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;
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.
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.
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
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;
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.