a serene forest with dappled sunlight.

Intercultural Collaboration Stewardship

Recommendations for a model for intercultural cultural collaboration in Psychedelic Research.

The formation of this collaborative research and development effort began with a collaborative non-profit pilot project that blended a community of practice program, with a focus on resilience development, with a series of group administered psychedelic-assisted therapy (PaT) sessions.

“Our team has developed and piloted a novel approach to PaT called Roots to Thrive (RTT). Since 2018, the RTT approach was co-developed with Indigenous knowledge holders and provincial authorities, refined in collaboration with hundreds of participants” (Dames, S., et al., 2022, p. 1)

     Evolving from the learnings of Vancouver Island University, Roots to Thrive and other knowledge translation efforts in Canada, the cross-cultural Etuaptmumk (two-eyed approach coined by Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshall in 2004 and adopted by CIHR in 2011) aims “to see from one eye with the strength of Indigenous ways of knowing, and to see from the other eye with the strengths of Western ways of knowing, and to use both of these eyes together.” (Bartlett, C. et al., 2012, p. 338). 

This process was a Participatory Action Research conducted for the Naut sa mawt Center for Psychedelic Research (NCPR) during 2023, where a leadership model was developed and a research methodological model designed based on a multiple-eyed seeing approach inquiry. With these models we aim to build capacity for creating a safe, culturally fluid, and decolonized environment for Indigenous participation in psychedelic research conducted by or in partnership with the NCPR.

     The recommendations come from the advice of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers,  scholarly literature on two-eyed seeing approach and leadership, and the resulting conclusions from diverse meetings held with a small group formed by a mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people called the Seed Group (SG). This small group may be constituted by 6 representatives holding Indigenous perspectives ( Elder Geraldine Manson, Emmy Manson, Charsanaa Johnny, Robert Nye) and 5 holding Western perspectives (Shannon Dames, Krys Sciberras, Jess Shannon, Gordon O’connor, Vivian Tsang). More people were involved as guests during the diverse activities. The writer of this proposal (Jimena Chalchi GP) comes from mixed ancestry and serves as a facilitator, mediator and writer for the process.

     The proposal includes a system mapping analysis; a compilation of the previously established language, routines and rituals; relationship building and knowledge sharing framework proposals, plans and strategies to thrive, etc.

Research community system map and analysis

     This research community's common intention is to find an accessible and culturally informed Psychedelic assisted therapies for treatment resistant conditions such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) to treat individuals from diverse sociocultural backgrounds. 

     Information contained in this document was compiled through the initial research centre/institute proposal for Vancouver Island University's approval committees, through grant applications written by collaborating members, and as shared during development meetings.  At the time this analysis was made, the initial development team was shaped by 11 people from diverse ethnic origins, mainly European, that came to Indigenous lands in different times and situations in the past. All of these members hold doctorate academic degrees. The research community also includes 8 Indigenous members, from which 1 holds a doctorate, 3 hold Masters of Science, 2 are traditional Elders, and 2 Knowledge Keepers.

     Vancouver Island University’s research community aims to grow Indigenous membership and participation in order to work toward a more equal balance between Western/biomedical and Indigenous Ways of Knowing to inform the Psychedelic Medicine Research and Healing Centre: “Two-Eyed Seeing has been fruitfully applied to develop and study healthcare programs pursuing decolonization and culturally-sensitive healthcare [62] Our experiences suggest that the holistic nature of Indigenous ways of knowing are particularly well-suited for the complex relational, emotional, and spiritual experiences induced by psychedelics.[13,14]” (Dames, S., et al., 2022, p. 3).

     There are diverse stakeholders, organizations structured by the Western perspectives that influence directly the dynamics and balance of the mixed community and must be considered while embedding a stewardship model for intercultural collaboration.

Figure 1

British Columbia Health Research System Map


Note: Actors are persons, groups, or organizations acting within a system of interest. Stakeholders, on the other hand, are persons, groups, or organisations that are (1) affected by the project, (2) interested in the project, and/or (3) able to affect the project.

Table 1

British Columbia Health Research System stakeholders




The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is Canada's federal funding agency for health research. Provides federal funding for health research and clinical trials. 

CIHR's mandate is to "excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation…” (CIHR, 2022, para. 1).

Health Research BC

The communication with this national Stakeholder is through their representative Institute: The training, support and consultations needed are provided by them. 

Island Health Authority

Research and Capacity Building Department Island Health's purpose includes innovation, teaching, and research. “Our department supports research across the region to improve health and promote wellness in our communities.” (Island Health Authority, 2022, para. 2).


The BC SUPPORT (Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials) Unit supports patient-oriented research throughout BC to answer research questions that matter to patients and improve health care.

Help to build the grant writing and understand the requirements through Research Facilitators who support scientific research and act as advisors.


The FNHA is the health and wellness partner to over 200 diverse First Nations communities and citizens across BC.​ Provides partnership, whose Anti-Racism, Cultural Safety, and Humility Framework will guide our work. They provide: ethics consultation; Indigenous research data management and supervise the OCAP® principles (Ownership, control, access, and possession of data).


OCAP® has become the standard for conducting research with First Nations and has grown beyond research to include the governance of all First Nations information. 

Vancouver Island University

Vancouver Island University has been a leading collaborator in psychedelic-assisted therapy program development, research and knowledge translation. They recently launched Canada’s first comprehensive psychedelic program in Canada.

Royal Roads University

Royal Roads University was recently approved to join Vancouver Island University in their efforts to research psychedelic therapies - specifically focussing on degenerative brain diseases.


The British Columbia Network Environment for Indigenous Health research is an organization that provides funding, networking resources and facilitation for Indigenous scholars, organizations and collectives to build capacity for research and knowledge sharing.

NCPR Stewardship Model Research Stages

Stage 1. Recommendations on a epistemological relation

Is a review about the ‘Two-eyed Seeing Approach (TeSA)’ concept in order to provide  recommendations on the epistemological relation that can promote a culturally safe, equitable, and accessible space for intercultural collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers.

This stage was completed in March 2023.

 See the Stage 1 Results

Stage 2. Clarifying the intent, values and principles

The Seed Group held a gathering with the purpose to unify ways of knowing to clarify the intent, values and principles that will guide the NCPR activities.

This stage was completed in March 2023.

See the Stage 2 Results 

Stage 3. Relational Leadership and Research and Ethics framework design.

Two working groups were formed, one dedicated to developing a Relational Leadership and governance model for the NCPR to support the Intercultural collaboration framework, while the second focused on creating a Research and Ethics framework that prioritizes Indigenous methodologies in the NCPR research.

This stage was completed in July 2023.

See the Relational Leadership Framework or see the Ethical Research Framework

Stage 4. Co-creating actions to thrive

This stage opened September 2023.

Join the process