New Indigenous parenting app provides culturally grounded parenting advice

A woman smiles at her phone while holding an infant in her other arm
Early Years Table coordinator, Kim Kosik, tries out the new parenting app, Two-Eyed Seeing for Parents. (Credit: Keligraphic/UBC Applied Science)
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UBC Faculty of Applied Science researchers and Indigenous Elders and members of the səxʷkn̓xitəlx k̓l̓ c̓əc̓málaʔ Central Okanagan Aboriginal Early Years Table have launched a new app designed to support young Indigenous parents and contribute to revitalizing language within the Okanagan Nation community. 

The Two-Eyed Seeing for Parents app combines Indigenous wisdom and contemporary knowledge and is now available for download on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Tailored to meet the unique needs of Okanagan Nation families, the app provides information on nutrition, health, safety and traditional parenting approaches. It reflects the preferences of Okanagan Nation parents, who expressed a desire for content that integrates syilx parenting values, histories and traditions, including a mix of content in nsyilxcən and English to support language revitalization efforts.

The app was developed through a collaborative effort led by Elders Wilfred “Grouse” Barnes, Pamela Barnes and Margaret Eli, and facilitated by UBC School of Nursing professor emeritus Dr. Wendy Hall, in partnership with the Interior Health Authority and multiple community service providers.

A group of people sit at a table, smiling at the camera
Community Elders and members collaborated with UBC researcher Dr. Wendy Hall, the Interior Health Authority and multiple community service providers. (Credit: Keligraphic/UBC Applied Science)

“We believe that children are sacred gifts who deserve the best possible start in life,”  said Elder Wilfred “Grouse” Barnes. “Our app aims to empower Okanagan Nation parents with the knowledge, confidence and skills to nurture their children's development while honouring our cultural heritage.”

“Two-Eyed Seeing for Parents can be used offline, reducing potential cost and connectivity barriers for the communities where internet access and data costs may be challenging,” said Hall, a maternal and child health expert. By downloading the app in a location with internet access, like a coffee shop, parents gain access to a wealth of resources directly on their mobile devices, enabling them to learn at their own pace and revisit information when needed.

The Okanagan Nation, which includes seven communities in the southern interior of BC and the Colville Confederated Tribe in northern Washington state, faces significant challenges in accessing culturally relevant parenting support. Despite comprising almost six per cent of British Columbians, Indigenous groups face barriers including limited internet access in remote areas and expensive data rates. In response to these challenges, the Elders saw the potential of offline mobile technology to bridge gaps in access and provide vital support to parents.

“We recognize the importance of preserving our language and passing down our cultural teachings to future generations,” said Elder Margaret Eli. “Through this app, we hope to strengthen our community by empowering parents with the knowledge and tools they need to raise healthy, thriving children.”

Emma Dovell, a Westbank First Nation member and parent to two young boys has tested the app and commented: “The Two-Eyed Seeing for Parents app is very user-friendly, broken down into ages with different topics under those ages. 

“As a parent that doesn't have very much nsyilxcən and cultural protocol knowledge and limited ways to learn, it was great that this app incorporated nsyilxcən language with audio clips and videos throughout so that it can be easily accessed and used as a learning opportunity for myself and my children.”

About səxʷkn̓xitəlx k̓l̓ c̓əc̓málaʔ Central Okanagan Aboriginal Early Years Table

The səxʷkn̓xitəlx k̓l̓ c̓əc̓málaʔ Table works to promote children as sacred gifts who can flourish. Table members include representatives from Westbank First Nation, Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, Okanagan Nation Alliance, Okanagan Métis Community Services Society, Central Okanagan Public Schools, and Interior Health Authority as well as a community Elder. They regard Two-Eyed Seeing — a blend of Indigenous and Western knowledge and principles, with past traditions and contemporary adaptations to society — for parenting as contributing to their mission to promote pride in their culture and heritage.

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