Colonization and Cultural Attachment

Excerpt from
Developing a Culturally Restorative Approach to Aboriginal Child and Youth Development: Transitions to Adulthood  

Culture plays a major role in determining family, gender, and occupational roles; it also greatly influences interpersonal communication within the family and community. The developmental tasks of minority youth are far more challenging, as these youth must adapt to at least two cultures; their minority culture and the culture of larger society.

"This implies the development of knowledge, skills, and understanding in at least two cultures; while the youth retains his/her original cultural identity, they become adept at interfacing with the mainstream culture" (Pumariega et. al., 2005, p. 541).

Therefore, minority youth are challenged from school age to incorporate various cultural perspectives. As a result, identity for Aboriginal children must be considered with the understanding of adaption to worldviews; however, the core of Aboriginal identity must continue to be developed (Simard and Blight, 2011). 

It is interesting to me to find the need to discuss "cultural interface theory" as a significant part to seeking attachment to culture.  Often times we in social helping positions, forget (or we do not know) the need to have cultural interface philosophies in our service practices. 

For example, in working with Indigenous children why do we only offer them services from one helping paradigm?  Are we not infact, participating in their cultural victimization because we are not giving it to them as their primary helper.  Colonization has left that legacy for us as a people, we were forced to believe there is only one way of knowing ... and only one way of doing.  This of course is a lie ... Indigenous ways of knowing and being are alive and well in our communities; however we have not brought them out as a primary service for our children. 

Yunkaporta & McGinty (2009) discussed the importance of the "dynamic interface" - a trinity of sorts, which includes traditional knowledge, non-indigenous knowledge, and the dynamic interface that creates contemporary knowledge for ourselves and our children.  We must begin to understand when working with Indigenous people, that there is always a cultural core ... one that will expand and evolve over time.  And this is what the elders have told us about cultural attachment and colonization.

Thank you.