Nov 18


In this presentation, we discuss the topic of attachment. We explore its phases and types, as conceived in Western thought. This concept is also reviewed considering that in several societies, including in Indigenous societies, the education of children is based on privileged links with several significant figures; it is therefore important to think of attachment theory outside its traditional framework. We address elements of the Inuk culture in order to rethink attachment in its context, the impact of history and of the environment on attachment, as well as concrete strategies for working with young people and families.

Meeting Resources


  • Ainsworth MDS, Blehar M, Waters E, Wall S. Patterns of attachment: A Psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 1978.
  • Benzies, K. M. (2016). Parenting in Canadian Aboriginal cultures. H. Selin (Ed.), Parenting across cultures: Childrearing, motherhood and fatherhood in non-western cultures. The history of non-western science (pp. 379-392). Dordrecht, NL: Springer.
  • Bowlby J. Attachment. 2nded. New York, NY: Basic Books; 1982. Attachment and loss; vol 1.
  • Cassidy, J., & Shaver, P. R. (1999). Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Choate, P. W., Kohler, T., Cloete, F., CrazyBull, B., Lindstrom, D., & Tatoulis, P. (2019). Rethinking Racine v Woods from a Decolonizing Perspective: Challenging the Applicability of Attachment Theory to Indigenous Families Involved with Child Protection. Canadian Journal of Law & Society/La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société, 34(1), 55-78.
  • Erickson MF, Sroufe LA, Egeland B. The relationship between quality of attachment and behavior problems in preschool in a high-risk sample.  Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development1985;50(1-2):147-166
  • Hossain, B., & Lamb, L. (2019). Cultural Attachment and Wellbeing Among Canada’s Indigenous People: A Rural Urban Divide. Journal of Happiness Studies, 1-22.
  • Swanson Cain, C. (2006). Attachment disorders : treatment strategies for traumatized children. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  • Van Ijzendoorn, M. H., & Kroonenberg, P. M. (1988). Cross-cultural patterns of attachment: A meta-analysis of the strange situation. Child development, 147-156.

To Go Further

Inunnguiniq : Caring for Children the Inuit Way | National Collaborating Centre For Aboriginal Health (NCCIH).

In this article, the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH) share some insights about Inuit concepts and terms that are central to the holistic child development approach.

See document

Image: NCCIH
Also available in Inuktitut (Nunavut) and French

Family Structures | Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada

This page in the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada examine some cultural distinctions about Inuit family structure, including childbirth, breastfeeding, and adoption.

Visit the website

Image: Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami archives; Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada
Available in English and French

Kinship Glossary

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