Leadership Lessons from Native Wisdom
A presentation about leadership as exemplified by indigenous societies and individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary qualities as leaders and helped shape the world in which they lived " from such historical personages as Crazy Horse, Chief Joseph, Sacagawea, and Red Cloud to figures of other ethnic backgrounds.
According to Dr. Momaday, "Inherent in the indigenous mind and spirit are highly developed concepts of loyalty, sacrifice, heroism, selflessness, generosity, accountability, appropriate behavior, dignity, and perhaps most important, the sacred nature of the word. These concepts, all highly praised in much of the rest of the world, should be discussed more often in contemporary European and American society. The ways of thinking, seeing and understanding that support them can be appropriated to good, indeed critical effect." Dr. Momaday gives examples of the applications of these concepts in the societies that continue to apply and prize them. He speaks to the real value of recognition and respect for indigenous styles of leadership and decision-making, the role of elders and youth, the ritual of gifting, and the necessity of community support and participation.
Says Dr. Momaday, "Inspiration is the soul of the speech I have in mind. And I tell stories. Story is the ancient matrix of human relations, crucial to all human institutions and worlds."