Culturally Restorative Practices defined
Excerpts from “Developing a Culturally Restorative Approach to Aboriginal Child and Youth Development: Transitions to Adulthood”
© Estelle Simard, MSW, Doctoral Candidate – Education, 2011
© Shannon Blight, MSW, 2011
Culturally Restorative Practice (CRP) is a curriculum based on the MSW research project entitled Culturally Restorative Child Welfare Practice: with a special emphasis on cultural attachment theory. Simard (2009) had worked extensively with Weechi-it-te-win Family Services, and recognized the value of practiced-based evidence, in the promotion of alternative child welfare practices. Thematics developed into valuable practice knowledge, which has become a transformational strategy for different children’s initiatives. Culturally restorative practice rebuilds First Nation community structures through the active engagement of cultural research. Cultural research defines as the process of acquiring knowledge from the ancestral knowledge keepers within the First Nation community, and using this knowledge for the betterment of the community.
Culturally restorative practices build on the sacredness of teachings and culture within an Aboriginal population by careful reflection on the natural protective network. The natural protective network is a principle of child, family, extended family, community, and Nationhood, contributing to the successful life way of the child. The natural protective network is a part of Aboriginal practice models, in which all elements of society embrace the responsibility of solidifying a child’s cultural identity and subsequent cultural formation into adulthood. Each member of society contributes to all children’s wellbeing in this effort. The protective network principle is a foundation for cultural attachment theory as a mechanism to culturally restorative practice (Simard, 2009).
The theoretical learning basis for the culturally restorative practice is Aboriginal paradigms and Aboriginal constructivism. Culturally restorative practice asserts the following as it relates to cultural attachment theory:
“The mechanisms of cultural attachment theory to achieve cultural restoration has suggested the greater the application of cultural attachment strategies the greater the response to cultural restoration processes within a First Nation community. This directly proportional proposition suggests an alternative strategy with First Nation people, which is based on reinvestment in cultural attachment strategies in First Nation communities” (Simard, 2009, p. 54)
Culturally restorative practice incorporates cultural attachment theory as the main impetus to developmental learning (Simard, 2009).