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Universal Design for Learning
Decolonizing Curriculum

Two-Eyed Seeing

Eurocentric sciences possess a powerful way of knowing about nature, and this includes knowledge appropriated over the ages from many other cultures (e.g. Islam, India, and China).

Aikenhead & Ogawa, 2007

Albert Marshall, a respected Elder of the Mi’kmaq Nation and one of the authors of "Two-Eyed Seeing in the Classroom Environment: Concepts, Approaches, and ChallengesOpens in a new window," translated the Mi’kmaw word Etuaptmumk into “Two-Eyed Seeing” as a way of explaining the Indigenous and Western approaches to science. Two-Eyed Seeing refers to “learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous ways of knowing and from the other eye with the strengths of Western ways of knowing, where one does not have to relinquish either position but can come to understand elements of both” (Bartlett et al., 2007).

As Lori Budge (2021) explains:

“In the deepest sense of knowing, Two-Eyed Seeing, the gifts of the four-directions, and all Indigenous knowledgesOpens in a new window, convey the understanding that we are here for a reason. We enact that when we embrace others’ viewpoints/gifts, living as we are supposed to, in the balance that comes from sharing these perspectives. Two-Eyed Seeing is not a dichotomy in that two different perspectives need not contradict each other in the Western sense of thinking. Two-Eyed Seeing represents coexistence and pluralism. In this way, Indigenous knowledges and ways of generating knowledge coexist with Western perspectives. The benefits of both are meant to benefit all.”

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Indigenous Knowledge and Science RevisitedOpens in a new window” (Aikenhead and Ogawa, 2007).

Two-Eyed Seeing can help us think about representation in our classrooms from a decolonial lens and about taking a pluralistic and multimodal approach to knowledge exchange. Indigenous pedagogical frameworks and concepts have been purposefully silenced or appropriated by settlersOpens in a new window in the creation of educational systems and pedagogical practices. From both a critical pedagogyOpens in a new window and decolonizationOpens in a new window perspective, the silence and disappearance of Indigenous knowledges is also the course content.

Next sectionChallenging Colonial Bias