Two-Eyed Seeing

Two-Eyed Seeing is the descriptive label for an important guiding principle for one’s journey while here on Mother Earth. Albert Marshall, Elder (Eskasoni Mi’kmaq First Nation, Cape Breton) offered this principle to Integrative Science and gives voice to the gift in explaining that it refers to learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of Western (or Eurocentric, conventional, or mainstream) knowledges and ways of knowing … and to using both these eyes together, for the benefit of all.

Two-Eyed Seeing can be further explained as inclusive of the following considerations:

  • Two-Eyed Seeing is often a weaving back and forth between the perspectives represented (Indigenous and Western) and not domination or assimilation.
  • Two-Eyed Seeing recognizes the great utility in cultivating our understandings using organic language and paradigms beyond only mechanistic language and paradigms. For example, the term knowledge gardening is often more useful than the commonly employed terms knowledge transfer or knowledge translation and within many efforts we find it more helpful to think of community capacity growing rather than community capacity building.
  • Two-Eyed Seeing acknowledges the necessity of formal structure permeable to and receptive of new understandings and opportunities, i.e. understandings associated with Spirit of the East which brings the gift of newness, of transformation. Thus, for example, we might often need to be able to shift our views of a printed agenda such that it is living, i.e. capable of responding to the energies in the present moment (with its encompassed past and future) rather than being seen as a rigidly enforced document incapable of being and becoming. In other words, our efforts must be able to respond to emergent relational consciousness and collectiveness within an understanding of, for example, health and wisdom as expanding senses of wholeness.

Click here for more information on two-eyed seeing from the Institute of Integrative Science and Health. The video below described Two-Eyed Seeing, it was produced by the Institute of Integrative Science and Health at CBU.

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