Indigenous Families: Fostering Attachment Our Way

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Root, Danielle
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Indigenous peoples worldwide have been colonized by the Western world. In the Canadian context, Indigenous peoples are the fastest growing, and youngest population. Indigenous children face greater health disparities compared to other Canadian children. Stemming from a Eurocentric perspective, attachment theory is a dominant framework for understanding early child development in Western society. In relation to Indigenous cultures, where beliefs, family structures and caregiver practices differ from those of Westernized practices, the theory’s relevance is questionable. The purpose of this research is to explore the meaning of attachment in the context of contemporary Indigenous families with the goal of better understanding how healthy attachment outcomes can be promoted for Indigenous children. Indigenous and Western knowledges are incorporated in this research project through the guiding principles of the two- eyed seeing approach, which considers the strengths of both ways of knowing. Indigenous caregivers share their stories about family through an Indigenous research method known as the Sharing Circle. Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Human Development is used as a framework for data analysis. Finally, the implications, limitations, and final thoughts are presented about attachment in the context of Indigenous families.
Indigenous, attachment theory, child development,