Indigenous Internship Program

Discover Clear Seas’ Indigenous Internship Program: An initiative to conduct inclusive maritime-related research that integrates Traditional Knowledge and builds research capacity within Indigenous communities.

A program led by you to fit into your life, culture, and learning journey

Community first. That’s the philosophy behind providing Indigenous students with an opportunity to work on maritime-related issues that are important to Indigenous communities.

Whether it’s understanding and conserving marine life, applying a medicine wheel approach to the well-being of communities affected by marine shipping, or mitigating the effects of invasive species on traditional food sources, this program will provide you with a unique opportunity for learning, with mentorship in many capacities.

Learn more about the program from Sarah Thomas, Clear Seas’ Director of Indigenous Programs:

The opportunity

The program offers a 4 to 6 months, hands-on, paid part-time learning and developmental experience that will:

  • Allow you to mobilize your knowledge and passion for research
  • Develop your skills as you address a key maritime-related research topic of importance to an Indigenous community
  • Acquire knowledge and build meaningful relationships with communities, mentors, and fellow interns
  • Make a real difference in the state of research around sustainable marine shipping in Canada

Indigenous post-secondary students and non-academic learners from across Canada are invited to apply. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and new internships can start any time.

Apply Now

Voices of the program: Meet the interns from the 2021 cohort

Headshot of Cheyenne Williams

“I arrived in the role of this internship as an Indigenous woman seeking to work with nearby nations toward food sovereignty, food sustainability and to support the resurgence of land and marine-based learning. What drives me in all the work I do is a desire to engage with and maintain Traditional Ecological Knowledge.”

— Cheyenne Williams, Quw’utsun Tribes, Coast Salish territory

Headshot of Rayne Boyko

As a young Indigenous woman working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, this research internship was a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field. Being a part of this invasive species research on Haida Gwaii, has inspired me to continue to challenge the colonial ways of knowing which dominate the field and the systematic barriers that affect and silence Indigenous peoples.”

— K’aayhldaa Xyaalaas (Rayne Boyko), Haida Gwaii

Headshot of Charity Champagne

“When I was offered the opportunity to learn and do research with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation I chose to examine the impacts of Marine Shipping in the Burrard Inlet on the health and well-being of the Tsleil-Waututh people […] I hope to continue this work over the upcoming summer, […] with the intention of grounding and deepening the project, and to eventually use it to bridge the innermost circle of community wisdom, to the outermost circle of policy change and sustainability.

– Charity Champagne, Métis and Cree


Learn more about the interns’ projects, experiences, and takeaways from the 2021 Internship Program, here.

Commonly asked questions about Clear Seas’ Indigenous internship program

Start by going to our online application form and telling us about yourself and the type of project you are interested in. Upon receiving this, we’ll contact you for next steps.

Any Indigenous student who is enrolled at a Canadian college or university or is considering furthering their education. All academic disciplines are welcome. No degree is required to undertake an internship.

Interns can reside in any part of Canada and may or may not be based on their Nations’ traditional territories. You can do on-site research in a community and work with advisors online.

The program accepts interns on a rolling basis year-round.

In most cases, projects are completed in 4 to 6 months. There is also an option to extend your internship or apply for additional modules if your project takes longer than 6 months.

The program has been set up at no cost to applicants. Interns will receive a payment of $10,000 for each 4–6 month internship project. Additional funding to support training, travel, or conference attendance is available.

Clear Seas will support you with a dedicated mentor and with finding academic advisors, industry connections and other resources as needed.

Ultimately, it’s your choice. You can conduct research or answer a question about marine shipping and its impact on the environment or communities. Examples of prior research have included such topics as shipping risk, invasive species, clam gardens and oil pollution. Advisors will be available to help you scope the project and make connections with potential partners.

This program is set up to support learners and researchers at any stage in their knowledge journey. With Clear Seas and academic supervisors to support you, it’s not necessary to have previous research experience.

We can meet with you to discuss research topics of interest. Fill out an application form to get started.

Your project does not have to be a traditional research project. You could include Traditional Knowledge, storytelling, on-the-land practices, literature reviews, comparative studies, or geographic information systems. It is up to you.

Past interns have ended their internships with a presentation, a workshop, a paper, a video, an environmental data scan, or an article on what you’ve learned and will continue to learn. Ultimately, internships are a process, not an outcome. The work that you do is centered on furthering your learning journey and contributing positive capacity to your community.

The data and research collected by you belong to you and your partnered community. Clear Seas holds no ownership and will only share the information as determined by you and your community. A data sharing agreement will be developed and signed between you, the Indigenous community, Clear Seas and any other partners.

If your community would like to propose a project or if you would like to support an intern, please contact Justin Perry, Indigenous Program Lead, at

We welcome maritime connections and relevant project opportunities for our interns. If you have a project idea or if you would like to support an intern throughout their project, contact Justin Perry, Indigenous Program Lead, at

Justin Perry headshot

Does your community want to support an internship? Contact Justin Perry, Program Lead in charge of the Internship, at

About Clear Seas’ Indigenous internship program

The Indigenous Internship Program was developed and launched in 2021, as part of Clear Seas’ mandate to conduct inclusive maritime-related research that considers Traditional Knowledge and builds research capacity within Indigenous communities. The program aims to develop partnerships with Indigenous communities across Canada by collaborating on research projects of mutual interest. This initiative is conducted in collaboration with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and Mitacs – a not-for-profit organization that drives innovation through partnerships.

Published March 9, 2022

Last modified on July 26, 2023