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Remote and unresearched : a contextualized study of non-Indigenous educational leaders working in Yukon.. 2010

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 REMOTE AND UNRESEARCHED: A CONTEXTUALIZED STUDY OF NON-INDIGENOUS EDUCATIONAL LEADERS WORKING IN YUKON INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES  by  SIMON C. BLAKESLEY  B.Ed., University of Alberta, 1990 M.A., Royal Roads University, 2000   A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in  The Faculty of Graduate Studies   (Educational Studies)        THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)   May 2010   ©Simon C. Blakesley, 2010 ii  ABSTRACT  This study engages in a critical analysis of the lived experiences of non-Indigenous educational leaders working in Indigenous communities in the Yukon Territory, Canada. It sheds light on the epistemic and cross-cultural tensions underpinning much of the literature on educational leadership, and aims to address Walker and Dimmock‟s (2000) concern that studies of comparative education have been generally absent from educational leadership and management, thereby limiting the available body of knowledge specific to culture and leadership.  The study focuses on five questions:  How do non-Indigenous Yukon principals construct their professional identity and their role as educational leaders?  How do they construct their notions of educational leadership and practice?  Given the Yukon‟s distinct governance and policy contexts, how do they construct understandings of „indigeneity‟ in relation to local Indigenous culture?  How do they address the tensions arising at the juncture of policies imported from outside the Yukon and the Yukon Education Act (1990)?  A critical ethnographic research approach is used to shed light upon these questions. Extensive semi-structured interviews with two male and two female participants in four Yukon schools are conducted.  Detailed observations create unique „portraits‟ of each school and their principals.  Pertinent documents are also examined to provide further information and context.  This examination suggests that non-Indigenous Yukon principals are caught at the center of micro (school), meso (community), and macro (government) operational and policy levels that powerfully shape their professional identities and their perceptions of their roles as principals.  While referred to as „educational leaders‟ by the extant body of literature and governments, they do not use this term in their identity constructions.  Trapped betwixt and between their schools, communities, and government policies in a fragmented Yukon educational field, instead they refer to themselves in managerial and administrative ways as they juggle educational ends mandated by distinct, and somewhat competing, jurisdictions.  This study presents another lens through which to examine educational leadership, and offers insights into the use of ethnographic methods as a powerful research tool.  Based on these contributions, this study should be informative to current and future practitioners and scholars of education and educational leadership.        iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract ................................................................................................................................ . ii  Table of Contents .................................................................................................................. iii  List of Tables ....................................................................................................................... viii  List of Figures ....................................................................................................................... ix  Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................. x  Dedication ............................................................................................................................. xii   Chapter 1: Introduction ...................................................................................................... .. 1       Positioning the researcher ................................................................................................. .. 1      Statement of the problem .................................................................................................. .. 4      The predominance and limitations of the Eurocentric leadership paradigm .................... .. 6      The legacy of colonizing ethnographies..............................................................................8      The context of self-governance in the Yukon................................................................... 16      The recognized need to reform the Yukon educational system ........................................ 18       Significance of the problem...............................................................................................19       Summary............................................................................................................................22  Chapter 2: Conceptual Framework and Literature Review ............................................ 24       Introduction........................................................................................................................24      The confusing epistemology of educational leadership………………….........................24      Best practices and standards in educational leadership .................................................. ...30      The criticality of culture and the intersections of culture and leadership .......................... 35      Challenges to understanding cross-cultural conceptions of educational leadership .......... 40      The criticality of culture and the intersections of culture and educational leadership ...... 42      Educational policy contexts, professional trajectories, and identity.................................. 49      Educational policy contexts ............................................................................................... 49      Professional and educational trajectories........................................................................... 57  iv       Identity ............................................................................................................................... 60      Intersections of gender, ethnicity, class and non-Indigenous constructions of      educational leadership within Indigenous contexts ........................................................... 62           Gender........................................................................................................................... 62           Ethnicity ........................................................................................................................ 67           Class .............................................................................................................................. 73      The limitations of ethnographic research and the promise of critical ethnographic      methods .............................................................................................................................. 76      The opportunities offered by critical ethnographic research ............................................. 78      Research questions............................................................................................................. 84  Chapter 3:  Research Method .............................................................................................. 85       Introduction........................................................................................................................ 85      Data .................................................................................................................................... 85           Observations ................................................................................................................. 86           Interviews ..................................................................................................................... 89           Documents .................................................................................................................... 91           Interviewees .................................................................................................................. 93      Research design ................................................................................................................. 93           Hillside School ............................................................................................................. 97           Klondike School ........................................................................................................... 97           Mountainview School ................................................................................................... 97           Moose Meadow School ................................................................................................ 97      Qualitative ethnographic analysis ...................................................................................... 98           Themes .......................................................................................................................... 99           Limitations .................................................................................................................. 100           Validity ....................................................................................................................... 101           Reliability ................................................................................................................... 109           Reflexivity and validity .............................................................................................. 111           Ethnography, reflexivity, and the researcher .............................................................. 113           Theoretical reflexivity ................................................................................................ 115           Positioning of the researcher in relation to the research sites ..................................... 123  v  Chapter 4: Data Collection ................................................................................................ 132      Observation procedures ................................................................................................... 135      The collection and documents from the field .................................................................. 141      A portrait of four Yukon schools and their principals ..................................................... 142           Jim, principal of Hillside School ................................................................................ 142           Bob, principal of Moose Meadow School .................................................................. 157           Gina, principal of Klondike School ............................................................................ 176           Rose, principal of Mountainview School ................................................................... 190           Summary: Non-Indigenous principals in Indigenous Yukon contexts ....................... 206           Four distinct school contexts ...................................................................................... 206  Chapter 5: Findings ............................................................................................................ 209      Question 1 ........................................................................................................................ 209           Past school experiences:  “It was more of a factory than a school” .......................... 209           School experiences: “I just don‟t want that atmosphere in the school I run” ............ 212           Life experiences: “I think being a parent for me has been my hugest asset” ............ 215           Post-secondary experiences: “I didn‟t set out to be an administrator” ...................... 222           Professional interactions:  Self-made islands and fractured networks ....................... 225      Four Yukon principals describe their role ....................................................................... 232           Challenges faced by Yukon principals:  “It is like being an orchestra leader” ......... 233           The public face and interface between many groups:  “Capital from me means           trust” .................................................................................................................. ..... ...237           Comparing the principalship to teaching:  “You‟re listening, you‟re mediating” ..... 241           Job satisfaction:  “I don‟t feel like I‟m ready for retirement yet” ............................. 244           In summary:  Orchestra leader, buffer, air traffic controller, and parent .................... 245      Question 2 ........................................................................................................................ 247           Understandings of indigeneity:  “I started thinking there has to be more than this” . 247           Curricular initiatives:  “It makes no sense without the land” .................................... 250           Curriculum development:  “The fact they've been kind enough to draw us in is           huge............................................................................................................................. 253           In summary ................................................................................................................. 259      Question 3 ........................................................................................................................ 261  vi            Defining educational leadership:  “Hmm, that's a good question” ............................ 261           In summary ................................................................................................................. 264           Experience and judgment:  “That is truly the job” .................................................... 265           Changing over time:  conceptions of educational leadership: ................................... 266           What it means to be a principal .................................................................................. 269           In summary ................................................................................................................. 273      Question 4 ........................................................................................................................ 274           Addressing tensions:  “We definitely feel the curriculum crunch” ........................... 275           Fragmented curricular policy:  “You don‟t muck around” ........................................ 276           Curriculum crunch:  “So much is expected and you just don‟t have enough time” .. 279           Field trip policies:  “There was no input from anybody” .......................................... 286           Hiring protocol: “Sometimes there‟s not a good fit.  I‟m all about good fits” .......... 287           Coping with challenges and tensions: “I found a counsellor” ................................... 290           In summary:  Addressing the tensions of the „meat grinder‟..................................... 293      Question 5 ........................................................................................................................ 295           Gender: “…is something that I don‟t spend a lot of time thinking about” ................ 295           Habitus: “How would you not bring that to the forefront? ........................................ 307           Social justice:  “…everybody has a voice, everybody gets heard” ........................... 310           Eliminating financial barriers to success: “Every kid is looked after” ...................... 313           In summary ................................................................................................................. 314 Chapter 6:  Discussion and Conclusions ........................................................................... 317      Introduction...................................................................................................................... 317      Question 1: Constructions of professional identity and of „educational leadership ........ 319      Question 2: A fragmented Yukon educational field ........................................................ 327      Question 3:  Engaging “indigeneity” .............................................................................. 330      Question 4:  Juggling educational ends:  betwixt and between external policies and       the Yukon Education Act................................................................................................ 335       Question 5:  Non-Indigenous principals in Indigenous contexts:  Multiple locations       and intersections ............................................................................................................. 340           Ethnicity and class ...................................................................................................... 342      Strengths and limitations ................................................................................................. 343      The significance of this study .......................................................................................... 346      Researcher‟s reflections ................................................................................................... 347  vii       Insights and afterthoughts ................................................................................................ 350      Future areas of exploration .............................................................................................. 353      In conclusion .................................................................................................................... 355  Bibliography ........................................................................................................................ 357  Appendices .......................................................................................................................... 369      Appendix 1:    Research design process .......................................................................... 370      Appendix 2:    Invitation to participate ............................................................................ 371      Appendix 3:    Letter of consent ...................................................................................... 373      Appendix 4:    Interview questions .................................................................................. 375      Appendix 5:    Letter of request to conduct research in Yukon schools .......................... 380      Appendix 6:    Yukon Department of Education permission to conduct research letter . 382      Appendix 7:    Confidentiality Agreement ...................................................................... 383      Appendix 8:     Certificate of Completion:  Introductory tutorial for the Tri-Council                   Policy Statement:  Ethical Conduct for Research Involving        Humans....................................................................................................385       Appendix 9:    UBC Certificate of Approval- Minimal Risk ......................................... .385      Appendix 10:  Observational protocol............................................................................ 388                viii  LIST OF TABLES  Table 1   A typology of cross-cultural researchers ............................................................... 127  ix  LIST OF FIGURES  Figure 1:   The nested context of Yukon principals................................................................ 95                                             x  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  “Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size."  John of Salisbury, Bishop of Chartres, The Metalogicon, 1159, p. 167.  I have been exceedingly fortunate to have been carried aloft on the shoulders of many giants.  Being accepted to a doctoral program, let alone engaging in it, is of such magnitude that it would have truly been impossible without the help of many.  I offer profound thanks to my academic supervisor, Dr. André Elias Mazawi for the, patience, dedication, true care, and friendship he has shown me.  His wisdom of many things and commitment of countless hours was instrumental in the completion of this work.  I learn something each time I talk with André.  With the support of committee members Dr. Michelle Stack and Dr. Garnet Grosjean, I could not ask for a more thoughtful and dedicated team of academic mentors. Vancouver Ph.D. colleagues Dilek Kayaalp, Brigitte Gemme, Suzanne Scott, Tasha Riley, and Carolina Palacios deserve thanks for their friendship and counsel, as do Dr. Taylor Webb and Dr. Amy Metcalfe for their teachings and time.  Many in the Yukon have been instrumental in the completion of this study.  Principal and mentor David Thompson, whose assertion, “If you don‟t take risks, you never learn anything” echoes in my mind; Christie Whitley, Assistant Deputy Minister (Public Schools) for her encouragement, keen interest in educational leadership development, and for granting me permission to “lift the edges of the carpet to see what lies beneath”; Dr. Colin Kelly for his unwavering support, advice, and regular phone calls; referees Dr. Garry Roth, and Dr. Doug Hamilton for seeing something in me; Yukon Department of Education Superintendent David Sloan for granting me leave to attend UBC; Wolf Riedl, Yukon Deputy Minister of Education (Ret‟d) for sharing his sharp educational insights honed over many years in the crucible of educational leadership.  Air North, Yukon‟s Airline, ensured I made it to campus safely and on time- every time. Deborah Ryan, Director of Marketing, and Josh Clark, Marketing and Sales Coordinator, and Air North‟s dedicated employees, made the dozens of 900 mile early- morning 2 hour flights from Whitehorse to Vancouver possible and enjoyable.  I was never late for a class or meeting- Air North was an integral part of my success.  “You know, the contents of this box could change the course of our lives” were the words of my wife Janine as we shipped my application package to UBC in 2004.  No truer words were spoken- engaging in a doctorate is truly life-altering.  I could not have done this without Janine. Through all the waiting, sleepless nights, successes and frustrations, she has been there, and never once expressed doubt in this endeavour despite the many things put on hold or sacrificed.  I will be forever indebted to her and our two sons, Matthew and  xi  Christopher, for helping me maintain perspective and never letting me quit when I thought it best for our family that I do so.  I have also shared this journey with my parents and three brothers.  In particular, my big brother Martin has guided me, helping me to shape my thoughts and educational philosophy through countless hours of dialogue and professional mentorship.  Were it not for him, I never would have become a principal. Thanks to my family, I have pushed to learn more and do something worthy with my life.  I hope I have honoured you in some way.  The Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS) Northern Studies Trust awarded me a Northern Residents‟ Scholarship.   Funded by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, this award was instrumental to this project.  The Northern Research Institute at Yukon College, whose support was key to my travel to the research sites in this study.  To all that I have mentioned (and any who I have missed here), it is with this expression of good fortune that I give thanks.  Each and every one of you are the giants in my life.                              xii  DEDICATION  I dedicate this dissertation to my wife, Janine, and our two sons, Matthew and Christopher.  Without your love, support, and understanding, I would not have been able to complete this dissertation and Ph.D. program, nor would I have wanted to.  1  CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION  Positioning the researcher  As an educator and administrator in rural, isolated schools with predominantly Indigenous populations, I have been intrigued by the lack of contextualised and culturally- sensitive approaches to educational leadership that would help Yukon educational leaders understand their role in small, rural northern communities.  My urge to understand why tensions exist between the principalship and the community contexts in which such leadership is embedded is based upon my lived experiences. Neither my previous professional practice as a teacher, nor training or post-graduate study adequately prepared me for the complex and diverse role of principal in Indigenous northern communities. Once in the position of new principal, there was no explicit indication of how I could or should lead, or direction given (beyond those aimed at meeting broader organizational mandates) specific to what it was an educational leader was supposed to do, or how to develop a professional identity as a school administrator.   These observations led me to wonder how the prior life experiences and educational trajectories of school principals impact their praxis as educational leaders in the Yukon. While dedicated and committed to working hard in the schools and communities to which I was assigned, particularly at the beginning phase of my career I perceived, yet did not understand, the extent to which epistemological differences existed between my conceptions of educational leadership and those held by community constituents.  At this emergent stage, despite completing a leadership program at the magisterial level, I had little awareness that the daily drama of being an „educational leader‟ in rural, isolated, and Indigenous communities could be situated within a complexity of broader cultural frames.  2   It has been my perception, based upon my experience as a school-based administrator that, in rural, isolated locations the role, profile, and importance of the school (and the school principal) is perhaps greater than in urban or suburban areas.  The school is a focal point extending beyond the daily educational activities in which schools normally engage, and is often the site where communities gather for dances, funerals, potlatches (ceremonial feasts or celebrations to mark important events) and other important cultural events.   Most often, it is the school administration, with the support of staff, that is ultimately responsible for providing a “welcoming culture of leadership” and sustaining positive relationships in this broader context. Upon reflection, my professional practice, particularly at the beginning of my career within the field of educational leadership in Canada‟s north, was most certainly disproportionately influenced by a Eurocentric perspective of leadership.  In short, there appeared no other perceptible way to view and understand leadership.   As I learned from conversations with my administrative colleagues, the vast proportion of whom are also non-Indigenous, this was not solely my own experience or perception. This multiplicity of factors serves to underpin my desire to illuminate, understand, and hopefully alleviate such tensions through future educational research. My early observations resonate with Hallinger & Leithwood (1996) who describe culture as a missing variable in leadership, in light of the domination of western theories of leadership “despite the notion that leadership is contingent upon the context in which it is exercised” (p. 100).   Translating this assertion to my own contexts, I am cognisant of the reality that the Yukon educational leadership field has received limited attention by researchers.  The research that has been conducted includes a case study of a Yukon  3  residential school (King, 1967), and an examination of teaching in rural Yukon communities (Davidson, 1988).  As a result, the generation of Yukon-specific theory aimed at fostering culturally relevant educational leadership development therefore remains difficult at present, particularly given the historical absence of an Indigenous cultural lens through which to examine educational leadership coupled with an understanding of how school leaders work within Indigenous contexts .   This limits the opportunity for greater understanding specific to contextually and culturally relevant educational leadership theory and practice which takes into account the epistemic foundations of non-Indigenous educational leaders in relation to the aspirations of Indigenous populations, the need for which is a central line of reasoning of this research. Years later, my feelings of dissonance are captured by Jules (1999) who states the following point specific to differences between Native and non-Native conceptions of leadership: It is frequently asserted that Native Indian leadership is different from non-Native Indian leadership and that non-Native Indian models are not suitable for describing it.  What appears to be missing, however, is an examination of what Native Indian leadership is and of the application of non-Native Indian models to Native Indian leadership (n.p).  Reinforcing this assertion and identified need for further examination are the findings associated with the Fostering Tomorrow’s Educational Leaders report (Stack, Coulter, Grosjean, Mazawi, & Smith, 2006) on which I served as a research assistant at the commencement of my doctoral program.  This in-depth examination of Educational Leadership and Administration (ELA) programs in British Columbia identified that: In general, the existing „silence‟ and indeed, absence of any significant focus on aboriginal aspirations both within and as specific outcomes of educational leadership programs in British Columbia needs to be critically interrogated.  In the  4  broader consideration of aboriginal leadership generally, (and which moves beyond a specific focus on „educational leadership‟), there are a number of concerns that have been raised within various contexts and forums within British Columbia as well as across Canada more widely. (p. 63)  With these aspects in mind, I set out to conduct an in-depth examination of how non-Indigenous school administrators (principals and vice-principals) working in Indigenous school and community contexts understand leadership in rural, isolated communities; how they establish their identities and what it means to be an educational leader; how they determine what it is that leaders do and why, and how they construct their conceptions of leadership specific to the unique contexts of the Yukon Territory. Thus, this examination is distinct in that it is not a study of cross-cultural educational leadership, but rather a study of educational leadership in Indigenous contexts. Using this point of departure, this research study examines educational leadership in a cross-cultural context situated an isolated, rural, and diverse region that has not been researched to date:  the Yukon Territory, a jurisdiction where the majority of First Nations have settled Land Claims with the Federal and Territorial governments in the process of facilitating self-determination.  Statement of the problem  Limitations of the Eurocentric leadership paradigm constrain how educational leadership is conceptualized within the unique self-governing Indigenous context of the Yukon.  These limitations impact how educational leadership is construed and enacted by non-Indigenous educational leaders in Indigenous Yukon contexts.  Illuminating how non- Indigenous Yukon educational leaders construct themselves is hampered by a limited array of research tools with which to discuss educational leadership in ways that do not replicate  5  colonizing research practices.  As will be elaborated later, the aforementioned aspects intersect with the stated recognition by the Government of Yukon that education in the Yukon requires reform.  Therefore, in order to construct a solid foundation leading to the statement of the problem, the following interrelated topics and issues have been isolated as a means of refining the problem statement: 1) The dominance and limitations of the Eurocentric leadership paradigm within the Yukon context 2) The legacy of colonizing ethnographies with regard to research on educational leadership in Indigenous contexts of practice 3) The context of self-governance in the Yukon 4) The recognized need by the Government of Yukon to reform the Educational System so that it meets the needs and aspirations of all Yukoners, “addressing the disparity of  First Nations and non-First Nations student outcomes” (Yukon Education Reform, 2005, p. 8). These four elements provide a foundation upon which to build a sound research framework. 1     1  A note on terminology Throughout this research, a number of different terms are used when referring to Indigenous peoples, including Aboriginal peoples, First Nations, and North American Indians.  Such diverse usage is evident between the countries of Canada and the United States, where the terms First Nations, Indigenous Peoples, or Aboriginals are predominantly employed in the former, and the term Indian for the most part in the latter (Friesen and Friesen, 2002).  In the Yukon, the term First Nations is primarily used when self-governing First Nations refer to themselves, as in the case of the Carcross-Tagish First Nation. For the purposes of this study, the terms First Nations and Indigenous predominate, though others are employed dependent upon what is being referred to: i.e. Aboriginal languages.  In every case, unless specifically cited, all terminology will be capitalized as a vital and important means of respecting and valuing the identity of those described, much as should be expected and required of any ethnic group or by a citizen of any nation.  6  The predominance and limitations of the Eurocentric leadership paradigm  Eurocentric thought, broadly defined, has been transported and carried throughout the world by colonization (Battiste and Henderson, 2000).   Related to my own experiences and professional development as a school administrator, this dominant conception was assumed to be the only one related to considerations of how educational leadership may be construed and enacted, with little, if any room for others to be contemplated and examined- even if they were acknowledged to exist.  This reflection and observation of “one right way” aligns well with Battiste and Henderson‟s assertion that, “although these assumptions have been challenged by both Eurocentric and Indigenous thinkers, they remain the foundations of orthodox educational and political thought” (p. 29). Examinations of educational leadership within Indigenous contexts are complicated by a number of specific factors related to the overarching dominance of Euro-western conceptions.  When examining the ends of traditional western leadership models, factors such as rationality, system effectiveness, profit, and efficiency, present as dominant and valued ends of such leadership.   In his critical study of educational leadership, Maxcy (1991) identifies the dominance of individualism, authority for the purposes of obtaining compliance, and power and control- and the vital need to rethink such tenets and argues that “our educational institutions and educational leadership must make a better fit within the societal problematics we see operative” (p. 5). Deeper understandings of conceptions of leadership in Indigenous communities are further hampered by the elusive and controversial nature and inability of those from the Western world to define leadership within their own context (Allix & Gronn, 2005), and by the unwillingness of educational thinkers to accept contradictions within the field (Maxcy, 1991).  The historical conceptions of leadership underpinning Euro-western  7  conceptions, as outlined by Storey (2005) and Yukl (1999) are limited in their ability to understand and accept the roles that gender, race, and culture play in what may constitute leadership.   Through such a perspective, not all knowledge may count or matter in this regard:  “…what counts as knowledge in a given context is relative to what is known in that context” (Fenstermacher, 1994, p. 4).  This raises a serious limitation specific to Euro- western leadership models:  If other perspectives, including gender, race, and class count for little when examining leadership employing a Euro-western perspective, the question arises as to why Indigenous (or other) conceptions of educational leadership would matter and be considered of import. These factors serve to reinforce the goal of this research project, which is to investigate the epistemic foundations of educational leadership of non-Indigenous school leaders working in Indigenous contexts.  Specific emphasis will be directed to identifying how school administrators 1) know themselves to be educational leaders, in the absence of policy or a grounding in an explicitly articulated epistemological foundation perpetuated by a dearth of educational leadership research, 2) how they understand their leadership role and construct, and make sense of, their personal and professional identities, and 3) articulate what it means to be a non-Indigenous leader in Indigenous contexts. Comprehending the complexities of Indigenous leadership in the Yukon is problematic due to the overlay of bureaucratic, western-based government models and hierarchies onto First Nations governments with settled Land Claims, as a means of facilitating the ability to work “government to government”.   First Nations were required to adapt their systems of government to relate more closely with their bureaucratic Euro- western counterparts within such a frame.  Indigenous governance structures rooted in clan systems or familial relationships are operationally and structurally different, often running  8  counter to hierarchical systems of government. Therefore, little evidence is found outside the rural communities in which they are located, despite attempts to build a more culturally representative work force in larger government systems. Within this defining context, there is a diminished ability of systems with distinct organizational cultures, goals, and modus operandi to be understood by their respective counterparts. As a result, misperceptions and tensions specific to the roles and purposes of both individuals and groups emerge within organizations, and between organizations themselves. This further complicates the ability of non-Indigenous school administrators to identify and makes sense of their multiple roles and duties as professionals and community members. These structural aspects can further serve to hinder the generation of an expanded array of knowledge which could serve to address issues of student achievement in Yukon schools, and the training, development, and retention of current and future school administrators.  This may result in diminished efficacy, career dissatisfaction, physical and mental exhaustion, and burnout.  The legacy of colonizing ethnographies  Historically speaking, the researching of Indigenous peoples has been complicated and limited by the historic portrayal of them by early ethnographers (Battiste & Henderson, 2000).  Eurocentric anthropologists have traditionally organized the descriptive details of the Indigenous cultures into ethnographies” (p. 30).    This has created a legacy for Indigenous peoples and scholars alike to address:  the breaking down and changing of classic descriptions: Because classic descriptions do not present fair interpretations of Indigenous world views, Indigenous people have had to suggest a total revision of anthropological analyses.  Around the globe, Indigenous thinkers have had to prove that European  9  scholars were mistaken in their notion of Indigenous culture as unchanging and homogeneous. (p. 32)  Eurocentric ethnographers recorded many aspects of the culture under study, and then defined the culture as a shared set of meanings.  Smith (1999) identifies the history and legacy of extraction of Indigenous knowledge and the misplaced ownership of that knowledge by evocatively stating: It galls us that Western researchers and intellectuals can assume to know all that is possible to know of us, on the basis of their brief encounters with some of us.  It appals us that the West can desire, extract, and claim ownership of our ways of knowing, our imagery, the things we create and produce, and then simultaneously reject the people who created and developed those ideas and to seek and deny them further opportunities to be creators of their own culture and own nations. (p. 1)  A legacy of Eurocentric domination of thought in attempts to research and understand Indigenous cultures was the depiction of the view of Indigenous populations as having limited variability between internal cultures, harmonious in their interactions, and inherently static over time.  Brayboy (2000) poignantly reinforces the effects of this legacy in the current day on the practice of Native and non-Native researchers alike, offering the following perspective and caution: My own experiences as an Indigenous person, who is also an “academic”, in this area are complicated.  I have used racial categories as a way of identifying people and ascribing group membership; I have also been labelled and classified by others based on physical characteristics.  As an academic, I have fought against unfairly categorizing individuals and not fully examining the complexities of labelling and classifying.  I have also participated in the various behaviours- as an Indigenous person- that I have argued against as an academic.  This experience has left me wondering how we, as researchers, will be able to make sense of labelling and classifying that plays a definitive role in the identity politics of the ethnic groups that we study.  Complicating this idea is the paradox in which some researchers of groups may find themselves.  That is, intellectually we understand that there are not essential traits commonly held by all members of a group and that members of a group may be defined in multiple ways.  In real life, however, many in our group- including ourselves at times- may use essentialized notions to define membership. Reconciling this tension is a difficult process. (pp. 418-419)   10  Colonial ethnographies were considered to be the sum total of a culture, they were incontrovertible, objective, and the only legitimate form of truth regarding the culture under observation.   In such a manner, the study of “zones of difference” (Battiste & Henderson, 2000, p.  31) was made problematic if not impossible, and as a result Indigenous cultures became homogenized and essentialized, rather than viewed as different, dynamic, and adapted both to and by context over time. The dualistic tensions described above by Brayboy (2000) are highly applicable to my own situation as a researcher and school administrator in the Yukon context, and are even further complicated by my non-Indigenous background.  This generates a critical ethical question to ask of myself:   How can I, as a non-Indigenous researcher, attempt to credibly and legitimately investigate, determine, and proffer a viable and epistemologically consistent understanding of my role as a non-Indigenous educational leader in an Indigenous community setting?  With the same considerations outlined by Brayboy, as a researcher I need to ensure that I do not employ essentialized notions of school administrators, schools and students, and the Indigenous communities in which they are situated, remaining attuned to the fact that each school and community is distinct and defined, with characteristics not necessarily existing across all contexts. Investigating the educational leadership practices of predominantly non-Indigenous school principals within Indigenous contexts, reflected against the Eurocentric paradigm of leadership would serve to broaden the epistemological foundations of educational leadership to include a larger array of thought and understanding of practice specific to the concepts of indigeneity and educational leadership in northern, isolated, and remote Canadian communities.  This research, therefore, is directly relevant to the Yukon context and will address a critical knowledge gap in the literature associated with the trans-cultural  11  and spatial facets of leadership.   Nearly one-third (30.1%) of children enrolled in Yukon schools self-identify as First Nations students of Aboriginal descent (Yukon Bureau of Statistics, May 2005).  The percentage of First Nations students is not distributed evenly from school to school.  Rural schools are likely to have a much higher proportion of First Nations students that those defined as urban, or within the Whitehorse city limits.  In comparison, in British Columbia only 9.5%, or approximately 57,000 of the province‟s 599,000 students, self-identified as Aboriginal (BC Ministry of Education, 2006). The intersections of legislation, policy, and culture are significant to this study. Agbo (2005) reinforces this assertion by stating, “The trend of First Nations control of education is inextricably linked with the trend of First Nations self-government” (p. 290). Given, as stated previously, that Yukon First Nations can draw down the power to take over schools currently operated by the Yukon Government, understanding and fostering notions of educational leadership situated within the context of self-determination is of vital importance for the future of Yukon schools and their relationships within their respective communities.  Most importantly, the depth, breadth, and relevance of the educational experiences and opportunities for children are of prime consideration. Understanding contextually and culturally relevant educational leadership takes on even greater importance in light of accountability policies in education, standardization of administrative practice, and the predominant hegemony of leadership for systemic effectiveness. Yukon schools are influenced by programmes and policy initiatives devised and instituted in British Columbia, and predominantly rely upon BC curriculum, with local adaptation and program development.  School rankings conducted by the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute have begun to include data from Yukon secondary schools situated in Whitehorse, Dawson City, and Watson Lake.  While debating the validity, relevance, and  12  applicability of such rankings is beyond the scope of this research project, it follows that, as the emphasis on standards and rankings from other jurisdictions increases, this will impact the way Yukon schools, educational leaders, and leadership are perceived and thought about, both in the Territory and externally. As a result of the distinct differences between Yukon community contexts and those to the south in BC, Yukon schools, and particularly rural schools, generally do not rank very highly. One Yukon school received a ranking of 0.0 out of a possible score of 10 in 2007.  Such de-contextualized ratings employing small sample sizes present as profound challenges for school administrators who, in light of such an annual publication, must continually be advocates for their students, school, and community.  In such situations, and particularly in light of the assertion by advocates of standards that “the effect of principal leadership on student achievement is now well established” (Waters and Kingston, 2005, p. 14), it is easy for school administrators as the focal point for their schools to become disheartened, eroded, and left feeling disempowered. Specific to school-based leadership, standards have recently been drafted by the British Columbia Principals and Vice-Principals Association (BCPVPA).  These standards are stated to be for 1) professional growth and program coherence, and 2) to provide leadership standards for professional growth (Dukowski, 2007).  While the purpose of the standards (at least initially) does not appear to be for evaluative and certification purposes, Les Dukowski, President of the British Columbia Principals and Vice-Principals Association does not rule this out, stating in a recent article: The standards were not constructed to facilitate certification.  However, decisions regarding whether or not to certify school principals is one that does not lie solely within the principal and vice-principal community.  That said, as in the case of evaluation and supervision, one would expect that any certification criteria, whether they are internally or externally imposed, should take into account the leadership  13  standards and the professional learning activities that the profession believes to be key to successful school leadership.  (p. 4)  Based on the above, I propose that, having agreed to the standardization and certification of professional practice, the BCPVPA has assisted the BC Ministry of Education to implement a process leading to the eventual government-imposed definition of educational leadership through the standardization and certification of school administrative practice.  Conversations specifically focused on examining whether or not standardization and certification of practice is worthy, valued, or of benefit to public education and students have now, in effect, been made redundant. Brown (2006) offers the following concerns specific to the standardization of school administrator practice.  First, standards apply to all members of the profession, and this is equivalent to all members of a sports team playing the same position rather than differing yet complimentary ones.  A second concern is of a regulatory nature, where passing laws or over-regulating a profession is considered an effective means of making things orderly.  A third concern is that standards may be “got wrong”, and therefore outmoded, inappropriate, or irrelevant standards potentially hamper or restrict the evolution of a profession. As a result, the policy initiatives of rankings and standards of practice blur and obliterate concerns for Indigenous education, further obscuring understandings of educational leadership situated in various contexts. These concerns are reinforced by Anderson (2001) who emphasizes the importance of context and its relevance to leadership and schools as being complicated by the implementation and enforcement of standards, the application of which may impose Foucault‟s notion of a “regime of truth” (1980, in Anderson, 2001).  Dimmock & Walker (2000, in Glatter & Kydd, 2003) refer to the one  14  “right way” or “false universalism” of educational leadership that inhibits the creation and enactment of new, innovative, or responsive possibilities. Attempts to introduce standards do not go far enough to explicitly recognize leadership that identifies the epistemic and substantive foundations of leadership in Indigenous contexts.  The relative absence of Aboriginal perspectives are a concern reinforced by Goddard (2002) who states, “Given the ethnocultural diversity of peoples living in the area (Canadian North), the absence of [educational leadership] research explicitly located in northern settings is problematic” (p. 125).  For these reasons, the elements of standardized practice and certification for administrators pose serious challenges to both the recognition that there may be contextually and culturally derived notions of educational leadership in Yukon, and the identification and articulation of them beyond the limits of the dominant Eurocentric paradigm.  In effect, the question emerging is how can standardization be applied to that which is not understood? Educational leadership relevant to the unique and multifaceted nature of Yukon schools and communities, therefore, requires examination and understanding extending beyond the provision of standardized knowledge-based „tool kits‟- checklists, how-to articles, and best practices imported from other times and places.  This narrowing of practice becomes increasingly problematic when presented to prospective or new educational leaders in the hopes they will increase „effectiveness‟ (however defined) and make the transition from teacher to school administrator an easier, and perhaps less traumatic one.  Tools-while important- can result in unintended consequences if one knows neither what is broken nor how to fix it, or has no idea of what one is attempting to build, and why.  15  An additional aspect reinforcing the need for knowledge specific to culturally relevant educational leadership relates to the issues of demographics and current nature of the Canadian labour market specific to school administrators.  The prevailing Yukon strategy has been to recruit school administrators predominantly from Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and the Northwest Territories on the generally held belief that there would always be a plentiful pool of skilfully trained and experienced candidates willing to come to the Territory from which to select the “best and the brightest”.  This approach has been applied counter to labour market conditions in which there appear fewer skilled and experienced school administrators or teachers willing to apply for administrative positions and enter the field, particularly in rural and isolated areas (Blakesley, 2000). As a result, retired principals from other jurisdictions have accounted for new administrative hires, particularly in rural and isolated schools.  While ostensibly a short- term human resource strategy, this approach has served to effectively preclude the development of longer-term sustainable leadership capacity with an emphasis on understanding Indigeneity, the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives, and their relationship to educational leadership development in Yukon.  So far, emphasis has been placed on external recruitment rather than locally-based development.  This has generated two related outcomes:  first, the current cohort of Yukon school administrators is aging; with the average age for principals of 52 years in 2000 (Blakesley, 2000).  Many members of this group are now eligible to retire.  Second, the continued reliance on external resources, in the absence of fostering broader Yukon-situated knowledge specific to educational leadership leading to a locally-developed resource pool, will very likely serve to limit the understanding of how educational leaders weave indigeneity into their practice.  16  In summary, much remains unknown regarding the epistemological foundations upon which non-Indigenous school administrators construct and enact their practice in Indigenous contexts.   The intersections and current inadequacies reinforce the vital importance of this research project, calling for an expansion of current educational leadership to include the perspectives of non-Indigenous school leaders in Indigenous contexts.  The context of self-governance in the Yukon Distinct from other jurisdictions in Canada, 11 of the 14 Yukon First Nations have settled land claims and self-government agreements with the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon.  Self-governing agreements are separate from land claims, with the First Nation Self-Government Agreement setting out the powers of First Nations to govern themselves.  The context of self-governance as stated here refers to the relationship between Yukon First Nations and the Yukon government, and is distinct from school governance at the local level. While, at the present time, the education of Yukon children is directed by the Territorial Government through the Yukon Department of Education, “the First Nation has the power to make citizen-based laws which apply to their citizens no matter where they live in the Yukon.  Examples include child welfare, health care, language, culture and education (Government of Yukon website, 2007).  Self-governance is a key defining aspect of the Yukon governance and political structure, and therefore the educational context is greatly influenced by them.  The settlement of land claims has not, to date, resulted in the devolution of education to First Nations (there are also three First Nations that have not been able to settle), and in theory it could be that this power is never devolved.  17  Non-Indigenous Yukon principals are therefore located at the intersection of two distinct tiers of educational governance and policy:  these are the self-governing agreements negotiated with the Territorial and Federal governments which include ability of First Nations to draw down their powers of education, intersecting with the fulfilment of their duties as stipulated by the Yukon Education Act (1990).  The implications for non- Indigenous Yukon principals are that they must ensure that BC curriculum is taught in Yukon schools while also ensuring that the education of Yukon children is culturally relevant, situated locally, and reflective of the aspirations of their respective communities. Further, in light of land claims settlements, non-Indigenous school principals in rural communities are positioned as Yukon government employees in schools situated on First Nations settlement lands.  As a result of this particular governance construct, principals, at times, find themselves on contested terrain and engaged in power struggles as a result of being embedded in the intricate relationship between the government and the First Nation when effecting educational policies.  Mazawi (2005) illuminates the tensions in which principals can find themselves immersed when public schooling, “a system paradigmatically rooted within conceptions of modernity, individualism, and social organization” (p. 111) intersects with Indigenous cultures. The Yukon‟s distinct self-governance context therefore validates the need for research that specifically takes into account the juncture of history, culture and language, policy and governance, and the extent to which they influence how educational leadership is constructed and comprehended, as a means of understanding the aforementioned tensions, with the intent to reduce them.    18  The recognized need to reform the Yukon educational system There is recognition in the Yukon of the need to reform the educational system to better meet the needs of students and communities. To this end, the Yukon Government has initiated a number of attempts to reform the Yukon educational system to address disparities between First Nations and non-First Nations student outcomes.  From 2001- 2004, the Yukon Government implemented the Education Act Review, reviewing the current Education Act that was instituted in 1990. There is a sense that this review process did not result in substantive change and is still outstanding.  As a result, the Government of Yukon is currently engaged in a broad educational reform process titled the Education Reform Project (ERP), which employs a partnership between the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) and the Government of Yukon.  The process is co-chaired by an appointed representative from each aforementioned body.  The mandate is as follows: The Education Reform Project is a partnership project of the Council of Yukon First Nations and the Yukon Government.  It is mandated to involve all partners in education, consult on education matters and make recommendations to all governments to initiate change to improve the education system. (Education Reform Project website, 2007)   High hopes are placed upon the outcomes of this reform initiative by Yukon First Nations. The majority of Yukon First Nations have expressed a vital interest in ensuring that their aspirations are realised within the Yukon Education system, while others have suggested that they will draw down their powers as outlined by the First Nation Self- Government Agreement should the ERP not address their concerns. Should this occur, individual First Nations in future may choose to redefine their relationship with the Yukon Education system and seek local control of schools.  In a relatively small and remote system, the ramifications of such actions on education in remote communities would very  19  likely be profound.   These factors and the gravity of such decisions reinforce the need to more thoroughly examine and understand educational leadership specifically within rural Yukon schools and communities. This is even more the case in light of the fact that the majority of Yukon school administrators are of non-Indigenous backgrounds.  Therefore, understanding more clearly how non-Indigenous leaders make sense of their professional identities, their subjectivities and how they are constituted, and how they construe and enact their role and practice in Indigenous contexts will serve to provide vital information to guide reform initiatives.  Significance of the problem  The significance of the problem is four-fold:  First, Yukon communities can be characterized as small, rural, and isolated First Nations communities. Communities outside of the capital of Whitehorse range in size from approximately 80 to 750 inhabitants.  In towns or villages of this size, most everyone knows each other, family relations are intricately interwoven, and regardless of age, community residents have (or have had) a connection to the local school. The vital importance of the cultural relevance of schools for the children in Yukon communities is not to be underestimated, particularly so given the assertion by Brentro, Brokenleg, & Van Bockern (1998) that: The school is the only institution providing on-going, long-term relationships with all of our young.  Some children only spend minutes a day in conversation with parents, but all are required by law to be in extended contact with the adults who staff our schools.  Educators have not yet risen to such challenges, and too often the school itself is a breeding ground for further alienation. (pp. 13-14)  Viewed through the eyes of the students in schools, the relevance of the school experience to their own lives takes on a far greater magnitude than that of an academic  20  examination.  The significance of the effects educational leaders have on school culture, the development of a caring climate, the promotion of equity and reduction of discrimination (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003) cannot be underestimated. While the reference above may initially carry with it critical overtones, conversely it presents as a beacon of opportunity when considered in light of the highly important influence of educational leadership and the centrality of the school in small, rural communities. Yet, despite the centrality of the school in the lives of children, it is not clearly understood how Yukon principals-the vast majority of whom are of non-Indigenous backgrounds- create positive learning climates that are nurturing of children, welcoming of parents and embracing of community involvement, and who continuously seek to constitute and re-constitute their schools in order to enhance student success, however defined.  Specifically, it is these school administrators that this research seeks to focus on in order to identify how they construe their role and define themselves (and are defined) as professional educational leaders.   Therefore, a primary goal of this research is to contribute to the growing body of educational leadership research to include the perspectives of non-Indigenous leaders in Indigenous contexts. Secondly, this research can also contribute to a better understanding of Indigenous education in Canada.  In 1991, the Government of Canada conducted a five-year study of issues affecting Aboriginal peoples in Canada.  The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) came to a central conclusion:  “The main policy direction, pursued for more than 150 years, first by colonial then by Canadian governments, has been wrong” (A Word from Commissioners, INAC, 2002).  With this in mind, this research project, which endeavours to shed light on how an educational leader‟s practice within Indigenous  21  contexts,  serves as one essential initiative to foster greater understandings and realizations of the educational aims and aspirations of Aboriginal peoples within the broader Canadian society. Thirdly, public education forms a cornerstone of a democratic, free, and equitable society.  Educational systems and schools carry the profound responsibility of ensuring that students are both aware of their democratic rights and freedoms, and able to exercise them judiciously as contributing members of society.  Employing an American perspective, Zou & Trueba (2002) underscore the importance of understanding both schools and educational research by offering:  “[the means] to understand the best ways to educate children and strengthen teacher preparation, the philosophical foundations of democratic organizations (schools, cities, churches, etc.) in a modern and highly diversified world” (p. 2). This sentiment is directly linked to the Yukon context in a number of important ways: first, it is echoed in the decolonizing Yukon-based land claims processes; second, the development of the Yukon Native Teacher Education Program (YNTEP) at Yukon College as a vital means of developing Indigenous teachers for Yukon students and; third, in the aforementioned desire to examine the Yukon educational system and democratically reform it to better meets the needs of Yukon First Nations.   As identified in the Education Reform Project introductory document, these improvements include increasing First Nations student successes and greater involvement of First Nations in decision-making related to education in Yukon schools. Fourthly, the increased experimentation of ethnographic research methods holds promise as a method which can illuminate cultural differences and similarities in educational contexts.  Zou & Trueba (2002) affirm the power of educational ethnography  22  as an illuminating and powerful research approach that holds promise as a means of improving education in the future.  With this in mind, this research project aims to identify the epistemological foundations upon which school administrators build their knowledge and construct their practice, as a means of contributing and broadening the field of educational leadership to include perspectives from northern, isolated, cross-cultural environments. Summary This research project aims to address Walker & Dimmock‟s (2000) concern that studies of comparative education have been generally absent from educational leadership and management, thereby limiting the available body of knowledge specific to culture and leadership.  Currently, there appears no identifiable educational leadership research in the Yukon which examines non-Indigenous leaders in Indigenous communities. Therefore, this research project aims to contribute to and illuminate this particular unexplored facet of the educational leadership field. Consequently, this research project holds the promise of broadening conceptions of the field, given, as Walker & Dimmock state regarding educational leadership that “Anglo- American scholars continue to exert a disproportionate influence on theory, policy, and practice.  Thus, a relatively small number of scholars and policy makers purport to speak for the rest” (p. 145).  This creates a number of significant challenges that can be addressed through the conduct of this research project, including:  first, diminishment of the continued domination of and reliance upon the prevailing Euro-western paradigm of educational leadership, second, broadening the ways in which leadership is researched and considered to be understood, and third as a result, reducing the continued limitations of the  23  current body of literature in its ability to inform the fostering of prospective educational leaders at post-secondary institutions. The following section, Chapter 2: Conceptual Framework and Literature review, draws upon relevant literature to examine a number of aspects relevant to this research project.  These include educational leadership and the criticality of culture when applied to Indigenous contexts, educational policies, and gender and ethnicity. This textured review situates my research questions and foregrounds the study.  It also provides a historical and contextual basis for the study, illuminating tensions and contradictions present in the literature.   Chapter 3: Research Methods, provides a detailed description of the research methods and my own positionality as a researcher. Chapter 4: Data Collection, presents fine-grained „portraits‟ of the four principals in this study and the schools in which they work based on extensive observations and document reviews at each site.  In Chapter 5: Findings, comprehensive and in-depth interviews with each participant are presented as they addressed the research questions.   The rich narratives they offered are then woven together in ways that shed light on the research questions.  Chapter 6: Discussion and Conclusions, in which each research question is addressed, the significance of this study is emphasized, and future areas of research are put forward.         24  CHAPTER TWO CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND LITERATURE REVIEW  Introduction In this chapter I illuminate and inform particular aspects impacting the under- examined experiences of non-Indigenous school administrators in the Yukon:  how their habitus or embodied dispositions  and their educational trajectories informs how they construe educational leadership in Indigenous contexts, how they construct their professional identities, and upon which epistemological foundations they build their knowledge and enact their practice in the culturally diverse contexts of Yukon schools. Further, the historical challenges and limitations of educational leadership research in Indigenous contexts will also be examined as a means of positioning the research methods identified as suitable to this study.  I begin by situating the confusing epistemology of educational leadership. The confusing epistemology of educational leadership A central challenge facing both researchers and practitioners specific to the topic of educational leadership is the confusing epistemology, lack of clear meaning regarding the notion of leadership, and the limitations of the current body of educational leadership literature.  I will explore these issues in detail, attempting to underscore the difficulties which have prevented broader notions of educational leadership to emerge. This identified narrowness of the field serves to limit the epistemological base upon which non- Indigenous educational leaders in Indigenous contexts build and enact their practice. Obstacles to be analyzed are: the epistemic foundation of educational leadership, the historical foundations behind this conceptual vagueness, and the limitations and constraints preventing broader notions of educational leadership from emerging.  Further,  25  the identification and analysis of these topics serve to underscore the broader goal of this project, which is to expand conceptions of educational leadership to include the perspectives of non-Indigenous educational leaders in Indigenous contexts. The confusing epistemic foundation and conceptual vagueness regarding educational leadership is perhaps best described by Allix & Gronn (2005) who state that: Almost no area of inquiry or interest has shown itself to be more elusive, or more controversial, to human understanding, than the notion of leadership.   It has been, and remains, a notoriously perplexing, yet tantalizing preoccupation for those who research it and/or expound upon it, and for those who, more pragmatically, wish to embrace it and master it, to effect change or effect organizational performance. (p. 181)  Allix and Gronn identify a core challenge to researching leadership, particularly in light of the following question:  What is educational leadership?  Reinforcing the complexity identified above, and serving to further complicate understandings of educational leadership in the aim of answering such a question, is the historical reliance upon what Rayner & Gunter (2005) describe as “an abstraction of propositions and required behaviours, often derived from non-educational settings by those at a distance from where this leadership is practiced” (p. 151). The limited knowledge base of educational leadership further makes elusive the answer, or answers, to the educational leadership question.  Rayner and Gunter (ibid.) argue that “we draw on very limited knowledge claims: we tend to discount the self and our experience as being meaningful to such a question; we tend to comply with established norms about how organizations work” (p. 151).  The inability to define leadership is further reinforced by the findings of the Fostering Tomorrow’s Educational Leaders report (Stack et al., 2006).   Based in part on interviews with Deans of Education at institutions  26  that offer educational leadership and administration (ELA) programs to educators in British Columbia, this report concluded: Despite much promotional activity, there is no widely accepted definition of leadership and no consensus on how to best develop it or foster it.  Our participants disagreed substantively about what leadership means and how it is related to management or administration. (p. 31) The confounding issues related to what leadership means within diverse educational contexts also creates dissatisfaction and generates tensions on the part of practicing school administrators and researchers alike.  Practitioners have strong opinions regarding the lack of effectiveness and transferability of what they have learned relative to the needs of the position.  In an American study of school principals, Portin, Schneider, DeArmond, & Gundlach (2003) found that most administrators felt that they were short- changed by the training they received. Principals saw their preparation programs as unhelpful because the course work emphasized only instructional and managerial leadership.  Most said their training programs did not touch on the more complex combinations of leadership skills used in cultural, strategic, or external development leadership.   Moreover, managing the complex push and pull within districts and district directives wasn‟t part of the curriculum either. (p. 38) Murphy (2005) provides a North American historical context, suggesting that the school leader as manager of the corporate enterprise (“and its apotheosis, the CEO”, p. 156) is a concept that emerged in the early 20 th  Century.  Much of the language of the educational leadership field is reflected in these roots:  management by walking about, management by objective, best practices, benchmarks, are all borrowed terms. After World War Two, a science of administration perspective was applied to educational leadership, giving rise to a two-pillared foundation, leading to one branch focusing on management, the other on the social sciences.  This bifurcated foundation adds  27  to the epistemological confusion surrounding educational leadership and adds further uncertainty to the lives of non-Indigenous leaders in Indigenous communities. Left to navigate the tensions resulting from the incompatibility of managerial approaches to leadership with educational desires and aspirations embedded within broader cultural frames, principals cannot rely upon their educational leadership development experiences and knowledge alone to assist them, for reasons which will be outlined below. The aforementioned twinning is evidenced and perpetuated in the “traditional” curriculum content of many educational leadership and administration graduate programs. Expressing his frustration with the inadequacies of administrative preparation, Murphy (2007) argues that, “by design, and by the accumulated sediment of the decades, current structures in the preparation of school leaders have failed and will continue to do so.  They cannot be salvaged in any real sense, nor should we continue to pursue that goal” (p. 583). Adding further to his dissatisfaction, Murphy expresses concern that the historical inadequacies of educational leadership development available to current and prospective school administrators, will translate to practice: “because universities, especially research universities, have constructed their programs with raw materials acquired from the warehouse of academe.  In the meantime, they have marginalized practice” (p. 583). Reinforcing this inability of educational leadership to emerge as its own “stand alone” discipline or field of practice has been the grafting of ideas and philosophies taken from other areas.  The resultant legacy of doing so has served to seriously hinder the development of educational leadership and hampered its emergence as a profession in its own right. It underscores the foundational problem that understandings of educational leadership continue to be limited ones.  28  Such grafting from other knowledge bases onto the educational leadership field appears to have largely guided and informed the development of the profession, leading to the positioning and replication of school principals into an imbalance that focuses more on management (the term Site Based Management being a representative example) and less on educational leaders and leadership (Lingard & Christie, 2003). Leader traits and abilities have become more the focus than, for example, assisting the development of good teacher practice throughout the school.  This is replicated in professional journals and policy documents that focus predominantly on the managerial aspects of job, with little regard to curriculum, pedagogy, or assessment (Thompson, 2000, in Lingard & Christie, p. 329). This is particularly the case in light of the aforementioned aim of the Yukon educational system to become more inclusive of diverse cultural viewpoints and community dimensions.  A result of this underlying problem is the limitations it poses to broader understandings of educational leadership.   Difficulties in understanding and articulating how non-Indigenous principals within Indigenous communities identify and construct themselves as educational leaders thus becomes even further compounded. At this point, it becomes clear that two prevailing theories of educational leadership development are dominant:  On the one hand, Murphy asserts that practice is a dimension of educational leadership preparation that is underemphasised at the university curriculum level.  On the other hand rests the assertion by Stack et al. (2006) that the educational leadership programs examined in their report have not afforded enough attention to the epistemic facets of educational leadership.   In relation to this study, such a distinct inconsistency of belief points directly to the following question: Where do non-Indigenous educational leaders in Indigenous contexts locate themselves in such confusing and  29  contested terrain?  While perhaps safe to wager that the answer to this question lies somewhere in between,  one can only assume this to be the case in the absence of specific leadership  research involving non-Indigenous school leaders in remote and isolated Indigenous contexts. Educational leadership literature is often marked by a diminished focus on descriptions or explanations relating to the contexts, situations, and the nature of constituents (students, teachers, parents, community) that may influence and be influenced by educational leadership.   The educational leadership literature base focuses more on what a specific leader “does” and less on the “how” and why” he or she chooses to do it, therefore explorations regarding conceptualizations of educational leadership employing a broader sense than its sole embodiment in one person- the school principal-are warranted. This is reinforced by Spillane et al. (2004) who argue that:  [w]e know relatively little about the how of school leadership, that is knowledge of the ways in which school leaders develop and sustain those conditions and processes believed necessary for innovation.  While there is an expansive literature about what school structures, programmes, roles, and processes are necessary for instructional change, we know less about how these changes are undertaken or enacted by school leaders. (p. 4)  It is here that two schools of thought come into obvious conflict with each other in direct relation to educational leadership - the first typified by the belief that leadership is culturally, contextually, and situationally located, the second by the certainty that leadership can be prescribed, standardized, and reduced to quantifiable traits or characteristics generalizable across contexts.   Despite the aforementioned significance of culture and context specific to attempts at broadening notions of educational leadership, efforts made in order to quantify, codify and simplify educational leadership practice are  30  very strong, particularly in the US. These efforts and policy trends impact educational leadership in Canada, particularly given the recent publication of leadership standards in the province of British Columbia which do not include culture as a significant component of leadership.  Given the proximity of British Columbia to the Yukon, and the attendance of Yukon teachers and administrators at courses and professional development (i.e. the British Columbia Principals and Vice-Principals Association short course for educational leaders) the reinforcement of cultural deficiency in educational leadership gives cause for concern. While the question of what constitutes educational leadership is a highly challenging and problematic one to answer,  Stack, et al. (2006) add a further important aspect for consideration:  “How do we determine which leadership skills, knowledge, and values are required, who decides them, and by what criteria?” (p. 18).  This further adds to the vagueness of what comprises educational leadership, particularly when it comes to Indigenous contexts which, as will be discussed below, have remained on the margins of any systematic consideration.  Best practices and standards in educational leadership  The absence of a sound epistemological base of educational leadership raises questions regarding the validity of the body of literature specific to the identification and application of best practices in the educational leadership field.  Such assertions become highly problematic if, as indicated by the Fostering Tomorrow’s Educational Leaders report, consensus regarding what constitutes educational leadership that may be “good” for the purposes of quantification and codification of practice cannot even be attained in a relatively small geographic area as the province of British Columbia.  As a logical  31  extension, this observation raises the question of why educational leadership “best practices” should be considered relevant when applied and stretched across contexts and cultures which display variability.  Glatter & Kydd (2003) reinforce this concern by explicitly stating: “the idea of learning from best practice implies bottling a prescription formula” (p. 238), and cite James (2001, in Glatter & Kydd, 2003) who offers the following regarding the significance of context:  “The transfer of best practice is a complex issue because what is done in one place may not suit another…There is no single “one size fits all” solution when the requirements may be very diverse” (p. 238).  Should this assertion be taken as true, it serves to further justify the need for a detailed examination of non-Indigenous leaders in the highly diverse and varied schools of the Yukon Territory. The application of best practices in educational leadership is highly problematic within a Yukon context, as it removes the consideration of context and culture, making any influence or effect that these factors might exert on educational leadership noticeably absent.  This raises the particular concern that best practices are in direct contrast to Hallinger and Leithwood‟s contention specific to the impact of situational and contextual considerations.   These researchers caution that the very nature of current perspectives of educational leadership are grounded in Western cultures that, in addition to their prevalence in the Western world, are transferred to other contexts with little question given to their cultural validity (Hallinger & Leithwood, 1996).  Therefore, I argue, such approaches or policy initiatives aimed at instituting best practices very likely serve to reinforce rather than mitigate the tensions between school principals and their communities identified in Chapter 1. The above concern notwithstanding, in the United States deep faith is placed in the power of best practice and performance standards for educational leaders by some  32  educational leadership researchers.  Owings, Kaplan, & Nunnery (in Waters & Kingston, 2005) consider “the most critical step in reforming the current [American] system is the development of clear, functional performance standards for what principals know and should be able to do” (p. 15).  The effects of educational leadership in this instance are narrowly focused on student achievement, on the belief that leadership effects have a direct and quantifiable result of improving student learning in the absence of other factors that may influence student learning- either positively or negatively.  Such views are readily proffered with ease, confidence, and numerical efficiency, as in the case of: “Principal leadership is positively correlated with student achievement and has an average effect size of .25” (Waters & Kingston, 2005, p. 15). Detailed attempts are made to measure and quantify educational leadership behaviours and relate them specifically to academic achievement.  One illustrative example is offered by a Mid-Continental Research for Education and Learning (MCREL) study titled “Balanced leadership:  What 30 years of research tells us about the effect of leadership on student achievement” (Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2003).   In this study, “21 specific leadership responsibilities that are significantly associated with student achievement” (p. 2) are identified and ranked in order of magnitude, as if they can simply be applied as a template that can be laid over all schools in a decontextualized manner. A disturbing representative example of this concern is the simplistic suggestion that there can be direct transference of the aforementioned “21 responsibilities” across schools and organizations that may have entirely unique and different contexts and cultures, thereby reinforcing the limitations of both the understanding and practice of educational leadership.   Little thought is given to the possibility that the suitability of the practice of educational leadership and the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of a principal at a  33  large, urban high school may, in fact, be quite different or even opposed to those that would serve well the principal of a rural elementary school and its constituents. Yet despite the confident assertions of the proponents of best practices and the quantification of educational leadership, dissenting views abound regarding correlations- and the degrees to which they exist- between leadership and student outcomes.   Not all who study educational research share such confidence in the measurement and correlation of educational leadership to student learning.   The very notion of what constitutes “achievement” in diverse cultural settings further complicates the ability to make distinct the correlation between educational leadership and student achievement, however defined. Murphy (in Witziers, Bosker, & Kruger, 2003) concludes in his review of leadership and student achievement that “the existing knowledge base fails to offer proof that educational leadership matters” (p. 399).  He goes further, stating that “not much research is conducted in this area and that (b) most studies in this field are of poor quality”.    School effectiveness related to student achievement has been criticized based upon the narrow focus on cognitive outcomes (Witziers, Bosker, & Kruger, 2003).  Factors such as location, working conditions, levels of efficacy on the part of teachers and the nature of the organization rarely appear as interrelated dynamics that could influence (or be influenced by) educational leadership. The concerns specific to the standardization and certification of the incoherent field of educational leadership are driven home further by Stack et al. (2006):  “On the first, the nature of educational leadership, we found few attempts to distinguish it from, for example, business or military leadership” (p. 3).  Given the absence of a coherent definition of educational leadership in a democratic context, this report argues that  34  conversations surrounding educational leadership need to be broadened rather than narrowed by a focus on the issues of certification that envelop it. Attempts to broaden the field are exhibited by research conducted in small school settings by Bauch (2001) who reinforces the distinctions between schools and communities based on context, stating: “Rural schools are vulnerable to imitating the reform standards of national and urban school.  Urban schools, to which much of the research on current reform efforts has been directed, are not rural schools writ large.  Neither are rural communities like urban neighbourhood communities” (p. 204).  This sentiment reflects strongly of Yukon schools. Adding further to the distinctions of the roles and duties of rural principals relative to their urban counterparts is the identification of the dual role of teacher and principal (Wilson & McPake, 2000), given that many rural principals also carry a substantial teaching assignment in addition to their leadership and administrative duties. The complexity of the educational leadership field has resulted in a body of literature deficient of descriptions or explanations taking into account the richness and diversity of the contexts, situations, and the features of constituent communities  in which educational leaders work.  This is particularly the case regarding educational leadership research in the Canadian North (Goddard, 2002).  A preponderance of the literature aimed at simplifying educational leadership through the mandating of best practices, standards, and certification, along with examinations of what a specific leader “does” and less on the “how” and why” he or she chooses to do it in a contextually dependent manner has, counterproductively, served to further complicate and confound the field for those wishing to understand it- be they scholars or practitioners.  Therefore, further exploration of educational leadership employing a broader sense than its sole embodiment in one person,  35  the school principal, and enlarged to include considerations of culture, context, and location, is highly warranted.  With these aspects at the forefront, the following section explores educational leadership in light of the criticality of culture and Indigenous contexts. The criticality of culture and the intersections of culture and leadership The preceding discussion leads to the observation that conceptions of educational leadership only marginally incorporate Indigenous epistemic worldviews. Existing notions of educational leadership – however approached – remain predominantly Eurocentric. And yet, in the Yukon context, non-Indigenous educators wield a great amount of influence in Indigenous contexts, given their predominance in the Yukon educational system. Even though the Yukon does not have reserves, the following point nonetheless bears thoughtful consideration: Underscoring this prevalence on a national scale and its effect on students, Taylor (1995) reinforces the Yukon reality, offering: “Presently in Canada hundreds, perhaps thousands, of non-Native teachers work on reserves…The native student‟s self- image, perception of Native/non-Native interaction, and the chance of graduating will all be influenced by their non-Native teachers” (p. 224). This reality must be kept at the forefront throughout this entire research proposal, particularly when framed with Hampton‟s (1995) assertion that: “No aspect of a culture is more vital to its integrity than its means of education” (p. 7). Every Yukon school possesses its own distinct contextual and often micro-political landscape of which school administrators need to be aware.  This is no small challenge. In small communities, whether a long-time resident or newcomer, it can be difficult to navigate through such complexity, given that interpersonal relations are coupled with the reality that what happens in the community can often be transferred into the school, and  36  vice versa.   Being an educational leader in such places, I argue, requires particular types of knowledge, judgment, and reason, based upon experience considered with a thorough understanding of context (Coulter & Wiens, 2002).  Every school and community has its own complex combination of needs that are not always easily defined. This may serve to explain why the reliance upon skills and knowledge that served an educator well in a particular context with a specific group of people may be relatively ineffective or even counterproductive in another where languages, community history, and cultures are different.  Admittedly, the stresses are not easy ones for school leaders to cope with. While in populated areas it can be easier to distance oneself from work (at least geographically) at the end of the day, in small and isolated communities this may not be possible. Given the predominance of the school in Yukon communities, this complexity of interrelated factors places particular emphasis on the school principal as the focal point and nexus responsible for many outcomes, both educational and community-based.  In times ranging from growth and celebration to crisis and anguish, the role, perception, and relationship of the school to the community is often defined by the very nature of the school principal as educational leader. Therefore, there is the need for greater understandings of both the complementary and divergent aspects of educational leadership in such contexts, as well as identification of the gaps that may exist between local perceptions and the expectations of educational leaders and leadership in Yukon schools on the part of the Yukon educational system. This need has been identified by Goddard & Foster (2002), who describe the challenge school administrators face when trying to balance the, at times, competing requirements and needs of the profession with the voices of those in their communities.  This is done with varying degrees of success, where  37  educators may be “purposefully or naively, contributing to the development of an artificial divide between Western and Indigenous knowledge” (Goddard, 2002, p. 124).   Specific to the BC context, Stack, Coulter, Grosjean, Mazawi, & Smith (2006) reinforce the need for further conversations leading to greater convergence of these distinct viewpoints by stating:   “There is a need to understand the implications for Aboriginals in British Columbia of the linkage of the word „education‟ to „leadership‟” (p. 63).  So too is this the case for the Yukon Territory. Based on the aforementioned complexity of Yukon communities, a brief examination of the literature specific to the historical absence of culture, and in particular Indigenous cultures, frames and serves to reinforce the importance of cross-cultural research and understandings of educational leadership.   Offering a basis for this examination as it relates specifically to this research project, Hallinger & Leithwood (1998) assert: Research outside education suggests that there are differences across cultures in terms of how people define leadership.    The early stages of research into cross- cultural conceptions of leadership should try to explore the meaning of leadership from the perspectives of people within a given culture…[Among other techniques, this research should examine]…the use of different models of leadership in different cultures. (p. 31)  While there has been considerable study and research on women and educational leadership (Chase, 1995; Grogran, 1996; Shakeshaft, 1987, in Fitzgerald, 2002), the preponderance of it has originated from the USA.  This implies that educational leadership research presents and reinforces the dominance of the Euro-western paradigm of educational leadership, severely limiting how educational leadership is construed across cultures and contexts.  Much less research appears to have been conducted surrounding the cultural diversity of leadership, cross-cultural understandings, and specifically,  38  conceptualizations and descriptions that include Indigenous perspectives and contexts. This is stated in the literature (Hallinger, in Bryant, 1998; Hallinger & Leithwood, 1996), and appears especially applicable to a Northern Canadian context. Goddard &Foster (2002) underscore this by stating that while there have been examinations by Bryant (1996), Capper (1990), and Shields (1996) within American Indian contexts: …there have been few examinations of school leadership that have been grounded in Canada‟s northern region.  This lack of research focusing on northern education generally, and the relationship between educational leadership and the local culture in particular, identifies a serious gap in the literature. (Goddard and Foster, 2002, pp. 5-6)  How culture may be integrated into the limited body of literature specific to northern Canadian community contexts could serve us well in clarifying what a cultural understanding of leadership actually means.  Going beyond the definition of culture as: “The normative glue that holds a particular school together” (Sergiovanni, 2000, in Goddard & Foster, 2002, p. 3), I prefer the broader definition employed by Agar (1996, in Goddard & Foster, 2002.) who describes culture as:  “The knowledge you construct to show how acts in the context of one world can be understood as coherent from the point of view in another world” (p. 3). This important distinction avoids the view of culture as a school-centric one, encouraging the inclusion of the cultural aspects of society and communities within which schools are embedded. This viewpoint is particularly suited to the Yukon educational research context in order that the school itself not be viewed in isolation from the community.   To view the school as an entity separate from the community would only serve to further entrench the historical disparity and dissonance existing between Indigenous communities and state-run schools as a result of Canadian government residential school policies.  39  The identified gaps in the literature specific to northern Canadian contexts, coupled with the broad-reaching and profound effects of non-Indigenous educators in relation to their Indigenous students, adds further justification for this examination of educational leadership in the Yukon.  In the heretofore unexamined context which this Canadian territory represents, how educational leadership is construed in Indigenous contexts by non-Indigenous principals, how they define themselves as professionals, and upon which epistemological foundations they build their knowledge and enact their practice takes on two crucial dimensions:  first, informing the identified lacuna in the knowledge base of educational leadership, and two; broadening notions of pedagogy to articulate a culturally- grounded understanding of educational leadership. Reinforcing this justification, Hallinger & Leithwood (1996) describe culture as a missing variable in leadership, in light of the domination of western theories of leadership “despite the notion that leadership is contingent upon the context in which it is exercised” (p. 100).   The absence of cross-cultural leadership, and particularly the inclusion of Indigenous culture in educational leadership theory and practice, is identified and reinforced by Fitzgerald (2002): Despite changes that have been made in definitions and descriptions of educational leadership to provide a focus on gender, there is an implicit assumption that while educational leadership might be practiced differently according to gender, there is a failure to consider the values and practices of Indigenous educational leaders.  Thus, the construct of educational leadership needs to be more broadly theorized in order for knowledge of Indigenous ways of leading to emerge. (p. 1)  This stated absence identifies a founding cornerstone which further justifies this research project.  The issue identified in this subsection presents more broadly than simply an identification of the “absent” culture and its addition to the extant educational leadership literature.  More to the point, the elaboration and articulation of a fully-  40  grounded cultural theory and understanding of educational leadership specific to the Yukon context, one that is sensitive to Indigenous community contexts, values, and identities, is called for. Bryant (1998) further proposes that culture is an area from which there remains much to learn in regards to leadership, supporting  Hallinger‟s (1995) earlier assertion that in studies of educational leadership, culture has been a missing variable in leadership theory. So too may this be the case in the Yukon context, where much also remains to be learned through the examination of educational leadership embedded in the cultural contexts of this Territory.  Yet, challenges exist which have served to hinder the expansion of educational leadership theory to include the aspect of culture.  In the following subsection, these barriers will be examined in greater detail. Challenges to understanding cross-cultural conceptions of educational leadership  A particular challenge to understanding cross-cultural conceptions of educational leadership is the pervasiveness of the functionalist view of discourses on leadership that are embedded within intellectual paradigms rooted in the 19 th  and 20 th  Centuries.   This is not a new realization, given the observation by Giroux (in Maxcy, 1991) that: The meaning of leadership has been narrowly defined by neo-conservatives as a practice that emulates the style and ideology of corporate executives and legitimates the style and legitimates training students for the world of work as the primary objective of schooling (p. xi).  Such a confined and limited view of the valued ends of education and educational leadership runs counter to particular goals expressed in the Yukon Education Act (1990). This guiding piece of legislation for educators and policy makers indicates the vastly  41  broader aims of the Yukon Educational System than simply training for workforce skills. Explicit importance is placed upon a diverse array of dimensions, including “the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, cultural, and aesthetic potential of all students to the extent of their abilities” (p. 8).  This divergence serves to position the examination of non-Indigenous leaders in a light which is particularly interesting and intriguing.  While we do not currently know how successful non-Indigenous educational leaders shape, craft, and reconstitute their leadership, extending it beyond the limited bounds of a functionalist paradigm to achieve the goals stipulated by the Yukon Education Act, elucidating answers to these questions should result in a highly illuminating educational leadership study. Cross-cultural examinations of leadership have been further challenged by the limiting conceptions of leadership that traditionally placed particular emphasis upon the sole leader, titled principal or head teacher (Storey, 2004).   Simkins (2005) refers to this “traditional” view of leadership and described as being marked by the following “characteristics”:  that leadership resides in individuals.  that leadership is hierarchically based and linked to office.  that leadership occurs when leaders do things to followers.  that leadership is different from and more important than management.  that leaders are different.  that leaders make a crucial difference to organizational performance.  that effective leadership is generalizable. (p. 11)  Such beliefs on leadership have proven to be particularly limiting when the unit of leadership analysis has been that of the “hero” or solitary leader (Gronn, 2002). This has resulted in further confounding the understanding of what educational leadership constitutes, ways to define it, how it can be developed in others, or understood in different  42  cultural contexts where leadership may be distributed amongst many people in many complex ways. While the concepts of leadership and management have been examined extensively across the professional fields of business and science, the discourse of the ongoing interrelatedness and struggles between them continues to have particular influence upon and relevance to educational leadership, where leadership is still presented as a range of behaviours often extracted from other professions.  This is due to the limited knowledge and the discounting of self and experience when attempting to define leadership (Rayner & Gunter, 2005), particularly in educational settings. The criticality of culture and the intersections of culture and educational leadership  Hallinger (1995) underscores this historical absence of culture as a variable of educational leadership, identifying that conceptions of leadership and management are often transferred to different cultures with little concern given to their validity.  This is reaffirmed by Hallinger & Leithwood (1996) who point to the dominant application of Eurocentric concepts of leadership and the limitation this poses specific to understanding educational leadership employing a cultural frame: Without placing blame anywhere, it is time to enrich theory and practice in education by seeking out the diversity of ideas and practices that have existed largely hidden in the shadows of the dominant Western paradigms that have guided the field. (p. 100)  In proximate geographic and contextual relation to the Yukon, Berger, Epp, & Moller (2006) employ the term “cultural clash” in their Nunavut-based educational study. These researchers highlight school-specific examples of where an understanding of cultural difference is crucial for educators, and particularly school administrators, in the way that  43  education is delivered to students and schools are operated in Inuit communities.  Given that “it is not unusual to find street hockey games being played at 2:00 a.m. in Nunavut, or hunters heading out onto the land at 8:00 p. m.” (p. 187), school schedules that are inflexible present as artificial to Indigenous community members and policies of attendance incongruent with embedded family values. As a result, nonattendance and dropping out by students occurs chronically.  While inadequate curriculum and resources are not specifically related to educational leadership, the adaptation and development of resources to more appropriately fit the culture, and the identification and promotion of culturally appropriate pedagogy, benefits from the impetus and attention given to them by educational leaders who are attuned to the cultural context of their school and community. Offering an historical underpinning for educational leaders to culturally adapt their practice Friesen & Friesen (2002) identify the need for a reversal of the historical assimilation of Aboriginal peoples into mainstream society.  As indicated in the 1967 Hawthorn Report, they urge that educators should be integrated into Aboriginal ways of knowing, getting to know the background, culture, and identify of their students more thoroughly.  These authors also base this assertion upon the findings of Taylor (1995) who estimates that “90 percent of Native children will, at one time or another, be taught by a non-Native teacher” (Friesen & Friesen, 2002, p. 27). Cultural familiarity and sensitivity does not rest upon a numerical foundation alone. Rather, raising the awareness and understanding of Indigenous cultures on the part of non- Indigenous teachers is suggested as a means of reducing the “culture shock” which can manifest itself in non-Aboriginal educators new to Indigenous communities.  The effect of this can be overwhelming, causing otherwise well-intentioned teachers to isolate  44  themselves, cocoon themselves from the community, or resign and leave.  Friesen & Friesen (2002) underscore the following epistemological distinctions specific to Indigenous perspectives from Western Canada which underpins the aforementioned phenomenon.  First, there is a spiritual worldview that all things, both animate and inanimate, have a spiritual element.  This includes rocks, plants, the sky, animals, and of course, humans.  Specific to First Nations knowledge and learning before contact, “all appeared to have been going well until the Europeans came” (p. 15).   Second, just as individual students exhibit different learning styles, the learning styles of Aboriginal students differ in that concepts and skills are learned through the repetition of many tasks and “learning by doing”, making the classroom setting and the reliance on abstract contexts and verbalization more of an artificial one.  Third, it is accepted by parents and community that students progress with learning at different rates, in contrast to the expectation of educational systems that all students attain a specific learning point by the end of a school grade.  Lastly, Indigenous students rely on a different range of classroom activity patterns than may be evident in non-Indigenous classrooms.  Friesen & Friesen cite Hodgeson- Smith (2000) who states the following specific to the learning styles of Indigenous students, describing them as: …field dependent learners, which means they are more apt to depend on confronting situations when inculcating knowledge.  Thus they tend to show a preference for precise guided assignments, and indicate a greater need for a variety of different classroom interaction patterns than their non-Native peers.  They also prefer more student-teacher interaction, are more peer-oriented, and more positively inclined towards collaborative and small-group learning tasks. Significant difference in behaviour often come in to play when teachers and students represent different cultural backgrounds. (p. 32) Based upon these identified factors, one can assume that non-Indigenous leaders in Indigenous Yukon contexts need to take into account cultural variability as they construct  45  and enact their educational leadership in different ways, engage in pedagogical practice, and interact with students and the community in which they reside. Reinforcing this postulation, Ryan (1989) emphasizes the need for principals to construct distinct educational leadership approaches that “depart in any number of ways from standard schooling practices” (p. 381). And yet, in his study of an Innut school in Labrador, Canada, he observed that “the methods [the school] uses to promote student learning vary only marginally from those practiced in most schools throughout the western world” (p. 391). While such a statement could perhaps present as a broad overgeneralization, it nonetheless raises vitally important questions specific to this research project:  despite the identified need for school practices to be distinct ones in Indigenous communities, schools operated by non-Indigenous educational leaders in Indigenous contexts appear to replicate Eurocentric institutional arrangements and curricula.  Applying Ryan‟s assertions to this study would suggest that non-Indigenous educational leaders in Indigenous Yukon contexts rely on Eurocentric paradigms to inform the way in which they construe and enact educational leadership.  Ryan identifies a large gap between rhetoric and practice which serves to inform the need expressed by the Government of Yukon for educational reform recognized on p. 5, expressing the need to narrow First Nation and non-First Nation student outcomes.  What role, therefore, do non-Indigenous leaders play in both closing and widening this gap through their conceptualizations and enacting of educational leadership?  Such questions serve to reinforce further the vital need for this examination as a means of understanding how educational leadership both constrains and enables the realization of the educational goals of the broader Yukon society.  46  The relative absence of cultural diversity related to educational leadership raises another issue that makes understandings of leadership (and specifically aboriginal leadership) in education and schools all the more difficult to define and sustain.  While programs such as the Ts‟kel program at UBC have been developed as a means to include First Nations perspectives and voices, Jules (1999) points out, “It is here that a difficulty arises: the only models of educational leadership readily available to trainers and students are those developed in the non-Native Indian cultures (usually that of North America)” (p. 1). An additional limitation affecting the understanding of leadership when employing a cultural perspective is the “quest for universal leadership principles that apply across all cultures” (Dickson, Den Hartog, & Mitchelson, 2003, p. 729).  Despite this, there has been a measure of progress made to adopt a different epistemic position regarding the intersections of culture and leadership.  For instance, while the 1974 edition of the Handbook of Educational Leadership hardly mentioned cross-cultural leadership, the 1990 edition included 40 pages on this topic.  At the time of Dickson, Den Hartog, & Mitchelson‟s examination of the field, these researchers suggest that it would be next to impossible to assemble a single, comprehensive chapter on cultural issues and leadership. Yet, there is still a vast amount of ground to be covered in order to bring greater visibility to Indigenous cultural perspectives. This is particularly so in the case of academic journals. Reinforcing the identified absence of Indigenous leadership perspectives, in January, 2007, I conducted a review of 183 peer-reviewed articles published in two predominant educational leadership journals: The U.S. based Education Administration Quarterly and the Journal of Educational Administration, published in the UK.  Noted in  47  this examination was the absence of educational leadership research specific to Indigenous populations, and particularly North American Indigenous populations.  None of the 183 articles examined were identified to have a focus on educational leadership with the intent of broadening the field in respect to the inclusion of Indigenous cultural perspectives. While such an absence may perhaps be expected in a UK-based journal given that Indigenous education may be of little relevance or interest to their readership, nevertheless such a lack of presence in a predominant US journal raises a number of specific questions: Are few researchers conducting Indigenous and cross-cultural educational leadership in a North American setting? Are few researchers choosing to write about it in journal article format?  Does the current array of research methods or tools limit engagement in such research? Do the predilections of editorial boards influence the relative absence of studies and articles on Indigenous and cross-cultural research? Could there perhaps other factors reinforcing this absence?  While answers to such questions lie beyond the specific scope of this research project, findings extracted from this review of the literature affirms the relative „silence‟ of Indigenous cultural perspectives in current mainstream educational leadership literature. Whereas the above points alone present a further justification for this research project, an additional supporting factor was also noted as a result of this examination.   A specific absence in regards to research methodology was also identified.  In particular, only one article in this research study stating the employment of “ethnographic observations” (Giles & Hargeaves, 2006) was extracted from the 183 examined. 2   2  These observations were utilized as part of three larger case studies of three high schools as a means of analysing change over time. The aspect of research methods will be discussed in a following subsection of this study.   48  Despite the identified relevance and need for greater cross-cultural understandings of educational leadership, the broadening of the field is unfortunately limited by the absence of such research or perspectives in two of the mainstream educational leadership journals.  In this regard, editorial policies may exert influence upon the extent and depth of the pool of knowledge made available in the area of Indigenous educational leadership, and serve as a filter which determines what is considered worthy of knowing specific to the broader field of educational leadership. This is of particular concern in regards to the US-based EAQ, given the relevance of Indigenous perspectives to American contexts in light of Escobar-Ortloff & Ortloff‟s (2003) argument that “Culture has a powerful influence on how and what people think about knowledge, learning, and education” (p. 256) .  Given the variability of conceptions of leadership across cultures, their relative absence in a leading journal at the advent of this millennium is most certainly noticeable and serves to reinforce the monolithic predominance of the Euro-western educational leadership discourse. The critical need for Yukon-situated research illuminating the vital role of educational leaders who are attuned to school and community cultures is one not to be underestimated:  “Only by establishing links between those social practices that pervade Western society and everyday life in Native communities and schools, can we begin to capture the complexities involved in seeking out not only explanations of, but solutions to, the problems in Native education (Ryan, 1989, p. 382).  Focusing squarely on the principal, Goddard & Foster (2002) affirm: If schools are to serve the legitimate needs of their communities, then efforts must be made to review and shape not only the institutional structure of the school but also the culture of the community within which the school functions.  It is incumbent upon the school principal to take a lead role in this effort…In removing the planks from the palisade, the community has shown how principals in northern  49  schools must reconceptualize their schools as being integral parts of the communities they serve. (pp. 14-15)  To conclude, it is evident that cross-cultural understandings of educational leadership, which take into particular account the role of culture in northern Canadian Indigenous contexts, are noticeably absent. This deficiency serves to further reinforce and add legitimacy to this research project.  Given the narrowness of the predominant Eurocentric educational leadership paradigm, the following subsection attempts to further enlarge the educational leadership conversation to include the issues of gender and ethnicity, and the influence they exert upon educational leadership. Educational policy contexts, professional trajectories, and identity How non-Indigenous educational leaders in Indigenous Yukon contexts construe and enact their practice appear shaped by three factors.  These are the educational policy contexts extending into the Yukon from other provinces or federal bodies, the characteristics of the post-secondary educational leadership programs in which Yukon principals may have been educated, and the identities of the individuals themselves. Educational policy contexts At a federal level, the identification of specific educational leadership knowledge and practice in Indigenous communities is supported by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) recommendation 3.5.17 which states: Teacher education programs, in collaboration with Aboriginal organizations and government agencies that sponsor professional and para-professional training, adopt a comprehensive approach to educator training, developing career paths from para-professional training to professional certification in education careers that:  (a) prepare Aboriginal students for the variety of roles required to operate Aboriginal education systems; and   50  (b) open opportunities for careers in provincial education systems.  A dominant theme of the recommendations of the RCAP report was stated as: “Aboriginal peoples must have room to exercise their autonomy and structure their solutions” (AFN, n.d.). The historical underpinnings of this study which aims to expand the predominant Euro-western paradigm to include the perspectives of non-Indigenous educational leaders in Indigenous contexts, is warranted by the reality that, in the Yukon, no attempt has been undertaken to date to clarify how notions of educational leadership as construed and exercised by non-Indigenous school administrators are further impacted by the position of Indigenous communities within the broader Canadian context; how memories of dispossession, community dislocation and colonialism inform educational leaders‟ notions of what constitutes educational leadership, community, and what education and schooling stand for. These aspects are important for both educational leaders and Yukon First Nations communities, given the role education plays in facilitating self-determination, and in defining identities of children and the sense of purpose of the communities that schools serve. I argue that such educational policy contexts give rise to contradictions and foster tensions and dissonance which non-Indigenous principals must address in their daily practice.  For school-based leaders in general, Leithwood (2001) directly states the impact of educational policies on them: “Among the several contexts in which school leaders are enmeshed, the context created by educational policies is among the most powerful influences on the nature of their work” (p. 227).  This subsection will outline these contradictions in order to surface the daily struggle in which non-Indigenous educational leaders in the Yukon must engage should they wish to address them.  51  A number of policy factors impact the practice of school administrators in the Yukon.  Three such contextual factors are identified. First, in the Yukon, the Yukon Education Act (1990) takes a greater role than solely that of legislation, in that it is also serves as the predominant policy document that defines not only the powers, roles, and duties of school administrators, but the broader mandate and the operation of the Yukon educational system as a whole.  Specific to the Yukon society, the Education Act recognizes the following in its preamble:  ...that Yukon people agree that the goal of the Yukon education system is to work in co-operation with parents to develop the whole child including the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, cultural, and aesthetic potential of all students to the extent of their abilities so that they may become productive, responsible, and self- reliant members of society while leading personally rewarding lives in a changing world. (p. 8)  It is important to note the reference made to the development of culture.  Further emphasis is given to culture in a subsequent citation: ... that the Yukon curriculum must include the cultural and linguistic heritage of Yukon aboriginal people and the multicultural heritage of Canada; (p. 8)  These two references underscore the significance of the need to more thoroughly understand educational leadership and its relationship to learning in Yukon schools and communities.  While not all leadership resides in the principal‟s office, the importance of the principal is reinforced by Leithwood & Riehl (2003) who state:  “Scratch the surface of an excellent school and you are likely to find an excellent principal” (p. 1), which aligns with Barth‟s (1990) assertion that the key to a good school is a good principal.   If the role of the principal as educational leader is one that cannot be underestimated, then a greater understanding of how school principals practice culturally and contextually relevant  52  educational leadership in the Yukon would be an essential endeavour that would assist in the realization of the societal goals recognized in the Yukon Education Act. Second, the curriculum underpinning the delivery of education in Yukon schools originates from the British Columbia (BC) Ministry of Education.  BC provincial examinations are also required at the high school level.   As a result, Yukon school principals are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the aforementioned ends of education, as prescribed by the Yukon Education Act, are met using externally generated BC curriculum.  School administrators must therefore reconcile external curricular specifications with the development and implementation of educational programming deemed appropriate at a local level. Facility to do so is provided in the Yukon Education Act (1990): 42(2) Locally developed courses may constitute up to 20 per cent of the educational program offered to any student in a semester or a school year.  This suggests that BC-generated curriculum alone is inadequate to meet the educational needs of Yukon students.  The Yukon Education Act mandates the length of the school year to be 950 instructional hours. Therefore, 20% translates to 190 instructional hours or approximately two months of school. This substantial allotment of time as designated by the Yukon Education Act underscores the import of locally developed curriculum in Yukon schools. Relating this directly to the school principal, Section 169 of the Yukon Education Act further states that it is the duties of the school principal to: (s) ensure that instruction in the school is consistent with the courses of study prescribed pursuant to this Act; and,  (t) include in the activities of the school, cultural heritage traditions and practices of members of the community served by the school if the number of members who possess the cultural heritage so warrant;   53  Based upon this section of the Act, BC-based curriculum deployed in Yukon schools and locally developed programs must therefore compete with each other for adequate exposure in Yukon schools.  Specific to the praxis of Yukon school principals, they are therefore situated at intersection of locally developed programming and BC curriculum.  The responsibility rests on them to direct the educational activities of the school to make certain that BC curriculum is adequately delivered in Yukon schools while concurrently ensuring that this programming is culturally relevant to students and the community. As a result, a number of questions emerge:  How do principals determine the amount of time and extent to which locally developed programming is delivered in their schools? Which factors mediate their professional judgment in ensuring that the instructional requirements of the Yukon Education Act are met with the deployment of BC school curriculum while concurrently ensuring that cultural heritage traditions are adequately present in their schools? Maxcy (1991) illuminates the tensions which as a result can arise in the interstitial space existing between large organizations and policies and the individual educational leader in their school, stating: It is precisely the complex nature of organizations and the ways in which missions are held and implemented that make the leadership-policy question so difficult.  By its very nature, policy regulates larger states of affairs rather than individual behavior: policy involves collectivities of individual persons (organizations) whose interests and needs tend to surmount individual personal interests. (p. 91)  The tensions which arise as a result of individual behavior and broader policy initiatives are evidenced in the Yukon.  For example, similar to the other provinces and territories in Canada, education in the Yukon is a territorial (and not federal) responsibility.  54  The guiding legislation is the Yukon Educational Act (1990) which specifies the territorial administration of education.  Notwithstanding this local responsibility, elected officials, the Yukon educational system, and its employees interface with other provincial jurisdictions and national bodies. The above introduces a second factor affecting non-Indigenous Yukon school principals: As a result of this provincial-federal interface, principals are impacted by the mobility of senior educational officials between the Canadian provinces and territories. This may result in new educational agendas and policies being brought from other jurisdictions directly affecting their praxis.  Examples include the school evaluation model currently employed in the Yukon, originally imported from School District #63 (Saanich) on Vancouver Island by the Yukon Department of Education.   In addition, the document Leadership Standards for Principals and Vice-Principals in British Columbia (BCPVPA, 2006) was circulated to Yukon school administrators by the Department of Education in the fall of 2007. At a time where leadership development takes on heightened importance in light of impending retirements, the possibility exists that the aforementioned BC leadership standards will be relied upon to inform and guide future leadership in the Yukon, despite the cultural, political, governance, and historical differences between BC and the Yukon (Blakesley, 2007). Third, at the Canadian and international levels, external standardized assessment schemes affect the professional practice of Yukon school principals.   Yukon Ministers and Deputy Ministers of education attend the twice-yearly meetings of the Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC), with Deputy Ministers also attending the Association of Canadian Deputy Ministers of Education (ACDME).  CMEC ensures that the country participates in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) educational  55  indicators projects which result in quantitative comparisons between countries.   Policy initiatives of CMEC include the School Achievement Indicators Program (SAIP) and its replacement, the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP).  Nationally, The PCAP program measures student achievement in reading, math, and science as indicators of high school preparation and readiness of 13 year-olds (CMEC, 2007).  Yukon schools participate in these external measures, and as a result, individual principals must devote time and resources to their deployment.  Yukon schools are also included in rankings by the Fraser Institute which compares them to BC schools based in-part upon BC Provincial Exam results, despite the many differences between their respective jurisdictions.  These rankings reflect upon the school, and by extension, the school principal. As a result, external instruments are used to gauge the effectiveness of education in the Yukon in comparison to other jurisdictions.  How a school scores reflects upon the school principal. The implications for non-Indigenous Yukon educational leaders is that they balance the following three demands:  first, they must ensure that BC curriculum is adequately delivered to students within a prescribed school year; second, that locally developed curriculum is designed and implemented, up to 20% of the aforementioned school year in order to ensure cultural relevance to students, and third; they must deploy external indicators deemed suitable for all Canadian children as a measure of academic achievement despite a shorter timeframe in which to do so.   Clearly, the intersection of the local exigencies of Yukon education, external educational policies and curriculum, coupled with broader Canadian initiatives results in weighty and competing demands which the Yukon principal must endeavour to reconcile.  This leads to the following question: how do Yukon school principals determine the allocation of instructional time in light of such competing educational, policy, and cultural factors?  56  The implementation of educational policies can lead to tensions or contradictions in practice which Patterson & Marshall (2001) refer to as “policy paradoxes” (p. 372).  They surface the apparent irony of granting more autonomy and local control of schools while concurrently employing standardized accountability mechanisms.  In the Yukon such a paradox arises when schools are given the ability to employ locally-developed curriculum yet are assessed using large-scale standardized tests.  Leithwood (2001) further offers an example pertaining to school principals working in site-based management environments. While a goal of such an initiative may be to make schools more responsive to learning needs, principals spend more time addressing budgetary concerns than they give attention to curriculum and instruction. In response to such paradoxes, Patterson and Marshall pose the following question which has application to non-Indigenous school principals in Indigenous Yukon contexts: “How do educators responsible for serving students...manage these pressures and conflicting directives?” (p. 372).   At a community and school level, Berger, Epp, &Moller (2006) underscore the “cultural clash” which occurs when northern and Indigenous cultures and educational policies encounter one another.  In a similar manner, non- Indigenous Yukon school principals must navigate the distinct differences between language, curriculum, pedagogical practices grounded in western or southern conceptions of instruction and learning, and the extent to which they are culturally relevant. Community conceptions of time, punctuality, and attendance can contrast with the mandated structure of the school day and school year, resulting in tension or conflict between school principals, students, and parents. Non-Indigenous school principals in Yukon contexts must deal with these contradictions as part of their daily practice, though it is currently not understood how they may attempt to do so.  57  Professional and educational trajectories  Non-Indigenous educational leaders in Yukon contexts bring with them a wide range of external post-secondary experiences to their praxis.  While post-secondary education may be presented as a preferred qualification on Department of Education job postings for principals, as in my own case, it is not a required condition at the time of appointment.  This therefore has resulted in a Yukon school principal workforce constituted by individuals possessing credentials ranging from solely a Bachelor of Education degree, to magisterial degrees, to some who are working towards or already possess doctoral-level qualifications. A factor limiting the attainment of post-secondary educational leadership credentials resides in the fact that the Yukon does not offer post-secondary programs specific to educational leadership development, despite the findings of Bush and Glover‟s (2004) meta-analysis of leadership development literature which indicated: “Leadership development should be based firmly within participants‟ leadership contexts” (p. 4).  As a result, non-Indigenous Yukon school leaders bring to their practice a diversity of backgrounds and beliefs regarding what may constitute educational leadership from their engagement in a wide range of post-secondary programs external to the Yukon.  This has serious implications for educational leadership in the Yukon:  post-secondary educational leadership development therefore does not take into account the distinct Yukon context. New principals in the Yukon would thus have no greater understanding of the epistemic foundations of Yukon-based educational leadership as a result of post-secondary educational leadership development.  Further, the absence of any locally-situated  58  educational leadership programming largely precludes the opportunity for research leading to greater understanding of educational leadership in Yukon contexts. In the Yukon, there exists only one Indigenous principal, appointed to a very small rural school in 2007.    This person has been teaching for approximately 5 years and has not currently pursued any post-secondary educational leadership development.   Should a person in such a position wish to pursue such development, the absence of any locally- grounded educational leadership program, paradoxically, necessitates that they leave the Yukon to engage in coursework.  It is reasonable to assume that any such external programming would not take into account the specific educational, cultural, linguistic, political, and historic contexts of the Yukon. Further, there are currently no attempts to develop a locally grounded educational leadership development program which would articulate an epistemic framework of educational leadership in the Yukon.    This effectively diminishes the opportunity for the development of either future Indigenous or non-Indigenous educational leaders who can ground and locate their practice in ways relevant to Yukon education. The diversity and incoherence of educational leadership university programs is indicated in the Fostering Tomorrow’s Educational Leaders report (Stack et al, 2006).  In its detailed examination of post-secondary educational leadership and administration (ELA) with a specific focus on the BC-based, American, and on-line programs accessible to BC educators, the report identified a range of factors, each indicating significant diversity in the way that ELA programs are designed, staffed, and delivered to both prospective and current educational leaders. The distinct areas of difference included a range of areas which will be outlined briefly below.  59  First, ELA programs showed significant variances, with the total credit hours ranging from 18 to 54 credits.   They employ wide range of delivery modes, from on-line offerings, to cohort models and programs with greater student-to-student and student-to- faculty interaction.  Particular elements also appeared under exposed in ELA programs. For example, little attention appeared to be given to the moral and intellectual dimensions of educational leadership. Specific to Indigenous conceptions of educational leadership, the Deans of Education who participated in the research for this report made comments such as “not much is being done to offer programs in Indigenous education” (p. 35).  Another program coordinator stated that while they had no Indigenous students, they did have “Caucasian folks who have worked with reserves” (p. 35).  Thus, students of ELA programs graduate without specific thought or exposure given to issues related to educational leadership from Indigenous perspectives or Indigenous contexts. Secondly, ELA programs state a wide range of goals, and there appeared “no widely accepted definition of leadership and no consensus on how to develop it or foster it” (Stack et al., 2006, p. 23). The aims and ends of ELA programs varied greatly across the programs studied in this report.  Further, the globalization and Americanization of programs further obscure gaining clarity regarding the declared educational ends of the programs available to BC educators, and by extension, those in the Yukon. This identified incoherence of ELA programs raises concern in light of the re- population of the Yukon educational leadership workforce due to impending retirements. Currently, it remains unclear the extent to which the professional education of non- Indigenous Yukon school principals influences how they think about educational leadership and practice it.   The aforementioned underexposure of Aboriginal education by  60  these programs raises further concerns regarding the suitability and applicability of these programs to the preparation of non-Indigenous Yukon school principals. These factors therefore combine to indicate the following:  if you are an Indigenous school principal from the Yukon, then you are likely not to have engaged in any locally grounded program on educational leadership; if you are a non-Indigenous Yukon school principal, then it is more likely that you have engaged in post-secondary development programs which have no particular understanding of the Yukon and/or of its Indigenous contexts. This further indicates that there is no Yukon-based attempt to articulate an epistemic framework for educational leadership, leaving the understanding of educational leadership for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous principals unclear. Identity Clarke (2009) presents the concept of identity with respect to teachers as one that is marked by a growing body of research, suggesting that,  “the trend towards employing identity as a conceptual tool in teacher education has been paralleled by an increasing emphasis on identity in education generally” (p. 185). But, what is meant by the term „identity‟ in relation to the constructions of professional notions of educational leadership?  Clarke (2009) offers the following definition which is germane to this study:  "Identity references individuals' knowledge and naming of themselves, as well as others' recognition of themselves as a particular sort of person" (p. 186). With respect to the self and experience, he further posits that, “Identities are formed at the nexus of the individual and the social” (p. 189).   With respect to the identities of the non-Indigenous principals, Clarke‟s assertion draws into question how the  61  participants in this study may reconstruct their respective selves and define their role in relation to schooling and the larger social contexts in which they operate. Murphy (2007) points to the marginalization of practice with respect to educational leadership.  If practice is indeed informed by the identity of the leader, identity may then be marginalized in university education programs as a result of the emphasis placed on the teaching of management and administrative aspects. He describes the education of school administrators in the following manner:  “…prospective school leaders have been largely miseducated because universities, especially research universities, have constructed their programs with raw materials acquired from the warehouse of academe. In the meantime, they have marginalized practice” (p. 583).   Thus, identity does not appear to be considered by those who study leadership or expound upon it as one vitally important pillar of an interconnected triad comprised of theory, practice in context, and the individual. In summary, the convergence of external policies with the Yukon context, coupled with the incoherence of the formal developmental experiences of educational leaders, raise specific questions regarding how these factors shape the manner in which non-Indigenous Yukon principals construct their professional identities, construe their meaning of educational leadership, and enact their professional practice in the distinct Yukon context. The extent to which external policies and diverse educational leadership development shapes how non-Indigenous Yukon educational leaders construe and enact their practice currently remains unknown.     62  Intersections of gender, ethnicity and class and non-Indigenous constructions of educational leadership within Indigenous contexts  While the above review establishes the need for more sensitive studies that would examine how non-Indigenous educational leaders act within Indigenous contexts, there are very few studies which provide insights into the complexities involved.  Many questions arise at this junction:  How do non-Indigenous educational leaders perceive and construct themselves in relation to their practice and to the Indigenous communities they serve given their own background, as men or women and affiliated with different ethnic and social class groups? In what ways does their location as non-Indigenous actors – along gender, class and ethnic lines -- inform their sense of purpose and the way they address the tensions embedded in their practice?  Answering these and related questions requires a broader discussion of the intersections between gender and ethnicity of non-Indigenous educational leaders and how these intersections shape  their visions, understandings and actions within Indigenous contexts. Gender The term gender refers not just to identity but also to “the symbolic level, to cultural ideals and stereotypes of masculinity and femininity and, at the structural level, to the sexual division of labour in institutions and organizations” (Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, 2004, p. 240). Dickson et al. (2003) affirm that “[r]esearch has shown that successful managers are stereotypically viewed as more similar to men than to women on attributes considered critical to effective work performance, such as leadership ability, self- confidence, ambition, assertiveness, and forcefulness” (p. 745). This is further illustrated by the work of Trinidad & Normore (2004) who observe that “[r]ecognizing women‟s styles of leadership represents an important approach to equity as long as they are not  63  stereotyped as “the” ways women lead but as „other‟ ways of leading” (p. 575). However, Fitzgerald (2003) seems to disagree when he states that studies of gender specific to women‟s ways of knowing are based on the debatable premise that women as educational leaders “form a collective identity based on their gender and the sharing of common experiences and struggles” (p. 432).  The end result is a homogenization of women‟s voices and their essentialization. With regard to the intersectionality of gender and educational leadership in Canada, Young (1994) indicates a historical absence: Whereas scholarship on educational administration in this country has for over a decade incorporated “Canadian” and “education” as dimensions of our knowledge base, gender is still hardly acknowledged as an issue.  Given the power of many educational administrators to define or influence educational agendas in many settings, this is a serious omission. (p. 352)  While Young‟s assertion extends back 15 years, it serves as foundational to the more recent assertion by Coleman (2003) who suggests that little progress has been made, referring to the orthodoxy of male educational leadership:   In the world of education, where women tend to numerically predominate, it is easy to assume that the sex of the individual is irrelevant to the holding of authority. However, findings from research that I undertook in the latter half of the 1990s show that this is far from the case, and that the identification of leadership with men and a male stereotype of leadership in education, as elsewhere, is still the underlying norm. (p. 327)  In her studies of educational leadership in South African contexts, Chisholm (2001) argues that while women have dominated the educational profession as teachers, in contrast, educational administration is predominantly a male-centric domain where leadership is associated with “masculinity, rationality, and whiteness” (p.  387).  Her research, conducted in the Gauteng Department of Education, identifies two particular aspects specific to the construct of leadership:  the “colour of competence” and “gender of  64  competence” (p.  398), First, competence of colour in relation to leadership is described as: “The construct of leadership as „competence‟ came in the form of „colour‟; its obverse was clearly „bad‟ or „weak‟ „leadership‟, „weak leadership‟ itself constructed by its opposite as „incompetent‟ and „black‟” (p. 389). Second, competence was also identified in its relationship to gender:  „Competence‟ was bound up with notions of masculinity, control, and performance. „Incompetence‟ and „weakness‟ were, by contrast, associated with femininity, lack of assertiveness and performance.  This discourse co-existed with real men and women who did not conform to its assumptions and indeed contradicted it. (p. 389)  Comparing English and Singaporean female secondary school head teachers (principals), Morriss, Tin, & Coleman (1999) illustrate the effects gendered perspectives have upon how leaders perceive, construct, and define themselves. Stereotypes of gender identified by English head teachers fall along the following lines or attributes similar to those described by Chisholm (2001).   Masculine attributes are predominantly typified as “evaluative, disciplined, and objective”, and feminine attributes were identified as “caring, creative, intuitive, and aware of individual differences” (Morriss, Tin, & Coleman, 1999, p. 194).  Indicating how these stereotypical conceptions of gender extend across cultural lines in this comparative, Singaporean female head teachers indicated much the same, expressing female attributes as “caring, humane, intuitive, and aware of individual differences”, and those of males as “evaluative, disciplined, objective, competitive, and formal” (p. 194).  While the gender stereotypes of the female head teachers were similar in nature between the two identified cultures, in practice they selected a wide range of the aforementioned attributes, extending across both gender paradigms.  The researchers argue that successful leaders do not rely upon one form of locked-in behavior or approaches, but instead rely upon a broad array of skills and attributes employed in a participatory manner.  65  Offering a representative example, head teachers may at times be democratic in their practice and autocratic at others, though will not totally rely upon only one form of practice.  This conclusion finds support in Strachan‟s (1999) work in New Zealand. She argues that “feminist educational leadership includes but goes beyond being woman centered and embraces a wider political agenda that is anti-racist as well as anti-sexist” (Joyce, 1987, Gosettie & Rusch, 1995, in Strachan, 1999, p. 310).  In her research, Strachan concludes that the leadership practices of the three women educators she studied focused on “social justice, sharing power, and the ethic of care” (p. 312), though there were the personal costs of stress, increased workload, and isolation from family and friends attached to the implementation of a feminist educational leadership agenda. Each of the women involved in the research project by Strachan (1999) described and engaged in their own “alternative theory of educational leadership” (p. 321).  This is described in the following manner: “They were not just passively responding to the demands imposed by the educational bureaucracies, the school context and the school community.  Their practice was characterized by its diversity, shifting nature, its flexibility, its creativity, its emotive quality, the dominant role played by their personal value system and the school context….There is no prescription for successful educational leadership” (p. 321). If Strachan‟s assertion is indeed the case and school principals do develop and engage in alternative leadership theories and practices outside of prescribed ones, then how would this dynamic be reflected among non-Indigenous women educators working in Indigenous Yukon contexts, given the intersection of gender and culture?  First, the distribution of male and female school administrators is worthy of note, particularly in light of the distinction between rural and urban contexts.  It may be that all schools in the Yukon could be viewed as rural and isolated when viewed through a southern Canadian  66  lens.  This view notwithstanding, in the Territory itself, delineation is made between urban schools located in the capital city Whitehorse and the rural schools located in smaller communities outside of this one major center.  An examination of school administrator distribution by gender results in the following breakdown:  Of the 15 urban Whitehorse schools, 5 schools are led by female principals and there are 6 female vice-principals.  In contrast, in the 14 rural schools located throughout the Territory, 3 schools have female principals and there is only one female vice-principal.  These figures indicate that there is a substantially higher concentration of female school administrators in urban areas. Conversely there is a predominantly male rural administrative complement, presenting as a dominance of male-centric educational leadership in rural and isolated Indigenous communities. Hence, when exploring how non-Indigenous leaders construct, enact, and identify themselves as educational leaders in Indigenous contexts, one is bound to ask how does this gendered urban-rural distinction in the Yukon shape their perceptions?  Upon further consideration, additional questions emerge. What power configurations underpin this gendered spatial distribution and how does it impact the relationship between educational leaders and Indigenous communities? To what extent, if at all, do non-Indigenous principals in Yukon Indigenous settings identify gender attributes extending across gendered leadership paradigms?  What factors motivate their choices in doing so?   In what ways do non-Indigenous educational leaders possess and critically employ judgment, defined by Coulter & Wiens (2002) as “an amalgam of knowledge, virtue, and reason that enables people to decide what to do” (p. 16) in order to guide their practice within Indigenous community contexts?  In raising these questions, the present study offers space for the voices of non-Indigenous female educational leaders working in Indigenous  67  contexts in broadening the understanding of how they construe their professional identity and practice. Ethnicity Relating ethnicity and leadership specifically to this research project, the Yukon educational system can perhaps be described as a “patchwork quilt” made up of a diverse, yet loosely stitched collection of culturally, linguistically, and contextually distinctive pieces. A similar observation can be made of the backgrounds of Yukon school administrators, a diverse cadre of individuals with diverse educational experiences and qualifications.  Their individual ethnicities are as distinct as their schools and the communities in which they live. Individual personal histories include, though are not limited to, roots extending to Ireland, France, central Europe, and England.  Many, including the researcher, are Canadian-born and have practiced in other distinct regions of the country- the Maritimes, Quebec, the Prairies, and the West.  In addition to this geographic diversity, each brings a diverse and varied personal background. It should be noted that while much of the non-Indigenous Canadian national fabric is represented by them, there exists a relative absence of Indigenous Yukon school administrators. Only one school principal and one vice-principal are of Yukon First Nations descent. If educational leadership, as Hallinger & Leithwood (1995) postulate, is culturally influenced, then the issue of ethnicity must be drawn in to sharper focus specific to this research project.  The construct of ethnicity can be defined in the following way: “Individuals who consider themselves, or are considered by others, to share common characteristics that differentiate them from the other collectivities in a society, and from which they develop their distinctive cultural behavior form an ethnic group” (Oxford  68  Dictionary of Sociology, 2004, p. 197).  Two questions arise here, with regard to non- Indigenous educators working in the Yukon: First, how does the intersection between ethnicity and indigeneity inform how non-Indigenous educators‟ construct their professional identity, their perceptions, and their subjectivities? Second, how does it shape the educational and administrative strategies of non-Indigenous principals who work in Indigenous environments?  The criticality of ethnicity in the influence and determination of who one is as a leader within a particular culture or context is identified by Dickson et al. (2003) who describe the decline of universal principles of leadership with a subsequent focus on the differences between cultures, including “…leadership traits, characteristics, and relationships that conform to or can be explained by the various cultural dimensions” (p. 734).  One basis for this expanded focus is their recognition that leadership theory is predominated by an American bias, thereby increasing the interest in the broader range of cultural dimensions discernable in leadership across non-western models.  To substantiate this assertion, Dickson et al. rely upon research by Mellahi (2000) which indicated that MBA programs in the UK neglect Indigenous leadership values, thereby creating the perception on the part of students within such programs that such values outside of the predominant American view are insignificant. Specific to the Yukon context, we do not know the ways and extent to which non- Indigenous principals working in Indigenous contexts construe, construct, or otherwise perceive Indigenous culture along ethnic lines.  Given the dearth of educational leadership research specific to northern Canadian contexts more broadly, the examination of educational leadership, broadened to include the influence of the ethnicity of both  69  educational leaders and followers holds promise as a means of expanding how leadership is conceived and enacted in Yukon contexts.  Despite the promising assertion by Hallinger & Leithwood (1996) regarding the role of culture as a construct in leadership, they echo the sentiments expressed in reference to the neglect of the inclusion of Indigenous leadership values, stating: “Consequently, we find few modern discussions of leadership and administration grounded in non-Western cultural contexts” (p. 101).  Linking this assertion to the study conducted in the cross-cultural contexts of the Paheka (non- Indigenous New Zealanders) and Pacific Islanders, Chong & Thomas (1997) reinforce this perspective by stating: “Effective interaction between leaders and followers in organizations may be influenced by the ethnic identity of both the leader and the follower. However, traditional leadership theories only offer limited help in understanding this relationship” (p. 276).  This suggests that leaders and followers of diverse cultural backgrounds may therefore be guided by different, perhaps conflicting prototypes of leadership.  Variations in behavioural expectations of the other, communication style, the level of belief in the causal influence of leadership, and satisfaction with leaders and leadership may reinforce tensions between and amongst leaders and followers (Chong & Thomas, ibid).  Relating their assertions to this research project, how leaders perceive themselves and others, upon which foundations they establish their values, their habitus or dispositions of thought and behavior, and the very language they employ appear strongly based on their cultural background. Conversely, how they are perceived by those around them is influenced in a reciprocal manner. Yet, the manner and degree to which this is the case in the Yukon context is at present, unknown and further justifies the need for detailed research.  70  School effectiveness has often been based upon student achievement on standardized tests, but these data have not taken into account the achievement of minority ethnic groups.  The frustrations emerging as a result of the dearth of literature specific to multi-ethnic contexts is perhaps best expressed by the voice of the following head teacher: There is so much stuff written about what makes an effective school but virtually nothing about multi-ethnic contexts.  I mean, there are something like 30 languages spoken in this school, and probably as many cultural backgrounds.  What does one actually do to make the school effective for all pupils in the face of such diversity? (Blair, 2002, p. 181)   Perhaps intended to address the concern evocatively expressed above, the UK- based National College for School Leadership commissioned a report titled Priorities, strategies, and challenges: Proactive leadership in multi-ethnic schools (Walker, 2004). This report explicitly states both the promise of building more equitable and socially just societies through educational leadership in schools systems, coupled with the seemingly insurmountable challenges relating specifically to educational leadership in multi-ethnic contexts.   Reinforcing the tensions identified by Blair (2002), Walker (2004) affirms: “The challenges are frightening because they confront prejudice, injustice, and historical conceptions that are so profoundly entrenched in the fabric of our systems that they often appear insurmountable” (p. 3). The challenges outlined above relate specifically to non-Indigenous Yukon principals in that they too face them in their daily practice, particularly when a large percentage of children that attend rural schools are of Indigenous heritage and they, predominantly, are not.  The Yukon educational context continues to be challenged by the lingering residue of resentment and mistrust resulting from the historic dislocation, dispossession, attempted extinguishment of native languages, in the attempt to assimilate  71  Indigenous people and cultures by residential schools.  As the lead representative of a government-run school, a white non-Indigenous principal can still be viewed as the embodiment or agent of the fallout of this disturbingly destructive legacy, yet be unaware of how they may be perceived.  It can take many years of living, working, and raising a family in rural Yukon contexts for trust to be established - if it ever is.   Transposing the question above by Blair (2002) to the Yukon frame, just what does a non-Indigenous principal in an Indigenous context do to make their school a welcoming and open place for students, parents, and community members, while concurrently ensuring their school is “effective” as measured by external yardsticks? Speaking from direct personal experience, the tensions experienced by non- Indigenous principals in Indigenous settings are most certainly not trifling ones when framed in this manner.  A newly appointed, well-intentioned non-Indigenous principal may operate on the premise that the dominant focus of their practice is to address academic achievement. In shaping their beliefs and actions in this way, they may inadvertently isolate themselves from the community through a lack of unawareness of the community‟s valued ends of education for their children and achievement which may be defined as much by cultural values as academic ones.  This then raises particular questions: What does it mean to be an effective leader in the absence of a specific reference point; how do you know if you are effective and why; what does one do to be effective in a multiplicity of ways? Is this stated absence of ethnic considerations also prevalent in Canadian educational contexts?  I argue that they most certainly are, specifically in the case of non- Indigenous perceptions of Indigenous communities and societies.  Underscoring this lack of understanding, research conducted in Innut communities by Ryan (1989) identifies the  72  inability of educational systems to accommodate the cultural differences of their Indigenous students and presents the following challenge to educational researchers: Only by establishing links between those social practices that pervade Western society and everyday life in Native communities and schools, can we begin to capture the complexities involved in seeking out not only explanations of, but solutions to, the problems in Native education.  (Ryan, 1989, p. 382)  Ryan employs Foucault‟s notion of “normalization” or the employment of perpetual observation, evaluation, documentation, and disciplining in order to achieve conformity to non-Innu or Western standards.  This presents as a direct contradiction to the stance taken by Hampton (1995) who counters this drive to achieve Indigenous conformity with Western notions, stating: If Native nations are to have engineers, managers, business people, natural resource specialists and all the other experts we need to meet non-Indians on equal terms, then we must have educational leadership that makes mathematics, science, and computers accessible to our students. (p. 6)  The key distinction to be made here is the focus on equal terms in direct contrast to a drive to achieve assimilated conformity.  This places the non-Indigenous school administrator clearly at the crux of the intersection of the historic goals of the educational system and the self-determining goals of Indigenous societies and communities (particularly in the land claims settlement environment that is the Yukon) to be self- sufficient and sustaining, both economically and culturally. Arriving at this junction prompts the following question:  How do non-Indigenous school principals perceive both themselves as educational leaders and their communities at this intersection, all the while managing such a complexity of tensions, divergent goals, and conflicting agendas?    73  Class The inclusion and scrutiny of social class is important to this research project in that it recognizes Knapp & Wolverton‟s (1995) assertion that class is a hidden factor that is foundational to understanding how schools work.  The intersection and importance of social class is underscored in their review of social class and schooling literature.  From their perspective, they argue that: We embark on this review in full recognition that social class is hard- perhaps impossible in some respects- to disentangle from other categorical social descriptors such as race, ethnicity, and gender; from culture (viewed as a set of shared meanings held by social groups); and from ideology (the system of values and beliefs to which societies subscribe and that serve as a justification for actions). (p. 548)  Two predominant views hold specific to the relationship of schooling and social class.  The first is that schools serve as a social equalizer which diminishes class distinctions.  While ideologically sound, this is not reflected in the second view that the reality is that schools and schooling reinforce class distinctions in that they hierarchically order children in ways that support and reflect what is considered socially good by society. Employing a functionalist perspective to make this point, schools strive to produce the best and brightest learners to take their place in the labour market.  School thus takes on the role of social sieve or filter of human talent, promoting those with higher cognitive abilities to receive the training required to take on high-paying and high status positions. If, as Zeichner & Gere (1990) argue, educators do bring class-based sensibilities to their work, this raises the question as to the extent to which class mediates the perceptions of non-Indigenous educational leaders.   More specifically, to what extent does the intersection of self-perception, perceptions of their students, and the community in which they reside intercede in the construction and practice of educational leadership?  If, as  74  previously stated, the majority of educational leaders in the Yukon bring a diversity of backgrounds and experiences, to what extent do class-based perceptions determine for them the “rules of engagement” (Whitty, 2001)?  This may serve to shed light on the incongruence between community culture and/or reconcile tensions and dissonance between the valued ends of education, however defined.  In this vein, to what extent do social class incongruities take on an assumption of deficit, thereby shaping and determining the experiences of children in schools and their academic and social placement?  In light of Knapp & Woolverton‟s (1995) position that “lower-class children frequently lack the “cultural capital” that is valued in schools” (p. 559), shedding light on the extent to which educational leaders‟ perceptions of social class shapes the very sociology of education in the Yukon warrants thoughtful and concerted examination. To summarize, this subsection has identified a number of concerns specific to the way that educational leadership is thought about, understood, researched, and developed, raising a number of issues impacting how non-Indigenous principals may conceive of and enact educational leadership in Indigenous contexts. The gravity of these effects is not to be underestimated, given, as previously stated, that the vast majority of Yukon Indigenous children will go to schools where the principal and teachers are predominantly non- Indigenous.   First, the limitations and conceptual vagueness of educational leadership are reinforced by a history which has generated a shaky and incoherent epistemological foundation.  This neither serves to inform non-Indigenous educational leaders in Indigenous contexts nor offer them a contextually relevant base upon which to situate their professional identities, beliefs, and practice. Second, the aspects of culture, ethnicity, gender, and class, have heretofore remained in the margins of Western educational thought and research.  These aspects further serve to blur and complicate how educational  75  leadership may both be construed and enacted by practitioners and academics alike, the continuing conceptual vagueness afflicting educational leadership development programs at post-secondary institutions. In response to the under-examined diversity and richness of the educational leadership domain, the relevancy of context, coupled with the aforementioned conceptual vagueness, has precipitated policy initiatives on the part of governments and professional associations endeavouring to bring definition, order and coherency to the field and to the development of school leaders.  This has been attempted through the isolation of „best practices‟, standardization, and the subsequent policy initiatives mandating that they be stretched across diverse contexts. The inadequacy of such efforts, and their resultant narrowing of the educational leadership, i