Commitment to Indigenous Engagement

The Ocean Supercluster is focused on changing the way ocean business is done.

Our oceans are under immense pressure. By working together, embracing diversity of experience, capabilities, and knowledge, we can not only achieve greater ocean health but also greater ocean productivity. This is one of the most important opportunities of our time.

We acknowledge the importance of mutual respect, trust, and transparency in building meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities that:

  • Acknowledges and honours the constitutionally recognized and protected rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada
  • Respects the unique worldviews and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples
  • Recognizes the value and importance of Indigenous knowledge systems
  • Values the inherent stewardship Indigenous People have towards their natural environment

Our goal is to facilitate sustainable opportunities from economic development projects that leverage business, employment, training, and educational opportunities for Indigenous Peoples. Attainment of this goal must be grounded in the spirit of reconciliation and decolonization and predicated in work that recognizes, honours, and promotes the values of the following guiding principles:



The 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.
  • Support 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.
  • Facilitate connections and provide 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.


Changing the way ocean business is done must be rooted in meaningful intention, be grounded in action, and be measurable. The Ocean Supercluster will:


  • Ensure Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are paramount in the projects it supports and the programs it delivers with dedicated representation on Boards, Working Groups, Staff, and Selection Committees.
  • Co-design specific programs to support Indigenous start-up and scale-up initiatives, employment advancement, and career pathways.
  • Leverage its role to inform and educate OSC partners/members on the histories of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and provide enabling tools for Indigenous engagement that legitimize approaches such as Two-eyed Seeing and celebrates the inclusion of Indigenous ceremony.
  • Actively seek holistic opportunities with Indigenous ocean community partners that involve cultural leaders in communities alongside business leaders.
  • Affirm the call for free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples on projects that may affect them or their territories including abilities to negotiate the conditions under which projects are designed, implemented, monitored, and evaluated.
  • Promote the co-creation and co-generation of project proposals that demonstrate:


Community support and respect.
Proposals must evidence the support of Indigenous communities that may be affected by the project, or that have rights or a stake in the endeavour. Projects must also be explicitly developed in a way that is mindful, respectful, and reflective of each community’s cultural protocols, needs, and interests.

Collaborative practices.
Projects must explain how Indigenous communities have been involved in shaping the proposed research plan from its inception, and how Elders and Knowledge Holders have been directly engaged. Proposals must detail all planned participation of involved and impacted communities throughout the project.

Access and use.
Proposals must describe plans regarding Indigenous communities’ access, use, and governance of knowledge and data resulting from the research.

Experience and expertise.
Applicants must provide information about the team’s experience and/or expertise with Indigenous research and/or plans to address any shortages. If interns will work with Indigenous communities, information must be provided about the training, guidance, and mentorship they will receive from Indigenous communities and from academic institutional representatives.