Canada’s Ocean Supercluster has a physical and virtual presence from coast-to-coast-to-coast on the ancestral, traditional and treaty territories of Indigenous peoples – First Nations people, Inuit and Métis. We respectfully acknowledge Indigenous peoples’ stewardship of, and connection to, these lands and waters since time immemorial.
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster recognizes that Indigenous peoples are natural collaborators in ocean because of their lived experiences in coastal environments and their historic, cultural, and spiritual connection to water. With this understanding, we commit to:
- Building mutually beneficial relationships with First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities to better understand how to sustainably develop ocean opportunities that enhance Indigenous community capacity in business, employment, training, and education.
- Supporting meaningful and authentic interaction and equal involvement by Indigenous partners on OSC projects that provide for opportunity to include Indigenous perspectives relative to R&D, activities, and outcomes.
- Educating ourselves, our membership, our project partners, and the broader community in the historical and ongoing forms of colonization including the exclusion of Indigenous Peoples in matters that relate to the development of their lands and traditional territories.
- Facilitating connections and providing resources and time to advocate in reciprocity alongside coastal Indigenous communities to improve economic and social equity, sustainability, and respect for Indigenous knowledge in every ocean economy development initiative from coast to coast to coast.
Facilitating Indigenous Engagement
Meaningful Indigenous engagement must be rooted in the co-creation of programs and activities that increase ocean-related economic opportunities for Indigenous communities aligned with their values, priorities, and aspirations. To this end, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster began conversations early with Indigenous groups seeking their input as to how we can work together in the spirit of collaboration. From these talks, an Indigenous Engagement Working Group (IWG) was formed to map a path forward towards common goals. The IWG serves as an advisory group for the organization and as a conduit to Indigenous peoples, communities, and businesses. The OSC and IWG have co-developed an Indigenous Engagement Strategy outlining key objectives and defining successful engagement outcomes.
Successes From Our First Four Years
In collaboration with our members, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster strives to provide opportunities within our portfolio of projects to succeed as Indigenous partners, collaborators, and contractors. We support member-driven initiatives that focus on building stronger Indigenous communities, co-develop projects that increases access to Indigenous talent and mentorships, and enable the start-up and growth of Indigenous-led companies.
New Paths Toward Reconciliation
Building off the success of our first four years, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster has begun the Two-Eyed Seeing Initiative working towards meaningful Indigenous participation in Canada’s ocean economy. This initiative engages and collaborates with Indigenous organizations and communities to foster greater inclusion and participation in OSC projects and activities and build direct and meaningful partnerships. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is working with our Indigenous partners in the first phase of the initiative to shift towards fulsome and meaningful engagement of Indigenous communities as outlined in Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, inclusive of Elders, youth, and those historically excluded living away from their communities. Work on this exciting initiative began in 2021 and will serve to continuously inform OSC policy and program development into our next five year mandate.