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A Call for Indigenous Leadership – Feed the Good Wolf     February 15, 2016

One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.  The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, which wolf will win? The old chief simply replied, the one you feed.
Those with “‘titles” and especially those without one, you have a daily opportunity to feed the good wolf.  Just watch your hands. For some people, it’s been awhile since the good wolf has been fed and it’s hungry.

Value Based Leadership & Traditional Values          May 2, 2016

A lot has been written when it comes to leadership and specifically Value Based Leadership. The focus of Value Based Leadership is on who we are and how we behave rather than the positional power we hold.
It’s all about aligning your own values with shared values to create behaviours that drive performance. When it comes to Indigenous values, the values that have been shared with me are tied to the seven grandfather teachings. Each community has adapted the teachings to suit their community values.  Despite where the teachings may have originated, they share the same concepts of abiding by a moral respect for all living things. They are as follows;

Humility - Dbaadendiziwin: Humility is represented by the wolf.  For the wolf, life is lived for his pack and the ultimate shame is to be outcast. Humility is about living life selflessly and not selfishly.  Respect your place and carry your pride with your people and praise the accomplishments of all.

Love - Zaagidwin: The eagle that represents love because he has the strength to carry all the teachings.  The eagle has the ability to fly highest and closest to the creator and also has the sight to see all the ways of being from great distances.  The Eagle's teaching of love can be found in the core of all teachings, therefore an eagle feather is considered the highest honour and a sacred gift.

Respect - Mnaadendimowin: Respect is represented by the buffalo.  The buffalo gives every part of his being to sustain the human way living, not because he is of less value, but because he respects the balance and needs of others. To honour all creation is to have respect
Live honourably in teachings and in your actions towards all things.  Do not waste and be mindful of the balance of all living things.  Share and give away what you do not need.  Treat others the way you would like to be treated.  Do not be hurtful to yourself or others.

Bravery - Aakwa'ode'ewin: Bravery is represented by the bear.  The mother bear has the courage and strength to face her fears and challenges while protecting her young.  The bear also shows us how to live a balanced life with rest, survival and play. Bravery is about facing life with courage to do the right thing. Find your inner strength to face the difficulties of life and the courage to be yourself.

Honesty - Gwekwaadziwin: Honesty is represented by either the raven or the sabe.  They both understand who they are how to walk in their life.  The Raven reminds us to be ourselves and not someone we are not. An honest person is said to walk tall like a Raven. The Raven accepts himself and knows how to use his gift. He does not seek the power, speed or beauty of others. He uses what he has been given to survive and thrive.

Wisdom - Nbwaakaawin: The beaver represents wisdom because he uses his natural gift wisely for his survival.  The beaver also alters his environment in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way for the benefit of his family. To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.

Use your inherent gifts wisely and live your life by them.  Recognize your differences and those of others in a kind and respectful way.  Continuously observe all things around you.  Listen with clarity and a sound mind.  Respect your own limitations and those of all of your surroundings.  Allow yourself to learn and live by your wisdom.

Truth - Debwewin: Truth is represented by the turtle as he was here during creation of Earth and carries the teachings of life on his back.  The turtle lives life in a slow and meticulous manner, because he understands the importance of both the journey and the destination. Truth is to know all of these things.

Apply faith and trust in your teachings.  Show honour and sincerity in all that you say and do.  Understand your place in this life and apply that understanding in the way that you walk.  Be true to yourself and all other things.

Value Based Leadership is about taking your values and having them shape your beliefs which in turn drive your behaviours. We do not require a title to be a leader. Great leaders to do two things consistently;

1.      Put people first
2.      Help them succeed.

As Indigenous people, our values and teachings should be our foundation for how we live and co-exist with one another. If not, these teachings may as well as be a grocery list where wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth are replaced by chicken, eggs, apples, oranges, bread, fish, and tomatoes. 


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