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Ralph Eldridge

Ralph Eldridge

Indigenous Engagement Lead, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

Balancing ocean health and productivity

Canada’s Ocean Economy is experiencing transformative growth. It has never been so essential to balance ocean health and productivity into a single priority, and as we look to sustainability models, we must use both eyes.

A priority for Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is to adopt a “Two-Eyed Seeing” (Etuaptmumk in Mi’kmaw) approach to bring together Western science with Indigenous Knowledge. To embed this in the Supercluster’s initiatives, an advisory group is currently working on policy and program recommendations to guide ocean activity that better aligns with Indigenous Community priorities. Shelly Denny was an early supporter of the advisory group. Denny, Director of Aquatic Research and Stewardship, Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources, explains, “Two-Eyed Seeing recognizes the equality of different knowledge and the strengths of knowing through multiple perspectives.”

Indigenous Peoples have unique perspectives and relationships with water. Canada’s three oceans have been their homes and have played an important role in sustaining and defining them. Many Indigenous communities have a heightened knowledge of our oceans, the interrelationships between marine species, and their ecosystems.

Indigenous Knowledge must be interpreted through an Indigenous lens, meaning that Indigenous Peoples must be partners in the process,” said Leah Beveridge, advisory group member and PhD candidate at Dalhousie University.

At the Ocean Supercluster, we know fostering collaboration with different ideas, insights, and experiences expands the opportunity for innovation. Incorporating Two-Eyed Seeing is securing new ways to partner with Indigenous Communities, breaking down barriers, and aligning commercial and community priorities that contribute to healthy and productive oceans.

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