Indigenous Internship Program prioritizes inclusion of Traditional Knowledge in research on impacts of marine shipping on coastal communities in Canada

Continuing on the success of the Indigenous Internship Program’s inaugural year, Clear Seas is launching the 2022 edition of this important educational initiative, in collaboration with Mitacs and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

“The program is intended to build capacity within Indigenous communities by providing opportunities for the students to connect with the lands and waterways,” explains Sarah Thomas, Manager of Indigenous and Coastal Community Relations, who helped found the program at Clear Seas.

Through this initiative, interns incorporate Traditional Knowledge into Western research, provide invaluable insights about the life and the health of the ocean and the effect marine shipping traffic is having on it, and advance knowledge around safe and sustainable marine trade in Canadian waters.

The $350,000 program is supported by Clear Seas and donations from the marine industry. Mitacs, a Canadian not-for-profit organization that drives innovation through the creation of internships, is providing matching funding through the Indigenous Pathways fund. “Mitacs is proud to partner with Clear Seas for a second year and to continue to invest in and support the next generation of Indigenous researchers and leaders,” says Candice Loring, Mitacs’ Director of Business Development and Indigenous Community Engagement.

BCIT is joining the 2022 edition of the internship program as the main educational partner. “BCIT is pleased to partner with Clear Seas and Mitacs on this important sustainability initiative, offering the knowledge and industry experience of our skilled instructors,” says Kory Wilson, Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships at BCIT. “We are confident the program’s interns will conduct meaningful research projects, making a positive impact in both Indigenous and coastal communities and the maritime sector.”

Further details on Clear Seas’ Indigenous Internship Program, including how to apply, are available here.

Indigenous Internship Program Inaugural Cohort: A Success Story

Five students from Indigenous communities across BC participated in the inaugural cohort of Clear Seas’ Indigenous Internship Program launched in March 2021. As a result of their internship, they generated and shared invaluable knowledge on issues as important and diverse as the effects of aquatic invasive species, the sovereignty of traditional food sources and the health and well-being of Indigenous communities regarding marine shipping activities.

An overview of the projects undertaken by three interns from the 2021 cohort is available here.

About British Columbia Institute of Technology

For more than 55 years, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has been delivering flexible, relevant, and future-proof education that prepares learners to provide applied solutions to industry challenges – across BC and around the world. With five campuses and about 45,000 students enrolled each year, BCIT is one of BC’s largest post-secondary institutes. The BCIT curriculum is developed through close consultation with industry, and delivered by instructors who have direct, hands-on experience in their fields. Students gain the technical skills, real-world experience, and problem-solving ability needed to embrace complexity and lead innovation in a rapidly changing workforce. Through its unique applied education model, BCIT is connecting education, industry, and government to power provincial recovery and resilience.

About Clear Seas

Clear Seas is a not-for-profit independent research centre that provides impartial information on marine shipping in Canada to policy makers and the public. The organization’s research agenda is defined internally in response to current issues, reviewed by a research advisory committee, and approved by a board of directors. All publications are available at

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