Building Social Infrastructure: Two-Eyed Seeing and the role of Elders (Re-Code)

Etuaptmumk is the Mi’kmaw word for Two-Eyed Seeing. This phrase, made popular by Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall, refers to “learning to see from one eye with the best in the Indigenous ways of knowing and from the other eye with the best in the mainstream ways of knowing, and most importantly, learning to see with both eyes together – for the benefit of all.”

Two-Eyed Seeing is required to enable the transdisciplinary and collaborative work of building social infrastructure by postsecondary education
institutions in Canada.

Elders play an important role in institutions by framing learning as a highly social process that nurtures relationships in the community and flows benefits back to the community.

What is social infrastructure?

“Social infrastructure” is a term developed by settler institutions to describe the set of organizational arrangements and deliberate investments in society’s systems, relationships, and structures that enable society to create a resilient, just, equitable, and sustainable world; social infrastructure includes social, economic, environmental, and cultural assets.

While the language is different, the idea of building social infrastructure in a postsecondary context is aligned with Indigenous concepts and approaches to creating the social, physical, economic, spiritual, political, and health conditions that influence the learning process and contribute to community well-being.

Educational institutions can weave the idea of social infrastructure with Indigenous concepts around building community well-being as a way to organize and communicate their efforts to create positive social change and sustainable economic prosperity

Download PDF