Two-eyed seeing has been a contemporary concept by two Indigenous Mikmaq Elders in Cape Breton Canada. Through the use of Indigenous Oral Tradition, Elders Dr. Albert Marshall and Dr. Murdena Marshall have participated in many recordings of their concept and teachings. Their appearances at conferences across Canada and the United States provided many venues to share their work. In this presentation, Patricia Saulis will feature clips of the Elders speaking and provide some perspective on how their work could be brought forward in discussions of Environmental Justice and Media.
About Patricia Saulis
Patricia Saulis is Executive Director of the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council and a member of the Maliseet tribe of Indigenous people, whose lands lie along the Saint John River watershed on both sides of the US and Canadian border in Northeast Maine and Southern New Brunswick. Ms. Saulis is an experienced tribal policy administrator, environmentalist, and educational planner, and has a very extensive background working in tribal organizations on matters of social well-being, education and environmental sustainability.
In the midst of a highly fluid environment of changing political, economic, partnership, and financial circumstances, Ms. Saulis keeps the mission of restoring Wolastoq/St John Watershed in accordance with Maliseet rights and cultural stewardship squarely in her sights.
Ms. Saulis also has an impressive background in public health issues and policy surrounding First Nations communities throughout Canada. These experiences cover the breadth of important and current issues that impact Indigenous communities and represent her strong background and commitment in ensuring the betterment of not just her own Indigenous community but those of the entirety of North America.
The following is a transcript generated by Otter.ai, with human corrections during and after. For any errors the human missed, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scot Osterweil 00:47
With that I want to turn it over to Jim Paradis, the Robert Metcalfe professor of Writing and Media Studies, who’s going to introduce our today’s speaker. So, Jim.
Jim Paradis 00:59
Thanks, Scott. Welcome to the Comparative Media Studies colloquium at MIT. I think there’s a number of people from MIT and outside of MIT. I’m Jim parody a faculty member of Comparative Media Studies and Writing. Our talk this afternoon is creating space for balance indigenous knowledge and Western science — two-eyed seeing — environmental justice and media. Our featured speaker is Patricia Saulis. This year is MLK visiting scholar, also executive director of the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council, and a member of the Maliseet tribe of indigenous people whose lands lie along the St. John/Wolastoq River and its watershed along both sides of the US and Canada. River empties into the Bay of Fundy. So very tremendous River. Miss Saulis is an experienced tribal policy administrator, and environmentalists and Educational Planner. A recording of this talk will be posted Friday at the CMS website to aid seeing has been a contemporary concept, but of two indigenous Mikmaq elders in Cape Breton Canada through the use of indigenous oral tradition. Elders, Dr. Albert Marshall and Dr. Nina Marshall have participated in many recordings of their concept and teaching. Their appearances at conferences across Canada and the US have provided many venues to share their work. In our presentation this afternoon, Patricia will feature clips of the two elders speaking and provide some perspective on how their work could be brought forward in discussions of environmental justice, and media. Patricia, welcome, and it’s all yours.
Patricia Saulis 03:06
Woliwon, Professor Paradis and I just want to say, kwe, hello, ni’n teluisi is Patricia Saulis. I am from Tobique First Nation, which is a Maliseet community in Brunswick, Canada. And it’s a great honor to be with you here this evening. And I look forward to to where discussion, I did prepare a PowerPoint that I will ask for it to be brought up so that I can share some of my ideas and thoughts with you this evening. So I had had the idea that I needed a new mantra. And and that new mantra is creating space for balance. And in regards to indigenous knowledge and Western knowledge in the two-eyed seeing approach and how it can apply to environmental justice and media. I thought that this was you know, a very apt opportunity to be able to share some of the insights from two of the elders who have been leading the CO creation and co learning process that is enabled through adopting the two-eyed seeing approach. In order to, I guess get started on my presentation, I would ask for the next slide.
Scot Osterweil 05:04
Andrew, it’s not advancing. It’s not advancing is showing on mine is the second
Andrew Whitacre 05:15
among the second slide on mine,
Scot Osterweil 05:17
yeah, you may need to unshare and try again. It depends on how you selected the window when you shared your
Andrew Whitacre 05:24
I see, I see.
Andrew Whitacre 05:32
does that show any different?
Yes. acknowledgments. Okay, good.
Patricia Saulis 05:36
Thank you, Scot. Thank you so much. Um, so as as part of our protocol, we often start with our acknowledgments. And so in my acknowledgement, I’d like to give things to the MIT graduate program and Comparative Media Studies. And Professor James Paradis, as my host, faculty member, as well as the institute community and equity office, that the MLK Visiting Scholar Program is a part of it also like to give thanks for the MIT Native American student association and alumni, as well as the MIT American Indian Science and Engineering Society, as well as supportive colleagues, friends and family, who are supporting me and of course, helping me to achieve what I can and this wonderful year of, although it’s, it’s virtual, I’m still very, very glad and grateful to to be a part of this program. Next slide, please. Further acknowledgments, as per the protocol is to give thanks to the waters, the ground, the trees, the plants, the crawlers, the swimmers, the winged ones, the two legged and the four legged, as well to give things for our levels of creation, which is, of course, above us, below us, and what is on the surface, as well to acknowledge and give things to the seen and unseen. As well as our ancestors, all of our ancestors, past, present, and future. I’d also like to give acknowledgement to the spirit of songs, dances, languages, and our dreams. And being the one of the MLK scholars, I feel it’s very important to always draw upon the legacy of Dr. King. And the very, the very essence of so much of his wisdom is based on many of the notable quotes that have been captured as part of that legacy. And I’d like to share just one with you as a way to ground this work and in the work that I do. He said, make a career of humanity. commit yourself to the noble struggle of equal rights. It will make a greater person of yourself a greater nation of your country, and define our world to live in. Next slide please. As well, I would like to provide the acknowledgement to the land acknowledgement, MIT land acknowledgement. MIT acknowledges indigenous peoples as the traditional stewards of the land, and the enduring relationship that exists between them and their traditional territories. the land on which we sit is the traditional unceded territory of the Wampanoag nation. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced occupation of their territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse indigenous peoples connected to the land on which we gather from time immemorial. Next slide please. As well, I want to give acknowledgement to the protocol. And as I’ve outlined many indigenous nations follow many levels of protocol, such as ceremonial protocol, spiritual protocol, language protocol, cultural protocols. All community protocol, inter nation protocol, an interpersonal protocol. Acknowledging protocol, knowing protocol and honoring protocol is an essential element to establishing respectful relationships. relationship building on protocol is a culturally sensitive and appropriate way of demonstrating care and concern for well being. Following protocol is meant to ensure inclusion, gratitude and acceptance at the forefront of recognizing the spirit of all that is brought together and provides protection from what may be negative. Next slide, please. So, delving into the subject at hand, too, I’d seen I did just want to give a little bit of context before we also delve into some of the YouTube references that I’m going to share with you tonight. Two-eyed seeing approach, in redressing systemic discrimination and environmental racism and injustice is based on the idea that there is a combined vision necessary to understand the plate of life today. Some will list of elders or mela seated elders have noted that what happens to were relatives, the four legged swimmers, the fliers, the crawlers, those seen and unseen will happen to us to what humans are doing to their surroundings is having a devastating and lasting impact to life. Climate change does exist, and that it is man made. Climate change is not only about impacts to humans, but to all life and that is a story about life and death. And there is great grief, sorrow and anger in the telling of this story. Further, that we understand that humans are but one of our but only one species of 8.7 million. It is going to take a reconnecting a vision between two competing worldviews to fully understand where we are at and what needs to change, knowing how to use the best of both. Next slide please. So, at this point, I’m going to share with you our two elders that I’m going to reference in the next part of the presentation. Can we play the first then second link please?
Albert Marshall 12:52
[Untranslated] in English, it means that to be mindful of maintaining that interconnection and your dependency within with our with all of creation. We have to do it on a daily on a daily ritual basis. Yes, let’s use the word prayer. We use that format of not just acknowledging but expressing our appreciation to what he has given us. And and after to remind ourselves at what our responsibilities are of ensuring that you’re in our little shorts tea here in the physical plane. We have to somehow we have to find a way and be mindful as to how we go about exercising our inherent responsibilities of ensuring that no action that we that we will take will never compromise the ecological integrity of the area, nor compromise the cleansing capacity of the system. Because the overall objective is to ensure that the next seven generations will also have the same opportunities as we have and hopefully better opportunities than we have. I’ve not just been able to sustain themselves and harvest the gifts from the creator but also be able to enjoy and learn from from from from her. Just like what our answers I’ve learned from
Murdena Marshall 15:08
I’m Murdena Marshall. I’m a retired Associate Professor, my grandmother and great grandmother. I was born in 1942. And what caught my eye left what caught my eye at one year and move to the big centralization party, that the federal government […] and I was caught up in that. Well, when you’re invited to a party, you’re not going to say no. I grew up here was educated at the day school, Indian day school until grade nine I think. And then I went to Arichat for a year or two, then I transferred to St. Joseph’s convent in Mabou. After high school, I got married, and everybody was gone home to marry me because I wasn’t yet pregnant. My father was delighted when I asked him, Holy mackerel, when he said was in those days, you only need high school to survive and get married as soon as you can. before you’re in the valley way. I decided to go back to school and I went to teachers college to have that early childhood program. But I when I found out you cannot teach in a regular school program with that certificate, I think donate three or something like that. then moved on to UMB. And there I received my Bachelor of Education degree. And then from there, I moved to I went on to our for and received my Master’s in administration, Social Planning and social policy. And from there, I realized the greatest need for Eskasoni was to trapped the language to make it static, so it doesn’t erode any longer. So I went to St. Thomas University and graduated with a with the certificate program of teaching the average indigenous languages and training teachers. And then I work for the went to work for university of CBU and was there for 18 years until I took sick. I have always been concerned about the language. I decided to prepare my education and there is working towards and around language. And I’ve been doing that. Although my my Masters is in administration, at the University where I work, that wasn’t a discipline I was in. So I first year I did curricula. And the next year after I made the curriculum, they asked me to teach so I taught Yeah, but that’s again, that was so big. I had five classes to fulfill the need. It drained me out of my own energy and out of my own spunk at them brag and I’m the Savior of the world. But I was able to open some of their minds. When I left they replaced me with three people tested drove we met we met I haven’t left Cape Breton much except for education. I enjoy Cape Breton. I enjoy the water. I was born that far from the water right because couple hundred feet in a bottle was lift near water. And when I go somewhere like Calgary or and there’s no water around I feel very uncomfortable and unable to sleep and no as I missed that air, not the waves, but I missed that air coming from the sea. But papered has been my favorite spot in the world. Not having so much choices but the places where I have been up Excuse me. Oh, always draws me back to paper, but at the hospitality and the familiarity of the place and We lived in Boston for a while, I thought mostly about Cape Breton too. But we came home because I wanted my children to speak their own language and to recognize the most precious thing in me my life. And that’s family. I want them to experience they’re on Send now girls and cousins and however they’re, they’re connected to them and I give my greatest credit to my grandfather. He was my mentor. Even when I was into marriage, he was still my mentor, and my aunt Jessie Jadore the medicine woman. Those to her to bring this impact in my life. And my other aunt and Catherine, who taught me the hieroglyphics and another on taught me how to tell stories and preserve legends and all that why English has no preposition, it has no word order, it has no gender. There are certain pronouns that you use contant- consistently. And there’s five tenses. So it’s a that’s a […] the five tenses. They are the past person to future, but they’re missing out on the healing tense. And there is stuff on the spiritual tense. And they’re both so appealing when you were a little kid. And you have no television or radio or a […] or anything like that. You you listen to stories, and you tend to sit around the fire after supper and everything well innovate while or there is no such thing as suffered dinner or breakfast. You eat when you’re hungry. Your body your body dictates your your your you eat just you don’t dictate your body. And so when you want to go to the bathroom, we don’t wait for the beep or […], see one for so we have two stories, different people would come in in the evenings and visit and tell stories. And I received a lot of stories from listening to my own grandparents and my own aunts and uncles, the stars, were your guiding point. Do the constellations for your calendar to look up in the sky who know what season two By the way, the constellations are arranged. They’re also your guides for travel and stuff like that. Now take for instance, the constellation of the dipper. Now that’s a long stretch to teach you seasons of the year, months of the year. And how out the bear resituated is we tell you what time of year it is. Winter is late spring or mid summer, beginning of fall. Oh, by the way, the constellations are raised, and the equinoxes and the salts play an important role in determining the movement of the earth. So you sort of know these stories because you do them through people telling them but as you grow up, you don’t know really what why they tell you the stories until you yourself began to take up an interest in in the sky or night stories or astronomy. Then you begin to piece these pieces together these stories attached to this constellation and vice versa. I have no one to think but my family these doors didn’t. Didn’t come automatically. It was through experience and you remember in because you can’t when you when a story is told to you in this interest and it turns to pick it out in your mind. No, it’ll stay there engraved there.
Patricia Saulis 24:33
So, those two elders Dr. Albert and Dr. Murdena Marshall, along with Cheryl Bartlett work through Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada to create the Institute for integrative science and health. And that Institute lasted from 2006 to 2012 The institute offered a science degree program. Since prefer, Professor Bartlett has retired and the program has transitioned into another department, there is still a growing segment of science faculty and universities across Canada that have sought to adopt the two-eyed seeing learning approach to enrich their solely Western based programs. As a way of sharing this with MIT, I am hoping that there that there are those amongst you that seek a similar vision of learning that can create not only a higher level of success, but also a greater degree of connectivity and learning that will enable enables superior learning paradigm development and research in creating a better world for all. Next slide, please. So we have another two segments on YouTube. If we could play one, then the next, Andrew. Sure.
Cheryl Bartless 26:23
That’s how it started. Communities, the elders were concerned that there were not any students from their communities going into the sciences.
Albert Marshall 26:46
Two-eyed seeing really, he has to be your guiding principles as to how one should live. While you are here on these on the on the shirt.
Cheryl Bartless 27:05
Two-eyed seeing as brought to us by elder Albert Marshall Miꞌkma Elder Eskasoni is recognizing that there are different ways of looking at the world. And maybe two of those ways are the western scientific way. And the indigenous peoples are the Aboriginal peoples way. And that two-eyed seeing refers to finding the strength in both of those, the Western and the indigenous. And mindfully bringing those strengths together. drawing upon the deep understandings that they represent the strengths of each and bringing them together to work together to go forward on this planet. Together,
Murdena Marshall 27:50
I feel that what we learned as First Nations people in your own identity meet what is valuable. I also believe that the cost has been brought on by Europeans is also valuable in today’s world. And you try to bring those together and look at it through two, I’d seen that both are very valuable. And both can be can be achieved.
Albert Marshall 28:18
Our airs are poisoned, our rivers are poisoned, our forests are pretty much gone. And the animals are, are extinct even as we speak. With this two-eyed seeing, we very quickly realized and see that science, science is not going to save the environment or the natural world, but rather to greater change every change of attitude change change of mindsets,
Cheryl Bartless 28:42
I see the strengths of Western science as being the ability to look at the physical world. See the patterns within it and take those patterns apart and find the mechanisms. We’re trying to search for the mechanisms that that bring those patterns into existence. And then on the basis of that reconstructed understanding, try to improve upon our material existence often. For humans in this world, I see the strengths of the indigenous peoples on the other hand of also seeing the patterns in the world. But rather than taking them apart, to reconstruct them, it’s more of a working of patterns within patterns. In other words, a weaving of yourself and your understandings into the world in which you live. I think one of the most exciting and useful ways to teach science would be to use one of the methods from science itself, which is the Compare and contrast. Why can’t we educate our science students as to what the mainstream way of doing science is? and compare it and contrast with another way of doing science from an indigenous perspective, why can’t we put them side by side and use them to help students develop a better understanding of what mainstream science is? And what other perspectives on science are? That’s a scientific method compare and contrast.
Albert Marshall 30:14
Basically, the the education system has taught us to, to observe every knowledge we get without actually, without actually questioning it or looking at it from another perspective.
Cheryl Bartless 30:28
Why do we think that we can teach by focus on it on the one thing when the whole of human consciousness is not a focus on one thing, it’s always a back and forth a scanning of the environment and a compare and contrast, a past and a future within the present.
Murdena Marshall 30:46
With me, Mark identity. As I was growing up, I didn’t know any other identity. Because I was being trained in magma. I was trained in language, and in the language embedded all of your your are your oral traditions, all your moral, and all your everyday life, your history is involved in it. Because when you went to bed at night, without the competition of television attire, and everything else, you had stories, he has stories of what your own history, he has stories about, about everything that is required to make you into a better human being.
Cheryl Bartless 31:26
And part of the struggle of anybody, I don’t think it matters who you are, is to ask yourself and to learn who am I. So if an educational system ignores part of who who you think you are, simply because it doesn’t include your people’s understandings as for example, if the science curriculum does not include any of the understandings that Canada’s Aboriginal peoples have with respect to the land that they’ve occupied for thousands of years, then that ability to develop a well balanced and deep understanding of who you are, as a young Aboriginal in Canada today is going to be denied
Albert Marshall 32:07
Our journey here. It’s not meant for one, one perspective, or one consciousness to get us to, when we all need each other. So the the lessons that we are kind of put forth now is pretty new to our young people. It couldn’t be much more expedient, if we can take the best, whatever tools the right man has brought forth. And the tools, what our forefathers had left us with.
Murdena Marshall 32:35
This two-eyed seeing is valuable. When you when you pick from the tool from you, when you pick from two worlds, and try to call join call join those two is I find it very difficult, but I know it has to be done. I know you can I can. I can crawl into my culture and say, Oh, that’s all I need to survive in this world. I also know that you need the white man’s education to to survive in this world and be happy. And and I think the white man also needs me to what I have to offer.
Cheryl Bartless 33:24
We have a challenge ahead of us to bring to the attention of that educational system. The Western way of looking at things is but one way
Albert Marshall 33:35
Paraphrasing a Chief Dan George saying, we should take the instruments off the white man. He’s taught us and he said education better when he cooperated with ours. So we can create a better world for everyone.
Patricia Saulis 34:51
So as we know that there are many who want to utilize two-eyed seeing as a tool that can help themselves and others understand the indigenous worldview, and how it can help create a better path to environmental justice, indigenous justice and human justice. There is a strong connection being developed between two-eyed seeing and seeing more equity in relations between all life on Earth. I am going to share with you two practitioners, both indigenous, both in two different parts of this country, both striving to use this tool in their work, and both present their stories and thoughts based on the two-eyed seeing. Yep. Okay.
Evan Tlesla Adams 35:58
Good evening. My name is Evan Tlesla Adams and I’m so happy to present some ideas to you tonight, around the the very simple concept of two-eyed seeing which most of us are, are lucky enough to have these two masts were collected here in the north of British Columbia, one is in the Louvre in Paris and one is it the Canadian Museum of civilization and get you know, and one is blind and one is sighted and might represent maybe us looking at you or looking forward and back. Now this is a fish it’s called a sole, you’ve probably eaten it. It’s very humble fish. It can look in two directions at once. It’s a it’s a bit unlike human beings who have binocular vision, but they usually look those eyes look in the same direction from but from slightly different positions. So is two-eyed seeing or looking forward and looking back whimsical? Is it avant garde? Is it post colonial? Maybe it’s part of being the pluralistic, multicultural success story of being in modern Canada, maybe this is reconciliation, and maybe two-eyed seeing is the ability to look inward and outward at once. Maybe we can self reflect, maybe we must look ourselves in the eye, see the truth and be able to sleep at night. And maybe to eyed seeing is hopeful or beautiful or it’s the idea of balance the idea of getting back to optimism and to beauty. Maybe two-eyed seeing is about love and family and togetherness, strength, acceptance, maybe it’s about prosperity, of both, or of all. Now two-eyed seeing is a concept that exists in indigenous culture. And there is a very famous academic, Mr. Albert Marshall who talks about two-eyed seeing as learning to see with the strengths of each other and together looking one eye with the strengths of indigenous knowledge is in ways of knowing and with the other eye, the string of Western knowledges and ways of knowing and that together we can look forward. So here’s another way of seeing 1492 two eyes coming together. Christopher Columbus arriving in the off an island in the Caribbean, he was lost looking for India. And that arrival set off a great time or a period of exploration for Europeans. This is a painting of Captain Cook when he was killed by Native Hawaiians on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1779. And aboard that ship was a midshipman named George Vancouver. George Vancouver came to the coast of British Columbia, again and again and again. Here’s his is a portrait drawn when he came to my mother’s village 1792 Cortez Island, of course, my mother hadn’t been born yet. She was born about a kilometer from here. And so for me, Captain Vancouver is very real. And we have very many stories about those. This is my great grandfather, Tom Charlie Adams, who was born in 1860. This picture was taken of him in 1930 when he entered hospital with dementia. And he’s alive. He’s blind. So he doesn’t he doesn’t he didn’t I hear open his eyes as he walked about. And he lost his vision to smallpox. This is Canada. This is Canada 1867. It looks different from our image of Canada today. I know when you imagine Canada in your minds, it’s not this picture. And of course, I’ll point out the two solitudes of English Canada, French Canada. We were there too. But can you imagine Canada with indigenous roots? Well, part of its indigenous roots were the Indian act, a federal act, born in 1870 640 years ago that took great measures in controlling the lives of indigenous people. These are my parents, I’m sitting in my dad’s lap, and one of my sisters died when I was about five years old, she was accidentally shot to death by the boy next door. And I tell that story, because I knew Even then, even as a five year old, that communities and people were meant to be organized to help each other that that wasn’t supposed to happen. And my family who was quite wounded by that deserved help, and we should be organized enough to help. So the challenge for us today in Canada is that health outcomes between First Nations and other Canadians is different. It’s unacceptable, it’s unethical. And it’s sustained, unsustainable. And so what shall we do? Just to point out Dr. Camara Jones in Undoing Racism describes, in a gardeners tale, that a gardener notices that pink flowers grow taller than red flowers, and she thinks pink flowers are better, forgetting that she’s planted them in different parts of the garden, one in rich soil, and one in poor soil. And so we discussed the the idea of the social determinants of indigenous health, that the quality of health, the quality of life, the length of life, the lack of suffering, is tied to poverty, to education, and to housing, of course, for all of us. But for indigenous people. It’s also related to culture, and to self determination that the lack of determination can change one’s health. Here are two Aboriginal medical students who graduated just a few weeks ago, in my teaching at UBC, we discovered that 31 out of 32 Aboriginal medical students had racist experiences that were strong enough to discourage them from continuing. And we had to talk to them about staying in their programs. And thus the idea comes forward. If we’re going to face the inevitability of a racist experience, perhaps we should be armed for racist experiences. And that doesn’t mean that all of you or all of us are racist, simply that the reaction, the idea of resistance, and resilience is one that we must live with. When I moved to BC, with my new medical degree, and I went to St. Paul’s hospital, I went into the doctor’s lounge, I was very proud, I looked exactly like this. within five minutes, the security guard came up to me. And he said, I’m I’m sorry, sir, one of the doctors has reported that there’s an Indian in the doctors lounge. And I laughed, and I said, Yeah, you better get used to it. Part of my work is to work with Aboriginal populations. One day, we had a chief who was fighting for the return of an infant who had died. The chief coroner said by law, I’m allowed to keep this infant body for as long as I see fit. And I can remove parts of that body and keep them in order to determine a cause of death. And the Chiefs slammed his fist on the ground or on the table and said, We know you think you’re in charge. But we think that’s our baby. So to get where we need to go, we may need to fly in a different way. I showed this to an elder. And she said, Oh, yeah, there’s male eagle flies up down when it is having sex. And I said, Oh, that’s not quite what I wanted to say. And she said, Yeah, that’s a sexy Eagle. Thank you.
Rebecca Thomas 43:23
Kwe, ni’n teluisi Rebecca. Hi, my name is Rebecca. Shall we? The language you speak fundamentally shapes your worldview and everything that goes along with it. And this concept is specifically amplified. When it comes to indigenous languages. indigenous language weaves its way through every aspect of who we are as people from how we interact with the physical world, how we build our communities and how we carry our culture forward. And with that comes a unique perspective. And it’s that perspective that I’m going to try to create for you so that when I introduce the concept of etuaptmumk, of two-eyed seeing, you’ll understand why it’s so important. So to begin, a study published in psychological sciences called two languages, two minds broke down grammatical tools that situate actions in time, they showed photographs to English and German speakers and asked them to describe what was going on in them. So for example, they showed a woman walking in a parking lot. English speakers said, this is a woman walking, whereas German speaker said this is a woman walking to her car, they showed another photograph a man riding his bicycle. Once again, English speakers honed in on the action and said this is a man riding his bicycle, whereas German speakers needed to add a destination to complete their context, even though that destination wasn’t featured in the photograph. This is a man riding his bicycle to the library or to the supermarket. And what’s interesting thing is that English marks events as ongoing, were very action oriented in our language. So if I’m writing a poem when my spouse calls and he asks me what I’m doing, I’ll say I’m writing, regardless of the fact that I had stopped to answer the phone. German simply doesn’t have this feature. And so it’s interesting to see the two worldviews these languages carry, even though they have a common root. So what happens when you have a group of people with a language that has no common root but must operate within a completely foreign framework? Specifically, how do indigenous people find success in a colonized world? Now the saying things get lost in translation rings truer than you might imagine, when it comes to indigenous languages. This is Mi’kmaq territory. And many of you might have heard the word pjila’si to mean welcome. That’s what it’s used for. But the literal translation of the concept equates to, I’ll do my best. That’s a much more nuanced and meaningful interaction. In this moment, a person to person contract is being agreed upon. Think about that. In this moment, I will try for you. So, language, so language isn’t just something we use to get our points across. As I said, it’s woven into who we are as people and our notions of a broader identity. So Robert Thomas, no relation wrote about that, that broader identity, and he called it peoplehood, when referring to indigenous peoples. Now, the term peoplehood is a little bit odd. So I’m going to break it down for you, people who have differs from identity and that it not only encompasses the individual identity, but how that person ties it to a larger collection of peoples and how that in turn connects them to other people within that collective. So for example, I don’t speak Mi’kmaq, and I grew up off reserve, but I still identify as a Mi’kmaq person, I’m still within the concept of a Mi’kmaq peoplehood. And that, in turn, connects me to somebody who grew up on reserve, and who speaks the language. And it’s getting a bit complex, so please bear with me. peoplehood is made up of four things territory, sacred history, ceremonial cycle, and language, each thread informs the other, you can’t address a single aspect of it without looking at the whole, think of a spiderweb. If you clip a single thread that anchors it, the whole thing starts to collapse. So the Mi’kmaq language, for example, with its unique characteristics gives meaning to a sacred history, which dictates the use of the land which is crucial to the appropriate execution of a ceremonial cycle, which in turn, is performed in many of the languages that those ceremonies encompass. So firstly, that is a direct quote from my MA. So I’m going to take this moment and feel vindicated in my decision to pursue another arts degree. And secondly, indigenous peoples are complicated and complex. Imagine centuries ago, when we were writing the treaties and the language we were communicating in encompassed, how we would use the land, how would we carry our culture forward? How would we develop relationships with the settlers and colonizers, now how much of that was lost in translation when they were recorded in English, and French. So I digress. But remember those four strands, language, ceremonial cycle territory, and sacred history, the best part about peoplehood is that it is tremendously flexible, we can swap out and alter some of those strands without compromising our status as indigenous people. So once again, I’m going to use my lived experience as an example, you already know, I don’t speak mega mom. And that’s because through residential school, my primary language thread has been replaced with English and French. So if I go to a ceremony that’s conducted entirely in the megamall language, the significance of that ceremony might not fully resonate with me because I want to understand the full scope of what’s being said, but that does not diminish who I am as an Mi’kmaq person. Furthermore, there are many Mi’kmaq people who are practicing Catholics. So even though they smudge and they dance, and they drum and they sweat, they also go to church and pray in the megamall language and that does not take away from them they have woven another set of ceremonies into their ceremonial threat. Because being an indigenous person is a lived experience. It’s there’s no spectrum whereby somebody is more or less native than somebody else. Any arguments over authenticity are us internalizing a history of colonialism that has created rubrics and tools to measure our ethnicity. And blood quantum has nothing to do with it. The fact that my mother is non native does not take away from the fact that I am Mi’kmaq person. So with that said, I’m going to check in with you guys. Language shapes your worldview, and is one of four aspects that create an indigenous people who had an indigenous understanding of knowing of how the world works. So when you look at the picture that I’m trying to paint for you, you’re going to understand what you’re looking at. So here’s the picture. Indigenous peoples are the fastest growing demographic in Canada, our median age is 28 years old compared to that a 43, to the non native world. And what that means is you’re going to see more of us in your classrooms, in your workspaces in in your public spaces, the world is going to have to learn to interact with us in ways that are more meaningful and significant than what they have done in the past. I don’t need to elaborate for you all to know, we don’t have the best history. So what? That’s the question I always get asked, how does this apply to the real world, I work in Student Services in education, I act as a go between for the native and non native world, I advocate for students who have a hard time speaking up about themselves, I coach faculty on how to have appropriate cultural supports. And yet, in spite of what I try to do, sometimes the effects and indigenous student feels are too great, and they leave to go home. And it’s not that they’re not smart. It’s not that they aren’t capable of doing the work. It’s just that this world doesn’t get them. Our protocols are concepts of time, our ethics, etc, are just different. And it doesn’t mean we can’t communicate with your world. We’ve been doing it for the better part of five centuries. It’s that we ask that you now try to communicate with our world. And it is at this moment that I introduced the concept of etuaptmumk of two-eyed seeing it was introduced the elder Albert Marshall. Two-eyed seeing tanks takes the strengths of both a colonized world and both an indigenous world and ask that the user see through both lenses simultaneously to find success. It is the magma understanding of the gift of multiple perspectives to see multiple contexts simultaneously. For example, you see Nova Scotia, Nouvelle-Écosse, Canada, we see Mi’kma’ki, traditional territory, Turtle Island. It’s not either or it’s both at the same time. Two-eyed seeing was originally introduced to build greater capacity for STEM programming for Indigenous students and post secondary institutions, and is now being adopted nationally by organizations and institutions who are interested in trans cultural collaboration two-eyed seeing implies responsibilities for reciprocity, mutual accountability and co learning. It’s what we tried to build our treaties on. We want you to know about us and we want success in this world, but we are no longer willing to give up our world to do it. And you might be asking yourself, why would I go through so much trouble? To indigenize? The institution for such a small number of students in the answer, my friends, is beautiful. It has been shown it has been proven that when institutions implement indigenous pedagogy and learning styles, students across the board benefit, native and non native. Because we recognize the multiple contexts and paradigms that learners learn through our ways of teaching have traditionally been more universal, and more inclusive. So with all of my academic speak, and concept introduction, I bring it back to the elders, who always tend to say it best with regards to education, and relationship building. According to Albert Marshall, the foundational basis of any relationship is an exchange of stories. So as a storyteller, and as a poet, I will leave you all with what I do best, a poem entitled etuaptmumk. I lost my talk said Rita Jo, for me, I was never given the option to know to feel the flow of the words as they rolled off my tongue, giving me the lyrics and how our world was sung. My perspective was spun using the threads of both your world and theirs left to cobble together a spirit from rags and tears painfully aware that I was different. through hard work and determination. I found my indigenous articulation a compilation of two ways makes up the sum of me. You have two eyes that you only have one view your way is best you would argue centuries of being in position to subdue those who would aspire they say the sun never set on the British Empire. And because we recognize the hubris that defines your story, we have both a sunrise and a sunset in our territory. With my heart and eyes, I have a completely different view, the consequence of my skin comes in an entirely different hue, don’t you see, although you represent us, we think very differently than you because we see the world not through one set of eyes. But through to thousands of years long, we were independent, proud and strong. We belong to this earth, the way power belongs to money and privilege to birth we put our communities first. But then came the fleets filled with those you would ironically define today as come from a way to invade every inch of our world to break our spirits and pull the threads that would unfurl us to catch the way you speak. But this is not a poem for the retelling of a one sided history. Each of our worlds has their strengths. Yours is in power. It gets to eat its cake and define race. It has the ability to unapologetically take up space. If societal progress is linear. This society is top tier Terra nullius, as though we were never here, it must be nice to be so confident. This society is ubiquitous built on rarefied rubrics of tradition and rhetoric, your notions of diversity are ad hoc in nature and afterthought feature to an immovable structure. But this is not a conviction, nor an acquittal. Just the voice coming from an eye trained to be critical. And if you push the two sides of our Venn diagram together, you’ll get our circle. We were never meant to be static. Like the rivers around us, we shift and change and remain dynamic, we bring something to the table that is able to change your worldview and show you what we are capable of that a lot can come from a holistic concept of the earth, you are not a flag, nor are we a curse or a problem in need of a solution. And we’ve got to rid ourselves of the spiritual resolution, the dilution of our treaties written to share this land. And I asked that you understand that we are the experts on what we need. Don’t feed us your good intentions carefully laid apologies will not get you in historical exemption, we plan our actions for the next seven generations. And we invite you to do the same. Open your other set of eyes, take a pause and start breathing. Welcome to the world of two-eyed seeing. Thank you. Wela’lin.
Patricia Saulis 57:32
So in terms of these practitioners, and and the two people that we just saw, you know, it brings up a lot around what can we learn? What do we know? How do we learn who can benefit? How, how does how we learn matter. referenced in both of these presentations was the connection to where they came from. The need for sharing stories the ability to connect experiences and lessons learned, the richer the opportunity to learn from other perspectives through a lens that allows for incorporating vision and spirit and information and to be able to communicate from that space is a path to creating balance in dealing with issues of environmental justice, as I have been through the as I have been through the class that I am a guest lecturer in with Professor Paradis and Jahn, it is allowed a new door to open to discussing how convergence of extraction environmental justice and Media Studies is powerfully related. Next slide please. Recently in our comparative Media Studies class, Professor Macarena Gómez-Barris gave a presentation and referenced your work the extractive zone, which contains the following comment. Before the colonial project could prosper, it had to render territories and people’s extractable and it so through a matrix of symbolic physical and representational violence. Therefore, the extractive view sees territories as commodities, rendering land is for the taking, while also de valorizing the hidden world that came from that sorry, while also de valorizing the hidden world that form the nexus of human and non human multiplicity. This viewpoint similar to Colonial gaze facilitates the reorganization of territories, populations and plant and animal life into extractable data and natural resources, material and immaterial accumulation to white seeing as a way of creating the space for balance in the systemic, systematic approach to extraction and the creation of wealth. As acknowledged, and as we sit here through this pandemic, we must open two eyes and see, we cannot sustain future generations through willful blindness. Next slide please. too wide seeing as related to the media, we have the opportunity to create innovative and meaningful messages of collaboration. Through adopting a two-eyed seeing approach, we can build new pathways, protocols, new relationships based on respect for ourselves and each other. It is time that we put down the fear of not knowing and developing our abilities to instinctually know what we need to create sustainability and equality for our young. We can learn and grow and accepting the need for systemic change the need for systemic security and well being as impetus for innovation and research. We can truly go within and see the world through clarity and keep moving towards holistic well being, we can become teachable. media has a role and a responsibility to informing and allowing opportunities to educate and inform about to I’d seen, it will be worth the effort. Next slide, please. And in conclusion, there is one last brief clip that I wanted to share with you.
Welcome to C 2019.
I’m very honored to open this conference with
a written steam award to elder Albert Marshall
and his late wife, Murdena
Andy Rowe 1:01:47
Albert, you are my trusted guide for how I should look at embrace and also engage with the world around me, through you, and through Murdena, and your writings and most importantly, your spirit. We receive guidance and mentorship, and how to set aside personal ambitions, to set aside pain and darkness and turn to trusting and to assisting.
Zenda Ofir 1:02:19
I want to thank the Canadian evaluation Association for giving me this opportunity to be part of a tribute to someone had the wisdom years ago to understand that we need to respect and appreciate the other. And this wisdom is today more valuable than at any time as we the people in the world tend to drift apart at the moment. And this is exactly the time where we need to stop for a moment and look at what combines us what what we can blend together to take the best from all of us, in order to improve what we do our practice and the world
Larry Bremner 1:03:12
Two-eyed seeing, I think really has played an important role in increasing the understanding of the indigenous ways of knowing and doing as well as indigenous ways of evaluating by saying that we’re looking at the strengths of the Western world with one eye and the strengths of the indigenous world than other eye, it really becomes a non threatening way to engage people in evaluation and increases their likelihood to understand that in fact, you can accept indigenous evaluation practice, in a way increases the authenticity of your work.
Glen Page 1:04:02
Two-eye seeing allows us to better understand the challenges that we face, working with organizations and ideas like blue marble evaluation. This provides us an important principle to bring forth to the world and is with great, great honor that we celebrate this work of elder Albert Marshall and his late wife mardana. On the work of two-eyed seeing
Michael Quinn Patton 1:04:28
I had the privilege of engaging with elder Marshall at the Canadian evaluation society when we discussed together rights based evaluation. And what we found in that engagement was the two-eyed seeing in forms all kinds of evaluation, including the work that I’ve been involved in over the last few years on Blue Marble evaluation. Blue Marble refers to looking at the earth, as a whole, as seen from outer space, and in our engagement together through marble evaluation, and to I’d seen are completely integrated, as is integrative science. So what we have found in blue marble evaluation and into I’d seen is the integration of the local and the global is the integration of theory and practice is looking across different sectors and issues to see their commonalities is to look across artificial boundaries of nation states. So that what we are empty, attempting to do in creating a sustainable future, as to I seen instructs us is to combine the human and the natural.
Stephanie Francis 1:05:57
On June 21, of 2017, I went out to fast. And I prayed for the spirits of these women and girls that had been missing or murdered in New Brunswick, I prayed for the spirits of the families that I would be working with. And I knew that energy would be really strong. And that even though the victims, they’re no longer here in a physical sense, their spirits are always with us. And so I wanted to approach this project in a good way. And that meant taking it to ceremony. And in terms of evaluation, we look at how many times we’ve gone to ceremony. We talk about the importance of narratives and the qualitative the qualitative feedback from families, not just the written feedback. And and I really owe that to Albert and Murdena. They provided me with some valuable lessons about how how important our worldview is the valid they, they taught me to value, who I am, and where I come from, and why I am the way I am. They taught me how to value the territory that we come from the land, the water, and even the different ways we show that appreciation, through song, through dance, through painting. And then it doesn’t always have to look like Western mainstream methods. And I just want to say thank you to Albert, for taking his time and his energy to pray on these things. And to be so wise and to share and to have faith that these teachings will go on and, and spread throughout Mother Earth to everyone.
Patricia Saulis 1:08:30
So, in conclusion, I just wanted to close with another quote from dark Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and he said we have flown the air like birds and swung the sea like fishes. But we have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. Only when
Scot Osterweil 1:09:02
Thank you. Thank you very much for that presentation. Patricia. I have time for for questions from clearly. Anyway, we can switch our view here. All right.
Jim Paradis 1:09:43
Laura has her hand up, Scot.
Scot Osterweil 1:09:44
I’m sorry. We’re seeing hands raised now. Okay. I’m sorry, whoever’s raised the hand should feel free to speak.
Laura Partain 1:09:58
Alright, so I raised my hand but I Just wanted to ensure first that there wasn’t someone else who is specifically in indigenous Canadian and US studies who would like to ask a question before me. Just out of respect? No. Okay, thank you so much for this presentation I greatly appreciated as someone who works on indigenous communities in the Middle Eastern and North African region. So thank you. This was one wonderful, I have a few questions. and wondered if you could clarify just certain points of the pedagogy that that this is advocating for. And in one of the videos, one of the one of the women, she was talking about the relevance of compare and contrast, as an important way to approach to I’d seen, and I’m wondering if compare and contrast, unconsciously privileges, Western thought, as an ontological approach that indigenous learning is, is always already measured against? Or how do you approach or how do you account for certain inherent imbalances in, in, in power, due to suppose rationality of Western thought, and I just really am curious about this, for my own pedagogy, and if you also have a recommendation for a repository of this information for pedagogical thought I would really appreciate you sharing that as well.
Patricia Saulis 1:11:41
Will you and thank you, I think that’s an excellent question. And often times, you know, folks or folks are wondering how can we approach this from, I guess, the the understanding that both indigenous knowledge systems and Western knowledge systems are legitimate. And so one from the outset understands, and I guess we would say appreciates, that one system is not privileged or or seen as having higher authority or claim to truthfulness, that, that the other system does not also carry that. So So I know that, you know, me saying that doesn’t necessarily address your question. But I know as far as getting the understandings and the teachings directly from, you know, our elders and, and others who are practicing too wide seeing, that is something that they would reference at the outset of bringing forward this, these ideas. And, and I think it’s really important that, you know, along with understanding the legitimacy and the place, and the acceptance of that, credibility that comes with appreciating both knowledge systems is is an important step for folks to take. Because, you know, as we know, we’ve we’ve had a very long time of one system being elevated to to almost the point of the other system, completely disintegrating. And so through this approach, the idea is that, through revitalizing indigenous knowledge systems, we are providing and creating the space for balance, essentially, because it is through that it’s through that exchange, it’s through the reciprocity of, of, you know, providing ideas and observations in regards to a particular, you know, purpose or matter that it is in that is in that cross pollination of that discussion, that you really begin to get the, I guess, the abundance or the fruitfulness of what that can bring into a conversation that is otherwise, you know, pretty, pretty, pretty set in terms of what is established knowledge on the matter. So, and as far as providing resources. I do just want to say that, you know, I have been working with MIT NASA and MIT AISES for us to create a reading list Actually, we, we don’t actually have that as a as a resource. And so we are going to be doing that. And as you could probably tell, I have a lot of references that I’m compiling already, but we’re working as a as a collective exercise. So that, you know, different different levels of, let’s say, audience and readership, for the younger hip crowd, and perhaps, you know, those that are more aware of, you know, contemporary references that, that we’re going to have a range of, of what’s available for materials and and what we can reference.
Scot Osterweil 1:15:57
I have a question from the chat. But before I did, I want to open it up if there’s someone and has a question, among the panelists. Right, so the question from the chat is from Perry, it’s a practical question, how can science writers and science journalists and reporters finding digital sources to help balance their reporting and bring to it seeing into their journalism?
Patricia Saulis 1:16:22
Well, there is, I think, a number of ways. Um, first and foremost, I would say, you know, as, as with any kind of journalistic exercise, you develop contacts, you develop, you know, references, I think taking that time to do some of that foundational research about who is available, where you’re at, and the particular matter, um, you know, is, is one technique, I think there’s another technique and that is to actually reach out within MIT to the indigenous community here, we have both AISES and NASA that have, um, you know, student groups. And, and they are, you know, always meeting always interested to have a good conversation. And so, you know, if that is more practical to an amenable to, you know, how someone can reach out, I’d say, you know, reach out to, to the folks you may know, and they can often provide further contacts for, for you, depending on depending on the subject matter.
Scot Osterweil 1:17:50
And we have a question from Caroline Jones.
Caroline Jones 1:17:54
I, thank you so much for that really fascinating talk. Um, and, you know, I’m thrilled because I helped through some administrative funds to support Marisa and Jim’s class. So I’m really glad that this has been such a fruitful exchange, I wanted to know, if you had some information on how successful the two-eyed seeing has been, as a pedagogy, to draw indigenous peoples into the sciences. You know, as an MIT faculty member, it seems like such a vital, vital part of that pedagogy. And I also just wanted to make a recommendation for a book that I’m sure you know, which to my way of reading would be on the top of your reading list, which is the PhD botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, it just changed my life. So I’m hoping that, you know, models such as her center for Native peoples in the environment, which is drawing students from all over the US to do, essentially, maybe even for the first time, graduate work in science that they can take back to their communities and practice on their ecosystems. It just feels to me like such a brilliant example of what you’re talking about.
Patricia Saulis 1:19:20
No, know for sure. And I really, really appreciate all your effort and support. That is wonderful to hear. And, you know, in terms of in terms of success, I would say that you you only have to go as far as your searchable Google engine and put in two-eyed seeing and you will find a number of both scholarly articles and other types of references that will provide at least foundational material um, you No, as far as success goes, I have through my role with the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council, we have been working with Elder Albert, I’d say for about seven years now. And, and we have been working to incorporate two wide seeing into the work that we do with communities and with partners. But as well with government, and, and it’s always so interesting to find in in discover where conversations can go when it’s based on this type of an openness and a willingness to learn from each other. And truly, that that’s, you know, difficult as it is that really, it takes some it takes some openness to be able to begin to appreciate what is being, I guess, explained and described as a way of communicating with each other. And that’s why, you know, it’s such a wonderful fit, with CMS and the ability for especially the students that are in our class, to understand and to be able to hear the indigenous perspective on environmental justice and extraction, and how that translates into how they use media and, and media messaging in order to bring across their stories, their concepts. And, and I, you know, must say it’s, it’s been a tremendously positive response, or myself, even just, you know, in these last few months, that people are incredibly receptive, and, and really quite curious about how to mobilize and, you know, some efforts and collaborations that that really are so wonderful that I think are really providing an opportunity for innovation and creativity, which is, you know, of course, the very best that we can do.
Caroline Jones 1:22:21
I hope some scientists also are listening. Thank you so much for your generosity. Woliwon.
Scot Osterweil 1:22:30
Yes, thank you. Patricia, I don’t see other questions, although if someone has been Now, last chance, but this will be this is recorded. So it will be online. And so hopefully many more people will see it as well. Again, we really thank you for your there is a question. Oh, good question in the queue. Yeah, let’s go for that. I’m sorry. I didn’t see that need to read it out. Loud? Sure. How does two-eyed seeing deal with contradictory conclusions? For example, the indigenous scholar Marlene Brant Castellano maintains that indigenous knowledge includes revelatory knowledge. This involves the belief in the supernatural and things like dreams and visions, which would not be accepted in scientific theories. If some indigenous knowledge holders are creationists, for example, how would you I’d seen record in style with this theory of evolution.
Patricia Saulis 1:23:24
Well, I think it’s really not the it’s really not the purpose of two-eyed seeing to reconcile irreconcilable differences in viewpoints. I think more so. Two-eyed seeing is meant to create the space for a balanced discussion. And an often times, you know, folks that are our field feeling, you know, that dichotomy and that opposition and conflict in view, even even there, even in creating the space for for those views, to coalesce, and, and created dialogue, I think is is part of the process. And in really providing that opportunity to respectfully Listen, and actually hear what people have to say. I think I think that is that is the that is the strength of too wide seeing is that, you know, no one, no one is assumed to be wrong, and no one is assumed to be right. We all have something to bring to the conversation. And let’s have it, let’s do it. Let’s have that. Let’s have that exchange.
Scot Osterweil 1:25:07
Thank you. Thank you for that question. I hope I haven’t missed anyone if I have, by all means. Well, it looks like as they said, it was a fascinating car. It was a fascinating presentation and generated obviously a lot of interesting questions. And we’ll be having this headline. So again, many more people can see it. So thank you for your for for this.
Patricia Saulis 1:25:33
Woliwon, thank you, everyone.