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Reflections on Indigenous/American Indian Organizational Leadership

November is designated as a time to celebrate Native American Heritage, although many of us celebrate it every day.  One aspect of our beautiful heritage includes culturally driven leadership practices, values and philosophy.   Although Tribal Nations have differences and similarities in leadership styles, it would be safe to assume that historically, many, if not all, promoted and practiced cultural values as the foundation for leadership.  There were rigorous training standards for becoming an effective Tribal/Indigenous leader, none of which was based on learning from a book.  Additionally, there were leadership roles that require life-long training.  For example, according to the Lakota worldview, babies and children instilled with cultural teachings can help them to live a balanced, healthy, happy and productive life and ultimately can lead to becoming a wise and strong Elder. Tribal Elders were often seen as the family and community leaders.

 

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