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Reclaiming American Indian Women Leadership: Indigenous Pathway to Leadership

DOI: 10.4236/ojl.2018.73013, PP. 225-236

Keywords: Authenticity, Leadership Education, Personal Development, Training and Development, American Indian Women, Native Women, Leadership, Indigenous Pathway, Centered Leadership

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There was no identified leadership model for American Indian women leaders. Through an exhaustive review of leadership styles it was identified that the Centered Leadership approach lends itself to the culture of American Indian Women. The components of the Centered Leadership approach include: utilizing personal strengths, managing energy, positive framing, relationship building, and collaborating with others to take advantage of opportunities. Based on the review of the literature and native women’s leadership styles, the concepts of the Centered Leadership Model were utilized to develop “Native Women Leadership: Indigenous Pathway”. Prior to European contact, native women held positions of leadership, shared in decision making and owned property. Today Native women leaders and managers are reclaiming their decision making authority to improve the lives of their nations. The Native Women Indigenous Pathway has not come without barriers and discrimination. The Centered Leadership approach assists in the examination of the American Indian woman’s pathway to decision making. Native women find themselves living in two worlds and must navigate expectations and responsibilities by switching between mainstream American and tribal values. How a native woman decides to negotiate these two worldviews is part of what creates her individual identity and her leadership style. A Native American Leadership Indigenous Pathway model is proposed.


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