated to environmental and cultural stewardship, recognized for his contributions to environmental education and the Mi’kmaq Nation.

Waddie Long has been a pivotal figure at Nova Scotia Community College since 1999, where he launched the institution’s inaugural environmental program. With a background in Forest Technology and Environmental Studies from Cape Breton University, he excels in environmental education, community engagement, and fostering First Nations partnerships. His commitment to these areas earned him the esteemed 1752 Peace and Friendship Medal, acknowledging his significant volunteer contributions to the Mi’kmaq Nation.

Understanding Etuaptmumk through Stories

Total Byline

My presentation includes understanding how Etuaptmumk in tied into Netukulimk, Mi’kmaw Sense of Place-Emgerence-Participation, with Mi’kmaw Ways of Being and Knowing. I also use stories within my presentation to model how Etuaptmumk is alive within education (science/math and relgion/spirituality.

An advocate for integrating Mi’kmaw cultural principles in education, collaborating across Nova Scotia to weave traditional teachings into curricula.

She Flows with the Water, Naomi Pierrard, is from Mi’kma’ki but lives in the community of We’koqma’q. She is the Etuaptmumk Consultant with Mi’kmaw Services Branch at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Naomi’s work includes working with various regions within Nova Scotia education to ensure that Etuaptmumk, Netukulimk, Mi’kmaw Sense of Place-Emergence-Participation, and Mi’kmaw Ways of Being and Knowing are inclusive in the development of curricula, resources, and professional development.

Using Two-Eyed Seeing in our Teaching at CBU: A Talking Circle

Total Byline

This workshop, presented by an interdisciplinary group of faculty from Cape Breton University, delves into the practical applications of Etuaptmumk, or the two-eyed seeing approach, in various academic disciplines. Comprising both L’nu’k and Eurocentric Settler educators, the panelists aim to demonstrate how they’ve woven this integrative perspective into their teaching methodologies across diverse fields.

The session will cover a range of subjects including Music, Literature, Art, Culture, Political Science, Sociology, Health, and Mental Wellness. Each faculty member will share practical examples and insights from their journey of incorporating two-eyed seeing into the classroom. The discussion will touch upon topics such as Climate Change, Sustainability, Environmental Studies, Justice, Equity, Inclusion, Mi’kmaw language literacy, and community-based participatory research.

Structured in a Talking Circle format, the workshop is designed to be interactive and collaborative. After initial presentations from the panelists, the session will open up for attendees to share their experiences and insights related to two-eyed seeing in educational practices. The goal is to foster a vibrant exchange of ideas, address common challenges, and inspire innovative teaching approaches that embrace diverse perspectives.

An educator focused on decolonizing practices, developing courses in Indigenous People’s Psychology and fostering inclusivity.

Dr. Heather Schmidt’s first full time job was at Algoma University in Sault Ste Marie ON (Anishinaabek territory) which is located in the former Shingwauk Residential School where all professors are directed to teach students about this history. This set Dr. Schmidt on the path of actively seeking ways to decolonize her teaching practice. In 2009, Dr. Schmidt joined the Psychology Department at CBU (Mi’kmaw/L’nu territory) and subsequently developed a course called Indigenous People’s Psychology. She has recently begun a new position as a CBU Teaching Chair (May 2023-25) focused on Allyship and Decolonizing Educational Practice.

Specializes in dramatic literature and Applied Theatre, utilizing performance for storytelling and fostering social change.

Sheila Christie is Chair of the Department of Literature, Folklore, and The Arts, where she teaches dramatic literature, stage management, and Applied Theatre. She studies the ways in which people shape their identities through literature and theatre, repurposing stories for their own ends. As an Applied Theatre practitioner, Sheila helps people use theatre to tell their own stories and foster connection. Along with directing and stage managing for local theatres, Sheila leads applied theatre workshops and helps develop original productions that use theatre to promote social change.

A specialist in international politics and social justice, renowned for her insightful publications on global citizenship and democracy.

Dr. Terry Gibbs is a Professor of International Politics in the Department of L’nu, Political and Social Studies. Her fields of expertise include social justice, critical globalization studies and democracy. She is the author of Why the Dalai Lama is a Socialist: Buddhism and the Compassionate Society (2017) and co-author with Garry Leech of The Failure of Global Capitalism: From Cape Breton to Colombia and Beyond (2009). She is also a contributor to Migration, Globalization, and the State (2013). Her current research explores the values behind 21st century global citizenship.

A Mi’kmaw nurse and educator, focusing on community health and early childhood development within First Nation communities.

Julie Francis is a Mi’kmaw Registered Nurse and Chair of L’nu Health at Cape Breton University’s Unama’ki College. After graduating from St. Francis Xavier University in 2010, she served as a Community Health Nurse in Eskasoni, First Nation. In 2011, Julie became involved in community-based research projects with the IWK, and has been part of the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative since its inception in 2013. Julie recently graduated from Dalhousie University with a Master of Science in Nursing. Her thesis research focuses on early childhood development and the experiences of First Nation families accessing services.

A sociology professor engaging in interpretive political sociology with interests in gender, identity, and a critical pedagogy of play.

Kate Krug is an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of L’nu, Political, and Social Studies at Cape Breton University. Kate practices Interpretive Political Sociology with a particular focus on genders, identities, sexualities, Queer theory, and critical pedagogy. Kate’s course development and classroom practices are informed by a critical pedagogy that she calls a “pedagogy of play”.

A dynamic scholar founding an arts-led social innovation lab and leading initiatives in decolonizing ethnomusicology.

Marcia Ostashewski, scholar, singer, dancer, and Canada Research Chair in Communities and Cultures (Cape Breton U, 2013-18), founded the arts-led social innovation lab, Centre for Sound Communities, to support interdisciplinary, community-engaged research. Recent work includes the award-winning article with Membertou First Nation researchers, “Fostering Reconciliation through Collaborative Research in Unama’ki”; and, with Malaysian scholar Tan Sooi Beng, the ICTMD Dialogues toward decolonizing ethnomusicology, including the innovative digital publication ( Ostashewski leads the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings “Sound Communities” Initiative, including the upcoming re-release of the Sons of Membertou album, Wapena’kik, with Mik’maw music and language learning resources.

An experienced Mi’kmaw language educator, contributing significantly to the revitalization of conversational Mi’kmaw language and literacy.

A recently elected band councillor in Eskasoni and a Mi’kmaw immersion teacher in her community for over 20 years, Prof. Starr Paul became a Mi’kmaw language instructor at Cape Breton University in 2022, taking on the role her mother Elizabeth Paul, previously held for more than 20 years, teaching conversational Mi’kmaw for both beginner and intermediate speakers and Mi’kmaw literacy.

With Two Eyes and One Heart Open: Creativity, Co-Learning, and...

Cathy LeBlanc & Shannan Grant

Etuaptmumk (or Two-eyed Seeing or TES) is a guiding principle, offered by Elders and academics from Unama’ki (Cape Breton) to western scientists and partnering indigenous knowledge keepers. This presentation will provide the audience with an overview of the Two-Eyed Seeing Program, including lessons learned during and since the COVID-19 pandemic, such as how to effectively utilize technology in community-based education initiatives.

Etuaptmumk (or Two-eyed Seeing or TES) is a guiding principle, offered by Elders and academics from Unama’ki (Cape Breton) to western scientists and partnering indigenous knowledge keepers. Four key teachings of Etuaptmumk include: 1) co-learning, 2) knowledge scrutinization, 3) knowledge validation, and 4) knowledge-gardening. Knowledge-gardening is also described as “community capacity growing”. TES Program is wrapping up its 7th year of activity, just securing another three-year NSERC PromoScience grant. TES Program will continue supporting participatory approaches to promote, decolonize and indigenize Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), by “co-learning-by-doing”. 

TES teachings are carefully and purposefully integrated into our programming (e.g., curriculum development, delivery, evaluation), with the support of university-based and community-based educators and researchers, Knowledge Keepers, Elders, and Indigenous youth (grade 7-9). 

This presentation will provide the audience with an overview of the Two-Eyed Seeing Program, including lessons learned during and since the COVID-19 pandemic, such as how to effectively utilize technology in community-based education initiatives. Further, it will share examples of how the program has turned several visions into action, including tools and strategies used in curriculum development, implementation, and evaluation. Finally, we will also provide an overview of our plans for the next three years, with hopes those in attendance (who are interested, willing and able) will provide feedback and get involved. 

Key Takeaways:

  1. Tell the story of the Two-Eyed Seeing Program activities 2016-Present
  2.  Share lessons learned maintaining a community-based program through the COVID-19 Pandemic
  3. Share examples of strategies the program has used to create co-learning opportunities for diverse groups of people through activity development, implementation, and evaluation.

Cathy LeBlanc, Program Coordinator and University Liaison, Two-Eyed Seeing Program, Mount Saint Vincent University
Shannan Grant, Leadership Team, Two-Eyed Seeing Program, Mount Saint Vincent University

Other Co-authors:
Ann Sylliboy, Post Secondary Consultant, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey
Velvet Paul, Director of Education, Sipekne’katik
Sheila Francis, Director of Education, Pictou Landing First Nation
Janice Francis, Director of Education, Acadia First Nation
Shane Theunissen, Department of Child and Youth Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University
Will Shead, Department of Psychology, Mount Saint Vincent University
Tara Pride, Atlantic Indigenous Mentorship Network, Dalhousie University

A Mi’kmaw cultural interpreter and advocate, deeply involved in educational initiatives and Indigenous youth support.

Cathy and Shannan are members of the Two-Eyed Seeing Program, that have been guided by the principal of Etuaptmumk for over 20 years. Cathy is a Mi’kmaq woman and member of Wasoqopa’qewaq, while Shannan identifies as a Celtic settler, born and raised in Unama’ki. Together, they work with the program leadership team, program partners, and participating youth, to co-create Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational opportunities that facilitate hands-on learning and the sharing of multiple perspectives. Cathy LeBlanc, a member of Acadia First Nation and a graduate of St. Thomas University, is deeply involved in the educational and cultural realms. As a Mi’kmaw cultural interpreter and Student Support Worker, she plays a vital role in nurturing Indigenous and African Nova Scotian youth. Her involvement in the Mi’kmaw Moons project, in collaboration with Dave Chapman, combines traditional Mi’kmaw lunar knowledge with Western astronomical practices, using the Two-Eyed Seeing approach. This project encompasses activities such as presentations, a book, and a video series, contributing significantly to the understanding and revival of First Nations astronomical traditions and stories.

A nutrition expert and researcher, focusing on community-based approaches to nutrition care and medical nutrition therapy.

Cathy and Shannan are members of the Two-Eyed Seeing Program, that have been guided by the principal of Etuaptmumk for over 20 years. Cathy is a Mi’kmaq woman and member of Wasoqopa’qewaq, while Shannan identifies as a Celtic settler, born and raised in Unama’ki. Together, they work with the program leadership team, program partners, and participating youth, to co-create Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational opportunities that facilitate hands-on learning and the sharing of multiple perspectives. Dr Grant combines her expertise as a Registered Dietitian with a profound research interest in nutrition care and medical nutrition therapy. With a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and extensive experience in various healthcare and community settings, she leads GrantLab in exploring nutrition education and intervention evaluation. Her work, recognized for its impact on patient care and education, is deeply rooted in community engagement, embracing a two-eyed seeing approach to develop nutrition and food curriculum that aligns with diverse cultural perspectives and healthcare needs.

Working through a collage of pain: Weaving Indigenous healing with the neurosciences of grief and grieving

Stefanie Ruel

This presentation focuses on the first steps in a Two-Eyed Seeing journey on mental healthcare while grieving a sudden death.

The neurosciences of grief and grieving contribute to a growing understanding of the grieving brain. To date, evidence-based neurosciences research is not gender-specific, nor does it focus on the impact of community on the brain’s structural centers. Further complicating the healing landscape is the sudden death survivors’ struggles to gain and maintain access to mental health care services. The challenges in providing Western-based services, sometimes outside of Indigenous communities that sustain healing, touch sudden death survivors in different ways, including their ability to work and their social support networks.  


Key Takeaways:

  • role of Indigenous culture in healing continues to be ignored in Western service delivery models and persists despite calls to recognize their importance in reducing trauma. 
  • embracing Western and Indigenous ways of knowing need to work together to assist in healing 
  • seeking guidance from those farther along in their Two-Eyed Seeing journey to be able to put the vision of Etuaptmumk into action for the benefit of Indigenous communities grieving the loss of a loved one  

Explores the intersections of justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and indigeneity in STEM and entrepreneurship, with a special focus on the unique challenges faced by Indigenous women in the workplace and in mental healthcare during bereavement.

Dr. Stefanie Ruel is an Assistant Professor in Organizational Management at the Shannon School of Business, Cape Breton University. Dr. Ruel’s research is focused on justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and indigeneity (JEDII) concerns in various contexts, including in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and innovative entrepreneurship/family-run businesses, and with particular individuals and communities, including adult Indigenous women and their respective communities’ mental healthcare and workplace needs while grieving a sudden death.

Yukon Native Teacher Education - Then and Now

Frances Ross-Furlong & Stan Njootli Sr.

Culture camp to high school, college upgrading to teacher ed.

Our 15 year co-learning adventure co-teaching K-12, college and university.

We begin Old Crow, Yukon, where Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation adapted the two-eyed seeing method to research, re-write and deliver the spring muskrat-trapping culture camp. We will share 3 teacher resources and 9 student booklets for this K-9 three-week camp. Next we used co-teaching to establish the first high school program at Chief Zzeh Gittlit School. Moving to the territorial level at Yukon University, we continue through starting land-based English and science upgrading courses, and a Guardian training program. We will end reviewing our decolonizing efforts with the Yukon Native Teacher Education Program.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Land, family & love: We focus on the whole person – love, community, trauma, resiliency, & joy brought together in diverse ways to meet complex needs & goals
  • Co-learning/teaching: How we learned to teach between worldviews with examples from field programs & in-classroom instruction
  • Collaborative decolonization: Supporting student choice and success, with love we ferociously demand decolonizing institutional change in the settler-colonial system

An innovative educator integrating two-eyed seeing methodologies into land-based programming within Yukon’s education system.

Frances Ross-Furlong spent the past 15 years problematizing her settler bias, focusing on un-learning and re-learning to work for First Nation educational goals. She came to the Yukon in 2009 to collaborate with Vuntut Gwitchin Government and Chief Zzeh Gittlit School in re-developing their spring culture camp programming as part of her graduate studies. Moving to Old Crow, she worked together with Elders, citizens and VGG staff to establish the first high school program using cultural and land-based learning and cooperative workplace training. She then taught Grade 4-5-6 focusing on developing community-learning experiences – experiences such as a week skidooing out to Crow Flats to establish a winter camp at -40’C while working on English, math, science and physical education learning objectives while co-teaching with Stan. 

Together with her Grade 4-5-6 class they raised and trained a dog team. Seeing the unlearning and relearning role of herself as a student, together with a Grade 6 student and family, they trained together and ran their dog teams 600 kms through the Richardson Mountains from Old Crow, Yukon, to Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, and back — a first in 20 years, and the first time a youth completed the journey with her team. Frances joined Yukon College in 2018 as the Land-based Programs Coordinator to collaborate with Yukon First Nations to co-teach community and land-based English and science courses, as well as develop Indigenous Guardian and Northern Outdoor Leadership training certificates. 

She now works at Yukon University at the Yukon Native Teacher Education Program, and is working in collaboration on decolonization of pedagogy, classroom management and assessment. She is currently working on her doctoral research together with Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation on how the nation and community would like to move forward under the First Nation School Board. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Mount Allison University), Bachelor of Education (Queen’s University), Masters of Environmental Studies (Dalhousie University) and is pursing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Simon Fraser University). 

A respected Elder and land rights advocate, influential in Indigenous land and resource co-management within the Yukon.

Stan Njootli Sr is from Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Old Crow, Yukon, the only fly-in community in the Yukon. In the 1970s and 1980s Stan was a negotiator for Vuntut Gwitchin through the land claims and self-government process, resulting in the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Final Agreement of 1993. He has been a powerful voice for Vuntut Gwich’in as an influential representative on various natural resource boards, particularly the North Yukon Renewable Resource Board and Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee. This head and heart-work has included hand-work being lead driver on boat trips for 1000 kms down the Yukon River to the Bering Sea in Alaska. He’s also run dog teams, including competing in the 1000-mile Yukon Quest from the Yukon to Alaska. Over the past 20 years Stan has led much of the school-based cultural teaching programs in Old Crow as Educational Support Worker and as an involved community member. He’s coordinated fall caribou hunts, winter wall-tent skidoo trips, and spring culture camps. Stan has taught dozens of Vuntut Gwich’in youth to skin and stretch muskrats, fix skidoos in the bush, and harvest firewood and set wall tents at -40’C.

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