IndigeSTEAM 's mission is the provision of Indigenous-led and culturally-relevant programming in STEM/STEAM to support a better future for Indigenous youth in STEM. We do this with spaces that are ethical and respect Indigenous culture and Ways of Knowing. We bring in Indigenous STEM role models and train non-Indigenous and Indigenous STEM professionals how best to work with Indigenous youth and youth in general. We also provide the Indigenous STEM professionals with networking and support that recognizes their need to walk in two worlds.
STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. When we want to talk about the connections of STEM to social enterprise, humanities, arts, innovation, entrepreneurship and more, we put an 'A' into STEM to get STEAM. The A can reflect Arts, Architecture and Agriculture – all areas that Indigenous peoples have been innovators in for thousands of years.
Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science represent two different ways of looking at the world around us. Indigenous people are VERY under-represented in STEM education and careers as many don’t see that STEM is open to them. Besides the goals of diversity in STEM industries, this is of concern to Indigenous communities building their future leadership and they are encouraging their communities, especially their youth, to develop Two-Eyed Seeing in STEM subjects. The solution is not just STEM outreach programs to Indigenous youth, but ones that respect Indigenous perspectives, have Indigenous STEM role models and include the whole community (parents and elders) so that youth see this as important and for them. It is also an important way for the non-Indigenous STEM community to learn Indigenous ways of seeing the world.
Etuaptmumk is the Mi'kmaq word for Two-Eyed Seeing introduced by a Mi'kmaq Elder from Eskasoni First Nation, Albert Marshall. It refers to learning to see with one eye the strengths of Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, and with the other eye the strengths of western knowledges and ways of knowing, and to learn to use both eyes together to gain a clearer understanding of the world. A Two-Eyed Seeing approach is one way to integrate, and develop a greater understanding of, and appreciation for Indigenous worldviews in our classrooms. It is also a way to offer First Nations students more opportunities to succeed in the dominant culture without compromising their own culture. Two-Eyed Seeing in both directions will enable us to walk together.
IndigeSTEAM changes the bolded sentence above into “Two-Eyed Seeing in all directions enabling us to walk together” as our vision statement. We recognize the need for training and working with volunteers and audiences who are immigrants to Canada to break the boundaries between them as newcomers and Indigenous communities. There is a growing recognition of a strict separation between two intersecting debates surrounding identity, citizenship, and belonging—the immigrant experience and Indigenous peoples. The dialogue and teaching of immigrants to Canada about Indigenous people should not always be through the white settler voice, but from the intersection of all of us working together.
To find out more about each of the individual programs, click on their individual image in the slider above or follow the links.
Watch here for the things that we do together.