In Integrative Science, we use "integrative" to mean individuals from different cultures recognizing and working with the ontologies, epistemologies, methodologies, and goals in their different worldviews (especially those in universities working with those in communities). It is through such efforts that we attempt to enact our vision. Indeed, our use of the word "integrative" is premised on mindfulness about more than one perspective – indeed, it is guided by Two-Eyed Seeing.
Our integrative approach for Integrative Science is a simple framework for educational curricular development, research practices and applications, and outreach efforts to youth and community. Our framework contains four key elements:
- On-going acknowledgement of the role of you and me as creatively capable agents for our knowledges, or as storytellers for our knowledges. By this we mean the mindfulness aspect in how we assemble and share our knowledges - our stories - using our ways of knowing, valuing, and doing. On-going acknowledgement includes that this agency becomes contextualized within a larger community of knowers – the knowledge collective – eventually becoming the knowledge system with an ontology, epistemology, methodology, and goals.
- On-going effort to understand and deepen our understanding of our common ground (Indigenous and Western).
- On-going effort to understand and deepen our understanding of our differences (Indigenous and Western) and develop respect for them.
- On-going recognition of our need to talk and walk together on our Earth Mother today (i.e., the necessity of co-learning journeys guided by Two-Eyed Seeing).
We realize our Integrative Science journey will be long and on-going, and in this regard we point to the three letters "ive" in "integrative". These letters introduce the idea of action, of tending toward a state, especially in a regular or lasting way (Iwama et al. 2009) and in this regard we cite the 2002 version of "A Dictionary of Prefixes, Suffixes, and Combining Forms". Newhouse (2004) indicates the work of grappling with each other's cognitive universes and learning to see through the minds of others is the work of generations to come.
It is important to note that we are not using the word "integrated", as this past tense would imply a finished product whereas our co-learning journey is envisioned as on-going.
We feel it is equally necessary to specify how the word "integrative" is not being used in Integrative Science. We acknowledge the historical record in Canada of injustice towards Aboriginal peoples and societies; it is our desire to avoid contributing new misunderstandings. "Integrative" is not used in the sense of two knowledge systems merged into one. The latter is not our intent and, moreover, would hold open the door to knowledge domination and assimilation, an undesirable new form of hegemony. "Integrative" is not used in the sense of only taking bits and pieces from Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing and then appending them to Western knowledges and approaches. Unfortunately, this easily results when timeframes are hurried and/or when co-learning has not been part of the process.
References in above:
Iwama, M, Marshall, M., Marshall, A. and Bartlett, C. 2009. Two-Eyed Seeing and the Language of Healing in Community-Based Research. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 32: 3-23.
Newhouse, D. 2004. Indigenous knowledge in a multicultural world. Native Studies Review, 15(2): 139-154.