WAY Glossary*

Aboriginal Policy and Practice Framework: an Aboriginal-specific, trauma-informed framework for cultural safety developed by the Ministry for Children and Family Development to be applied to policies and practices carried out by the Ministry and Delegated Aboriginal Agencies pertaining to Aboriginal children, youth and families in British Columbia

affective neuroscience: the scientific study of primal emotions and their role in the adaptive process 

alarm: an emotion experienced in response to a real or perceived threat, with the purpose of moving its subject to safety 

anxiety: excessive worry and fear on a regular basis for an extended period of time 

anxiety disorder: a mental illness characterized by excessive worry and fear on a regular basis for an extended period of time that interferes with a person’s daily living, as diagnosed by a medical or psychiatric professional 

attachment: the psychological bond between mammals that occurs instinctually for survival 

attachment theory: a theory originally founded by British psychologist John Bowlby, concerned with relationships between humans, and particularly with the bond between a child and carer as necessary for the healthy development of the child

cognitive: relating to cognition, which is the process that includes all aspects of learning, thinking and understanding

colonialism: the practice of a people or nation exercising control over another group of people, often in terms of economics, language, religion and culture colonization: the process of powerful nations exercising control over and dominating other territories or groups 

colonization: the process of powerful nations exercising control over and dominating other territories or groups

contemplative education: integrating learning from lived experience with self-reflection as a way of increasing self-understanding that builds capacity for relationship

developmental psychology: the scientific study of how and under what conditions humans grow, change and adapt throughout life 

Elder: an Indigenous person in the later stages of life; Elders are respected for their traditional knowledge and their wisdom gained through life experiences, and often act as leaders, advisers and mentors for others in the community 

emotions: subconscious psychological reactions that are typically automatic and out of one’s control 

evidence-informed: combining knowledge from different sources, such as research, personal and practitioner experience in an approach or theory 

family of origin: the person or group of people originally caring for a child, either biological or adoptive; can include parents, friends, siblings, grandparents, and other extended relatives

feelings: conscious psychological responses that a person is aware of

foster caregiver: an adult responsible for the day-to-day care of a child or youth who is under the legal guardianship of the Ministry for Children and Family Development or a Delegated Aboriginal Agency 

Indigenous: the original inhabitants of a particular place, before the arrival of colonial settlers 

Indigenous Peoples: the original inhabitants of pre-colonized Canada

Intergenerational trauma: distressing emotional and psychological impacts that are experienced directly by a person or people, and passed on to and felt by their descendants in some form 

kin: a person’s family and relatives 

kinship ties: connections to extended family 

knowledge keepers: people in a society that keep the culture of their people alive and pass knowledge, legends, songs, language and cultural practices on to others 

oppositionality: being oppositional, meaning to protest or act in resistance to someone or something 

out-of-care care provider: an adult other than a child or youth’s biological parents with legal guardianship of the child or youth under an out-of-care arrangement whereby the Ministry for Children and Family Development or a Delegated Aboriginal Agency has limited but mandatory involvement 

primal emotion: an immediate, instinctive emotion, often rooted in survival instincts

primary attachment: according to attachment theory, a caring figure that a child instinctively connects to most to meet basic needs for survival and development, often but not necessarily a biological parent 

relational: pertaining to the relationship or connection between two or more things or people 

relational needs: the human instinct to be and feel connected with others in relationship, to care and be cared for 

residential schools: government-sponsored schools in Canada run by churches, established following the Indian Act of 1867 to educate and assimilate Indigenous children into Canadian culture, and operated between 1880 and 1996; children were typically separated from their families and siblings, forbidden to participate in traditional practices or speak their languages, and in many cases suffered emotional, physical and cultural abuse and neglect, as well as sexual abuse 

resilience: the capacity to recover after hardship

smudge: among some Indigenous groups, a traditional practice of burning sacred dried herbs (often sage or cedar) to cleanse an area or person of negative energy and to promote healing

stress: physical, mental and emotional reactions to difficult conditions or life changes

synchrony: two or more things happening at the same time 

transformative learning theory: a framework of thought based on learning that results in deep shifts within the learner, often causing the learner to self-reflect and even re-evaluate their pre-existing beliefs and thoughts

trauma informed: understanding the impacts of trauma and its impact on peoples’ lives, and seeking to avoid re-traumatization 

unreceptive: not responsive to, unable or unwilling to receive

well-being: an overall sense of physical, spiritual, and emotional and psychological health 

youth: a person or people aged 12 through 18 years 

youth in care: a youth living in foster care under the jurisdiction of the Ministry for Children and Family Development or a Delegated Aboriginal Agency

* You can download the Glossary at the end of the course.

'It's your path but you don't have to walk it alone.'

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