Many Indigenous peoples view children as direct gifts from the Creator. As in all gifts, children are viewed as unique individuals, with specific and special attributes. Children are not viewed from the perspective of what they cannot do, but rather, from the perspective of what they potentially can do, and that they bring the Creator’s spirit of life and renewal to the whole community. With this in mind, the community recognizes and nurtures these gifts throughout the individual’s life journey. These gifts include personal attributes that the western medical model might describe as disabilities.
In order for Western-oriented practitioners to engage with, and develop meaningful and effective Infant mental health support and treatment plans, they must first understand Indigenous worldviews, and then incorporate Indigenous child rearing practices into their relationship building approaches to working with Indigenous families. Further, Indigenous peoples must continue to come together and share knowledge around child rearing and mental health and wellness practices.
Nurturing the Seed: A Developmental Support Planning Model for Working with Indigenous Infants, Children and Families creates a platform to recognize these differing worldviews and share valuable cultural knowledge specifically relating to infant mental health. It also recognizes the diversity amongst Indigenous peoples across Canada and is by no means a complete description of all child and family approaches practiced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is meant to serve as a starting point for engaging with and working with Indigenous families towards developing respectful and effective Developmental Support Plans for Indigenous infants and children.
—Infant Mental Health Promotion (2020) Excerpt from Infant Mental Health Promotions Handbook on Nurturing the Seed. Retrieved from Infant Mental Health Promotion