Tribal Customary Adoption
Tribal customary adoption is a cultural practice within Indigenous communities that aims to ensure a child is taken care of when there is a parental death or inability to provide care. This practice offers children stability and continuity of care and strengthens the bond between families and communities. Furthermore, it recognizes and promotes the role of extended family and community in raising children and ensures that children remain connected to their Indigenous culture, community, and identity.
Child welfare professionals have a responsibility to be intentional in recognizing and respecting Indigenous cultural practices and traditions during their work with Indigenous communities. The legacy of colonization left a profound impact on Indigenous communities, including the disruption and harm of Tribal customary adoption through deliberately implemented laws and policies to erase Indigenous culture. Indigenous children were placed in residential schools or foster care with non-Indigenous families without the opportunity for customary adoption and forced to assimilate. This history continues to have an impact on Indigenous communities, including the loss of culture, language, and identity.