From Longing to Belonging: Attachment Theory, Connectedness, and Indigenous Children in Canada
In this article, the Metis authors document some of the historical, colonizing influences on Indigenous children and their families. The massive state-supported transfer of Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian homes can be attributed both to culturally-deprived child welfare practice and the ongoing colonial move to assimilate Indigenous Canadians. The authors discuss attachment theory and how it has been used, along with other western psychological theories, to facilitate child removal; they also make suggestions about how ideas of attachment and connection may influence practice positively. Responding appropriately to the current high rates of Indigenous child removal, rates currently three times higher than during the peak of residential schools, may mean attending to issues of ongoing child connection to the natural family, to the nation, and to non-European cultural traditions. This approach to helping and strengthening children is based on promoting a sense of belonging and continuity in their lives.