Western science and Indigenous science are two very different methods of studying human health and the natural world.
But as Canada continues its reconciliation process with Indigenous communities, a professor at the University of Calgary says the two perspectives are converging.
"We're seeing, increasingly, respect and acknowledgment and partnership between Western science-based ecologists and Indigenous local knowledge-holders," Gregory Lowan-Trudeau told CBC's Radio Active Thursday.
Lowan-Trudeau said that "Indigenous science" has a few different interpretations; it could involve studying traditional uses for plants, or it could involve spending time on the land with elders and other knowledge-keepers.
"Often, Indigenous science is locally based and locally developed over thousands of years of contact with particular areas," he said. "Whereas Western science often has a broader perspective that is attempted to apply in particular areas.
"That's where they often work well together."
One collaborative approach between the two perspectives is "Two-Eyed Seeing," created at Cape Breton University.
Lowan-Trudeau said students of the hybrid method could learn about what specific plants mean to Indigenous cultures, and then take samples and bring them back to a health sciences lab focused more on Western approaches for study.
While Indigenous science can benefit from Western science's rigid methodologies, Lowan-Trudeau said the benefits can be mutual.
"We tend to think in silos when we're thinking through a Western lens on education — when we separate, say, science and social studies," he said.
"[In Indigenous science], there's a very deep understanding of the patterns of that particular area in connection with a broader sense."