a serene forest with dappled sunlight.

Stage 2. Space to clarify the intent

Space to clarify the intent: the seed group gathering

1st in-person gathering - February 2023. 

As discussed in diverse virtual meetings while trying to define some concepts and methods to steward the implementation of TeSA for the Psychedelic Medicine Research Centre, many of us decided that an in person gathering would be absolutely necessary to discuss certain aspects such as terminology, intentions, outcomes of the research, uses and ownership of resulting knowledge, relation with First Nations, and other fundamentals that provide an ethical and safe space for cultural knowledge sharing.

This 6-hour in-person workshop  focused on clarifying the intent of unifying ways of knowing for the research and development of the  NCPR. The focus was also in finding the intentions, values and principles that will be at the foundation of the NCPR 'Third Space' for intercultural collaboration. To establish a safe space of collaboration between participants, we agreed in sharing our personal knowledge from an individual approach considering our cultures the shapers of our own thoughts and words.

Basically, in this first gathering, the objective is that the Seed Group meets to clarify the intent of unifying ways of knowing for the research and development of the  NCPR. The plan is to have an equal number of participants from Indigenous and from non-Indigenous backgrounds.

Focus and framing

To frame and integrate this collective process, we used the Integral theory AQAL model. AQAL, which means ‘all quadrants, all levels, lines, states and types’, is a framework developed by Ken Wilber and colleagues for mapping perspectives, world views and globalized knowledge (Duffy, 2020). This model allows a comprehensive approach that considers individual and collective information. AQAL provides a framework for the systems mapping of multiple perspectives across a flux of different worldview levels. 

Figure 1

The 4 AQAL quadrants model

AQAL model

Note: the top quadrants are focused on individual insights (I, IT);  the bottom ones are collective insights (Us, We). On the left you find the quadrants related to the interior, inner perspectives; on the right you will find the opinions related to the exterior, or the way I, We relate to the exterior It, Us. Each quadrant has one color to differentiate them.

We started by sitting in a circle and listening to Elder Geraldine Manson’s land acknowledgement. Then, we introduced ourselves through an exercise inspired by Dr. Georgina Martin's suggestion to “acknowledging where one comes from including the recognition of one’s historical, political, and social location” (Martin, G., 2014, p. 67). After listening to each one’s self-location story the AQAL model was explained to participants.

Participants were asked to write, in simple words,  feedback on each one of the AQAL quadrants through questions regarding the NCPR conceptualization. In the ‘I quadrant’ they shared about their Intentions, personal interest, expectations, apprehensions related to the foundation of the NCPR; in the ‘It quadrant’ reflection was on the talents, biases, and behavoirs each one brings to the centre; the ‘Us quadrant’ was about shared purpose, core Intentions for the research and ethics framework, and expectations; the ‘We quadrant’ covered the cultural assets, shadows, and concerns about knowledge sharing between cultures that need to be addressed in the NCPR.

After that process finished and all of our notes were visible at the central panel inside the circle, we engaged in a talking circle to agree on the qualities of the epistemological relationship that the ‘Third space’ requires. Topics such as purpose and direction for the NCPR, the formation of ‘stewardship’ roles, the co-creation of a methodological and ethical framework for a purpose that upholds shared principles and convictions, ‘Non-Negotiables’ and anticipated challenges.

In depth discussion happened around the need of drafting, together with Indigenous researchers, the ethical, methodological and leadership frameworks for the governance and stewardship for  the NCPR, making special emphasis in building Indigenous Cultural Safety capacity in collaboration with Indigenous peoples and organizations (Curtis et al., 2019).

Instructions to interpret the AQAL model

To interpret the results of this research, please find the questions for the inquiry at the top of each quadrant, and the answers following the title. The data contained here is raw, and was transcribed from cards that each participant filled with their answers. The answers were classified by 4 categories and sub-topics. re is no interpretation and this consultation was only informing the next steps to follow. The Seed Group participants kindly provided their insights and opinions, presented in the model presented in Figure 2. 

Figure 2. 

Seed Group gathering results.


Below is the transcript of the information in each quadrant.



Quadrant 1, I (me)

Question 1: What is your personal interest in participating in the Nawt’ sa mawt Research Center?

  • Help consciousness medicines to be used in a good way.

  • Bring light to what I hold, and how it intertwines with what others hold. 

  • To follow, lean, the energetic spheres that call me.

  • Understand why Indigenous knowledge is necessary to support the research centre.

  • Professional development. 

  • Relationships of trust.

  • Learn, participate, collaborate. 

  • I want to tell sotries.

  • Explore other methodologies while practicing research and diverse ways of expressing the results (not written).

  • Work in natural time. 

  • Add to my toolkit for healing and sharing knowledge, learn how to integrate this into my spiritual walk.

  • Be part of a living process during this time of transformation. 

  • Include local perspective and guidance. 

  • Retrieve to community with a healing model.

  • Contribute to decolonize medicine approaches. 

  • Be among like minded truth sickers. 

  • Be able to advance in the availability of psychedelic treatments for the people.

  • Access to ancient knowledge.

  • Open a space for growing sharing a wider perspective. 

  • Transcendence-new knowledge. 

  • Knowledge for transformation.

  • My own healing and wellness.

Question 2. What are your personal expectations?

  • How is more important than what

  • Relationality 

  • Reciprocity

  • Seeing others open up and understand clearly.

  • Spontaneous creation and strategies that emerge from deep listening and tunning in. 

  • Increase Indigenous voice and visibility in the world of psychedelics.

  • Create bridge for funding for healing for Indigenous peoples.

  • To understand how to walk in love, and from that love to be the warrior, protector, in my role as knowledge holder.

  • That my contributions help to inform the research center.

  • Relations, learning, compassion, opportunity to tell a story.

  • Interconnectedness, ownership in the results from a loving space, really considering other paradigms and worldviews that inform and enrich the process. 

  • Shared bases and standpoints to bring down the divide. 

  • Harmonization,

  • Truthseeking.

  • Learning to work in leadership, in group.

  • Looking for and seeing connections.

Question 3. What causes mistrust or apprehension?

  • Shaming attitudes when someone is in the process of learning or not knowing.

  • Insecurity.

  • Gossip.

  • Cultural stealing.

  • Being used.

  • Not been heard, or invited.

  • Lack of safety.

  • Individual or Institutional appropiation through autorship and self advancement. 

  • Capitalization of knowledge without consult or consent.

  • Not telling the truth, not listening with open heart.

  • No nutritious spaces.

  • Opportunity to learn and tell a story.

  • Assumptions, judgment, or ungrounded ideas.

Quadrant 2, It (me in the world)

Question 1: What talents and light can you bring to the project?

  • Can see, and feel the interconnectedness.

  • Analytical.

  • Writing.

  • Leadership.

  • Calming.

  • Bridging.

  • Grounding.

  • Kind, funny, speak from the heart.

  • Smart.

  • Love of people.

  • Faith, spirit, translation.

  • Presence.

  • Experience, age, work, community.

  • Early life, ceremonial, food study and harvest in forest land.

  • Clarity, metaphoric, simple.

Question 2. What biases or behaviours are necessary to address or leave out to better participate?

  • Self doubt.

  • Fear of being vulnerable.

  • Judgamental and critical of myself and others.

  • Scattered mind.

  • Over committed.

  • Being afraid of others.

  • One foot out the door.

  • Desperation.

  • Lack of knowledge.

  • Speaking and/or acting prematurely.

  • Can get defensive.

  • Lack of trust in large systems.

  • Polarization of values.

  • Compultion.

  • Imaptience in healing processes.

  • Socialized to be loud / dominant.

  • Can be closed off or too independent.

  • Like shiny objects.

  • Comittment issues.

  • Disagreeableness.

  • Insecurity, fears, humility.

  • Appropriation.

  • Misuse, abuse of trust.

  • Non accepting of difference.

  • Stubborn, fixed in ways. 

  • Biases, stereotypes, behaviors. 

  • Self critical, insecurity.

  • Closes when threatened.

  • Scarcity approach. 

  • Assumption that I have only destructive, impersonal industrial, cold knowledge -not living present knowledge.

  • Lack of trust in institutions, negative assumptions about religion.

Quadrant 3. We (the culture)

Question 1. What are the best assets of your culture’s ways of knowing  and the other culture’s that you perceive?  

  • True transparency.

  • Canoe paradigm.

  • Cultural Safety.

  • Data stats quantitative.

  • Teaching, knowledge sharing and ceremony, experiencial.

  • Access to ancestors and their knowledge.

  • Practicity, analytical.

  • Recognition of perspective

  • Responsabilty

  • Tools for self development and purpose

  • It is trascendent, it can shift to sacred.

  • Can see interconnectedness.

  • Easy to understand and accept (because it is hegemonic).

  • Ritual, ceremony, honor, identity, connection to the land. 

  • Honor for the collective tradition, remembrance (China)

  • Reputation, family upholding.

  • Hability to move in complex structures (China).

  • Indigenous: wisdom, discernment, connection to lineage, spiritual teachings. 

  • Western: action oriented, and privilege that allows making mistakes.

  • Indigenous> More intact connection to ancestral knowledge.

  • Strong disciplines in spirituality, and ways of being. Connection to ancestral stories. 

  • Embracing traditions and spiritual teachings. 

  • Organizational sylos help to structure and analyze.

  • Cientific observation helps to see, proof, repeat and complement knowledge.

  • Deep ancient ways of knowing.

Question 2. What are the shadows and what worries you about working and sharing in collective projects with other cultures?

  • Self centered western

  • Contextual translation from a narrowed perspective. 

  • Corporate, capitalism, worth is by owning.

  • Academic and siloed.

  • Fear of not being a good member of my culture.

  • Dis-ease

  • Self advancement

  • Abuse of authority

  • Having answers without the right question.

  • Lazy to share.

  • Can’t see the interconnectedness.

  • Analytical.

  • Administrative-resources.

  • Self doubt.

  • Scattered mind.

  • Over committed.

  • Fractured information.

  • Lacking language base for correct 

  • translation.

  • Missing oral tradition.

  • Dominant and overpowering.

  • Experience of systemic violence limits ability or interest in sharing teachings for Indigenous people.

  • My western culture, to fast, too hungry.

  • Money centered.

  • Holds seats of leadership.

  • Exclusion, gatekeeping, superiority complex.

  • Angriness around colonization that makes it difficult to share.

  • Perfectionism, and expectations.

  • Neurotic.

  • Blind spots in the spiritual world.

Quadrant 4. Us (me in the colective)

Question 1. Why come together in a shared purpose? What is at the core of what each one intends?

  • To remove the relations that have been broken.

  • Transformational Walk for transformational time.

  • Relationships, everyone has one part of the puzzle.

  • The joy of meeting, heart to heart, mind to mind for creativity.

  • Because participating we make it our own, we all have different gifts.

  • Find solutions to complex problems.

  • Ethical core of intent. 

  • Being more light on what my belief and walk of life and personally become in. 

  • Intentional friendship.

  • Creation of new strategies and ideas.

  • Come into relation with each other, the planet and spiritual world. 

  • To see through separation, step into connection. 

  • To honor teachings that have been shared with me.

  • To grow in tools of perspective

  • To enhance healing models and access to a healthy community. 

  • Find remedies for service gaps. 

  • To become more me, more us.

  • Best way forward together.

  • Realizing the interconnectedness of things otherwise not seen.

  • To see beyond cultural trauma, to see beyond the conditions that I feel defined by.

  • Repair health to help others.

Question 2. What worries you about working and sharing in collective projects with other cultures? 

  • Siloed thinking, othering, alienating

  • What is at the core of knowledge sharing?

  • Lack of knowledge judgment.

  • Cultural appropriation.

  • Road blocks and areas of fundamental disagreement.

  • Disrespectfulness.

  • Causing harm, being ashamed.

  • Justification of harmful means to get to an end.

  • Lack of sacredness.

  • Being left out.

  • Moffing of traditional knowledge.

  • Misinformation creating further harm.

  • Appropriation by the government and institutions of research results. 

  • Institutional censorship.

  • Feeling that I don’t have anything to contribute / guilt because my culture is dominant.

  • I have lit fires, and I have stood in fires. I don’t want that again.

  • Worry about replication of colonization and other forms of domination.

  • Having barriers to wellness.

  • To participate in a community that holds teachings of ceremony with plants medicine.

Question 3. What do you expect from the others?

  • Anti-oppression, anti-racism. 

  • Community connections, strengths, purpose.

  • Spontaneous creation of ideas.

  • Healing, connection, understanding. 

  • Do good for humanity.

  • Two-eyed, multi-eyed seeing. 

  • Healing social experience.

  • Advocacy for inclusion of diverse ways of knowing.

  • Challenging dominant beliefs.

  • Family, spirit, ceremonial work.



We recognized that the TeSA approach is not just about cultural inclusion but about respecting the vast tapestry of Indigenous diversity. It's essential to emphasize that universalizing Indigenous cultures contradicts the very idea of honouring their richness and uniqueness. Some scholars have viewed the Two-Eyed Seeing approach as a framework for equity, envisioning each culture as contributing one eye to create a balanced view. However, this perspective overlooks a fundamental truth - we exist in a colonized environment, shaped by historical power imbalances, and ongoing cultural, social, and economic inequities. The prevalent western culture, with its deep-rooted influence, often exerts a disproportionate impact on Indigenous communities.

We must confront the reality that achieving true equity and balance between the ‘two eyes’ is immensely challenging in a colonized world. The legacy of colonization has left enduring scars, creating disparities that profoundly affect Indigenous communities' ability to engage on equal terms. The struggle for genuine equity is marred by systemic barriers and inherent biases that perpetuate the dominance of the colonizing culture. In the clinical research environment the path towards a more equitable sharing will encounter resistance, predominantly from the prevalent culture. We must acknowledge and address this resistance through a balanced, respectful collaboration between diverse knowledge systems. The NCPR must be aware of the last, and embed cultural safety, accessibility, equity and inclusion in all its endeavors.

Acknowledging the challenges that may happen between Indigenous and non-indigenous paradigms when they meet, the NCPR framework and team must be prepared to hold space for controversy and take advantage of the discussion to understand the depth of the others’ way of knowing: “aversion to controversy—the reckoning that reconciliation sometimes requires—has compromised the integrity of the concept itself, reducing Two-Eyed Seeing, we believe, to a shadow of its potential self. “ (Broadhead & Howard, 2021, p. 112). 

Also, it is important including Indigenous perspectives in all stages of the NCPR’s formation process and the research that will be conducted in the future. Recognizing and honoring Indigenous knowledge, cultures, and voices is essential for meaningful and effective engagement.

The general approach is to prioritize Indigenous knowledge involvement and create a framework where Indigenous methodologies and research grow safe, ensuring that Indigenous communities have accessibility to participation and ownership of the results.  

Finally, the group decided to create 2 new groups: one focused on defining the ethics and research methodologies frameworks for intercultural collaboration at the NCPR; the second group focused in the design of a Relational and Ancestral Leadership model able to hold the adequate structure for intercultural collaboration in research. The first group, ‘Research and Ethics’ will develop, from a multiple-eyed seeing approach,  the framework that will guide the research activities when Indigenous peoples are involved. The second group, called ‘Relational Leadership’ will focus on identifying areas of participation and stewardship, developing decision-Making Principles, bases for participants and stakeholders engagement, defining leadership roles and processes required to sustain the framework in the academic environment.

From the discussion formed around those categories, the group decided to create 2 groups: one focused on defining the ethics and research methodologies frameworks for intercultural collaboration at the NCPR; The second group focused in the design of a Relational and Ancestral Leadership model able to hold the adequate structure for intercultural collaboration in research. You can follow this groups results below.

See the Results

  • Relational Leadership group
  • Intercultural collaboration Research and Ethics framework group


Broadhead, L.-A., & Howard, S. (2021). Confronting the contradictions between Western and Indigenous science: A critical perspective on Two-Eyed Seeing. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 17(1), 111–119. 

Curtis, E., Jones, R., Tipene-Leach, D., Walker, C., Loring, B., Paine, S.-J., & Reid, P. (2019). Why cultural safety rather than cultural competency is required to achieve health equity: A literature review and recommended definition. International Journal for Equity in Health, 18(1), 174.

Duffy, J. D. (2020). A Primer on Integral Theory and Its Application to Mental Health Care. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 9, 216495612095273.

Martin, G. (2014). Drumming my way home: An intergenerational narrative inquiry about Secwepemc identities.


Researchers, scholars and knowledge keepers

Geraldine Manson, Georgina Martin, Gail Peekeekoot, Georgina Martin, Robert Nye, Emmy Manson, Charsanaa Johnny, Shannon Dames, Jess Shannon, Krys Sciberras, Gordon O'connor, Vivian Tsang, Jimena Chalchi.