Leadership | Ruth A. Myers Center for Indigenous Education
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Applicable Minnesota Department of Education and State Board of Education Standards: Comprehensive Graduation Goals
Minnesota graduates can function effectively as:
- Purposeful thinkers,
- Effective communicators,
- Self-directed learners,
- Productive group participants, and
- Responsible citizens.
Basic competency in the skills of:
- Basic knowledge of fundamental concepts from:
- Physical health and safety
Required Profile of Learning
To achieve a diploma a student must show an appropriate level of achievement in each of the following elements.
Understand what they read, hear and see. Comprehending, interpreting, and evaluating information received through reading, listening, and viewing;
Write and speak effectively. Writing and speaking in English clearly for academic, technical, and personal purposes with a variety of audiences;
Gather and use information. Applying methods of inquiry needed to conduct research, draw conclusions, and communicate and apply findings;
Understand interactions between people, their world and their cultures. Understanding how principles of interaction and interdependence affect physical and social situations;
Make informed decisions. Applying informed decision-making processes to promote personal growth and the well-being of society;
Know how to manage a household or business. Understanding the effective management of resources in a household, business, community, and government.
Students will be able to identify past and present American Indian leaders and characteristics of American Indian leadership.
This outcome includes:
- Knowing impact of resources, medicine, food, clothing, comprehending extent of ecology, technology.
- Knowing contributions in mathematics/science astronomy.
- Understanding importance of language, literature, oratory.
- Realizing influence of people, spirituality, government.
- Appreciating art, music, dance.
Student recognition of American Indian contributions is essential to understanding the roots of American and world culture. If students understand that all cultures contribute, students may be more likely to respect members of each cultural group.
Cultural Content/American Indian World View
American Indian leadership, both in the past and at present, is demonstrated in a wide variety of contexts. To understand past leadership, it is necessary to know that American Indian custom places a high value on the personal autonomy of individuals. The dignity and equality of all human beings is respected. Non-interference is a value which guides leadership style.
Among most tribes, decisions were made not by leaders alone but by the consensus of the community.
- Some leadership positions were and are based on heredity.
- Others are based on age because elders have always been considered the wisest and most knowledgeable.
- Still others are based on accomplishments.
- Nevertheless, it was the group who made all final decisions through an open and public process and many contemporary leaders make every effort to operate in this way.
- Some leadership positions were considered temporary.
- When the need for a specific leader ended, that person resumed his/her role as an equal member of the group.
- For example, persons who excelled in hunting became leaders when it was time to hunt.
One does not seek leadership but rather the community recognizes and selects those persons considered most able. Traditionally, those selected as leaders often excelled in the art of oratory but they were also patient and good listeners. Their obligation was to voice the collective will of their people. If they failed to do this, they could be recalled from their positions of leadership.
Through American Indian spirituality American Indian women and men become leaders and have worked side by side in sharing the responsibilities of daily life. All tasks were given dignity, and mutual respect guided relationships. It was not uncommon for women and men to participate in all activities. Women assumed leadership in plant harvests and family life. Among the Anishinabe and most other tribes, men generally led activities such as hunting, war and defense. Traditionally these responsibilities were considered of equal importance in these egalitarian societies. Women and men both held leadership in the political and ceremonial life of the community.
Teacher Background Information
There are cultural values that govern appropriate leadership behaviors and styles. These behaviors have changed over time due to European-American contact. Throughout the history of contact, Euro-Americans have consistently misunderstood American Indian traditions of leadership. Europeans and Euro-Americans thought of leaders within the context of their own hierarchical tradition. Leaders in European traditions had the right to rule over others on the basis of divine right or class privilege. Even in the budding democracy of the United States, it was believed and Americans continue to believe that, given equality of opportunity, leaders emerge because of their superior qualities. Respect for the authority of leaders to make decisions on their people´s behalf is accepted. American Indian leaders of the past who were most often written about were warriors, statesmen, prophets and scholars. There are numerous books and articles about leaders. Some Minnesota historic leaders include Wabasha, Little Crow, Charles Alexander Eastman (Dakota), and Flatmouth, Hole in the Day, Peter Graves, Chief Joseph Caribou, Jimmy Jackson, and Peter Default (Anishinabe).
As in the past, leadership in American Indian communities is not dependent on one person, but is based on decisions made by all tribal members. Effective American Indian leaders today possess the same qualities found in American Indian leaders of the past. Contemporary leaders are found in many arenas such as business, education, politics science, art. Newspapers and periodicals frequently feature background information about American Indians in a variety of endeavors. Such sources may be helpful for maintaining current research.
Tribal elected leaders in Minnesota:
- Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Reservation Business Committee. (term expires, June).
- Chair of the Red Lake Tribal Council. (term expires May).
- Chair of the Shakopee-Mdewkanton Business Council. (term expires January).
- Chair of the Grand Portage Reservation Tribal Council. (term expires June).
- Chair of the Bois Forte (Nett Lake) Reservation Business Committee. (term expires June).
- President of the Lower Sioux Community Council. (term expires July).
- Chair of the Upper Sioux Five Member Board of Trustees. (term expires May).
- President of the Prairie Island Community Council. (term expires November).
- Chair of the Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee. (term expires June).
- Chair of the Leech Lake Reservation Business Committee. (term expires, June).
- Chair of the White Earth Reservation Tribal Council. (term expires, June).
- President of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.
- Minnesota Chippewa Tribe P.O. Box 217 Cass Lake, MN 56633
- Indian Affairs Council 3801 Bemidji Ave., #5 Bemidji, MN 56601
Bois Forte Reservation
Reservation Business Committee includes the Chair, Secretary/Treasurer and three committee members. Members are elected to serve four-year terms. Chairperson term expires June. Nett Lake Tribal Office P.O. Box 16 Nett Lake, MN 55772
Fond du Lac Reservation
Reservation Business Committee includes the Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, and three representatives. Members are elected to serve four-year terms. Chairman term expires June. Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee 1720 Big Lake Road Cloquet, MN 55720
Grand Portage Reservation
Reservation Business Committee includes the Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, and three at large members. Members are elected for four-year terms. Chairman term expires June. Grand Portage Reservation Box 428 Grand Portage, MN 55605
Leech Lake Reservation
Reservation Business Committee includes the Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, and three district representatives. Members are elected to serve four-year terms. Chair term expires June. Leech Lake Reservation 6530 US 2 NW Cass Lake, MN 56633
Mille Lacs Reservation
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches. Chief Executive, Speaker of the Assembly, Band Assemble, Secretary/Treasurer, Chief Justice. Chief Executive term expires June. Mile Lacs Band 43408 Odena Drive Onamia, MN 56359
Red Lake Nation
The Red Lake Nation is not a participating member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The Tribal Council, consisting of 11 members is the governing body. Council members include the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and two representatives each from the four districts which comprise the reservation. The chairman term expires May. Red Lake Nation Box 550 Red Lake, MN 56671
Tribal Council includes the Chair, Secretary/Treasurer and three council members. Members elected for four-year terms. Chair term expires June. White Earth Tribal Office P.O. Box 418 White Earth, MN 56591
The four Dakota communities of Minnesota each have their own tribal government.
Prairie Island Sioux Community
The governing body is the Community Council consisting of five members elected to office for two-year terms. The President of the Council term expires November. Prairie Island Sioux Community 5636 Sturgeon Lake Rd Welch, MN 55089
Shakopee-Mdewakanton Sioux Community
The governing body is the General Council which includes all eligible enrolled tribal members. The Business Council, which runs the day to day affairs of the community, are elected to office by the General Council to serve three year terms. The Business Council Officers include the Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary. Chair term expires January. Shakopee-Mdewakanton Sioux Community 2330 Sioux Trail NW Prior Lake, MN 55372
Lower Souix Community
The Lower Sioux Community is a five member Community Council. Each council member serves a two-year term of office. President term expires July.
Upper Souix Community
The Upper Sioux Community is governed by a five member Board of Trustees that includes the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, and one member elected at large to serve four year terms. Chair term expires May. Upper Sioux Community P.O. Box 147 Granite Falls, MN 56241
- American Indian Women in Careers. Elementary Reader. AnokaHennepin Indian Education Program, 1988. Phone: (612) 422-5784.
- DesJarlait, Patrick. Patrick Desjarlait. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1975.
- Hirschfelder, Arlene. "Writer and Journalists" Happily May I Walk. American Indians and Alaska Natives Today. New York: Charles Scribner´s Sons, 1986.
- Kostich, Dragos D. George Morrison: The Story of an American Indian. Minneapolis: Dillon Press, 1976.
- Lee, Betsy. Charles Eastman. Minneapolis: Dillon Press, 1979.
- Mandel, Jack C. Significant American Indians. Chicago: Children´s Press, 1975.
- Secondary: American Indian Women in Careers. Elementary Reader. Anoka-Hennipin Indian Education Program, 1988. Phone: (612)422-5784.
- Anderson, Gary Clayton. Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press.
- Broker, Ignatia. Night Flying Woman. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1983.
- Gouge, Elitta. Dakota Project. "Biographies of Eight Dakota Leaders". Contact: Gouge, Elitta.
- Dockstader, Frederick. Great North American Indians. New York: Van Nostrand Press, 1977.
- Eastman, Charles A. From Deep Woods to Civilization. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1916. Indian Boyhood. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett Publishers, 1972.
- Edmunds, R. David (editor) American Indian Leaders. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980.
- Josephy, Alvin. The Patriot Chiefs: A Chronicle of American Indian Resistance. New York: Viking Press, 1969.
- Kegg, Maude. At the End of the Trail. Memories of a Chippewa Childhood. Greeley: University of Northern Colorado, 1978.
- Lurie, Nancy. North American Indian Lives. Milwaukee Public Museum, 1985.
- Minneapolis Public Schools. Native Americans in the 20th Century. Biographical sketches of Rose Barstow, Tom Beaver, Charles Albert Bender, Patrick Desjarlait, Jr., Charles Alexander Eastman, Carl Gawboy, Charles Huntington, Howard J. McKee, Jr., Mitchell Red Cloud, Jr., Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve. Minneapolis Public School Publication, 1978.
- Minneapolis Public Schools. Ojibwe People Speak Out. Minneapolis Public Schools Publication. n.d.
- Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Contemporary American Indian Women. Careers and Contributions. Cass Lake, MN, 1983.
- Rogers, John. Red World and White. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1957.
- Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk. They Led A Nation: The Sioux Chiefs. Sioux Falls, SD: Brevet Press, 1987.
- Standing Bear, Luther. My People the Sioux. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1975. Land of the Spotted Eagle. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company, 1933.
- Warren, William. History of the Ojibwe People. Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1984.
- Wilson, Raymond. Ohiyesa: Charles Eastman, Santee Sioux. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983. Leadership
- Applicable Minnesota Department of Education and State Board of Education Standards: Comprehensive Graduation Goals.