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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Elders’ teachings on indigenous leadership : leadership is a gift Young, Alannah Earl


This qualitative study introduces a variety of considerations to help understand ways in which Indigenous Knowledge broadens the existing dominant views of leadership. Indigenous Elders, as a source of Indigenous Knowledge provide intergenerational leadership through the sharing of their teachings, oral histories and experiences. For this study I examined the culturally relevant Indigenous leadership program that is offered within the non-credit Longhouse Leadership Program (LLP) at the First Nations House of Learning (FNHL) at the University of British Columbia (UBC), taught by Elders, cultural leaders and educators. Through the telling of oral histories, nine Elders and cultural educators who work with the FNHL community shared their views on Indigenous leadership presenting historical examples of Indigenous leadership and recommending pedagogy for the current Longhouse leadership program. Their cultural teachings are resources for Indigenous leadership pedagogy that is transformative. The Elders’ teachings on Indigenous leadership are transformational because they identify and deconstruct colonial structures and support the self determined leadership goals of local communities. The teachings are: knowing the history of the land and educating others; reclaiming culture and living the teachings; culture as a support for individuals, families and communities; leadership as a gift-step forward demonstrating community responsibilities; and wholistic pedagogy all which is transformational when delivered within an anti racism education framework. These teachings are consistent with those found more generally in the academic literature, emphasizing leadership grounded in the cultural teachings that supports living Aboriginal communities and coalition building for change.

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