Back to Search Results

“Two-Eyed Seeing”: An Indigenous framework to transform fisheries research and management

Andrea J. Reid, Lauren E. Eckert, John-Francis Lane, Nathan Young, Scott G. Hinch, Chris T. Darimont, Steven J. Cooke, Natalie C. Ban, Albert Marshall

2020 Canada

Increasingly, fisheries researchers and managers seek or are compelled to “bridge”
Indigenous knowledge systems with Western scientific approaches to understanding
and governing fisheries. Here, we move beyond the all-too-common narrative about
integrating or incorporating (too often used as euphemisms for assimilating) other
knowledge systems into Western science, instead of building an ethic of knowledge
coexistence and complementarity in knowledge generation using Two-Eyed Seeing
as a guiding framework. Two-Eyed Seeing (Etuaptmumk in Mi’kmaw) embraces “learning
to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of
knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of mainstream knowledges and
ways of knowing, and to use both these eyes together, for the benefit of all,” as envisaged
by Elder Dr. Albert Marshall. In this paper, we examine the notion of knowledge
dichotomies and imperatives for knowledge coexistence and draw parallels between
Two-Eyed Seeing and other analogous Indigenous frameworks from around the
world. It is set apart from other Indigenous frameworks in its explicit action imperative—
central to Two-Eyed Seeing is the notion that knowledge transforms the holder
and that the holder bears a responsibility to act on that knowledge. We explore its
operationalization through three Canadian aquatic and fisheries case-studies that
co-develop questions, document and mobilize knowledge, and co-produce insights
and decisions. We argue that Two-Eyed Seeing provides a pathway to a plural coexistence,
where time-tested Indigenous knowledge systems can be paired with, not
subsumed by, Western scientific insights for an equitable and sustainable future.

co-production, Etuaptmumk, indigenous knowledge, knowledge coexistence, pluralism,
Western science