Native women have to balance their college education with their active participation in tribal issues and their families. Often time native women are challenging the status quo by leaving the reservation and obtaining a college degree. In fact, many native women are directed to vocational schools by school counselors.
Native spirituality is described as being part of something greater than oneself that gives purpose and meaning to life. Often native women incorporate elements of the Christian faith into their spiritual practices as well as their tribal traditional spiritual beliefs and practices that were handed down through their own families.
Prayer is a powerful element of traditional tribal practices in daily life. Tribal people offer prayer and prayer songs that call the salmon home for spawning. The grandmothers offer prayer and thankfulness before they dig camas and roots or pick huckleberries.
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Men say a prayer of thanksgiving after taking the life of an elk or deer. Tribal leaders today offer prayer before they begin their council meetings. They may have a sense of loyalty to their Christian religion if it was taught to them by their family elders. Native tribal religions do not have institutional structures comparable to Christian churches Lajimodiere, Native women work to find a balance between the Western way of thinking and their own tribal traditional values.
In reviewing the literature, there is a recurring theme that native women are living in two worlds. Many tribes place value on obtaining an education so that they can have success in mainstream culture. Tribal females do not have to sacrifice their indigenous cultural practices in order to find success and defined by a European dominant society.
One major consideration is the tribal organizational framework of working together in cooperation versus one of competition. For many American Indians our cultural identity is based on our tribal membership, extended family and community.
Native women find their pathway to leadership with two different worldviews. Although native women work to advance in their careers, individual achievement is not their primary focus. They are often promoted when they are working hard to achieve projects for betterment of their tribal communities. Native women must be able to work in two worlds with different expectations. Some native women are taught to be reserved in their culture and not to speak up. Other native women come from generations of strong Indian women that served as interpreters for chiefs or advised tribal councils.
The contrasting worldview of Anglo dominant society is a linear orientation to problem solving that proceeds in a straight line as the most efficient way to get from one place to another. Anglo organizational structures have been imposed on tribal communities. Tribal governments and tribal enterprises have adopted Anglo organizational charts and work norms of mainstream America.
Some mainstream American values like assertiveness and competition clash with traditional tribal culture. However, many tribal traditions continue alongside Anglo work norms. The previous description of tribal council leaders beginning meetings with a prayer of thanksgiving and of guidance and direction for decisions made and work that will be done is an example of this. Native women living in two worlds can choose personal values from both worlds and define themselves through experiences from their tribal community and the dominant culture.
How a native woman decides to negotiate these two worldviews is part of what creates her individual identity and leadership style. American Indian women are effective in getting things done. Native women leaders would describe their leadership style as more consultative and participatory then holding power and authority in their own position. Muller interviewed a female who held a senior-level position in Navajo government.
Native American religions
She discussed tribal decision-making patterns. She explained that the Navajo value system is a big factor in the decision making process. This is one more example how tribal decision making is different from mainstream America or corporate decision making. Some tribal general council meetings go for days and may go late into the evening if the tribe is deciding something important for the future of the tribe. Usually as an infant in the arms of a loving relative a baby will be brought into the circle. Later, as the child learns the expectation of the circle and has respect for the dance arena, he or she will dance independently from the adult but as part of the tribal community.
Then will lead others to the dance circle. It is also important for native female leaders to mentor other native women. Keating asserts that there is evidence to support the power of women mentoring women. Native women help others in their tribal community and circles to find their gifts. The literature identifies a number of traits that American Indian women exhibit and articulate in leadership roles both within the tribe and in the outside work world. Further leadership skills identified are patience, listening, contemplating the situation, and innovative strategies.
Muller discusses that fact that American Indian women are not raised to be assertive and competitive. American Indian women leaders have identified traits such as statesmanship, humility, grace, determination and decisiveness. Nan discusses leadership as largely culturally oriented, embracing traditional beliefs, norms and values. In , a new approach to leadership was introduced. It is Centered Leadership. This model was developed by interviewing female leaders across the globe to identify the traits that characterized them. These dimensions are defined below:.
This style shares many traits previously identified for American Indian Women. Among these are relationship building, inclusiveness, and collaboration. Sign In. Don't have a World Wisdom ID?
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Native American religions
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