An exploration and comparison of the critical factors that have influenced Native North Americans on journeys into leadership

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Kraske, William Victor
Indians; North America; Indigenous peoples; Christian leadership; Christianity; Missions and World Christianity
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Though Native North Americans today retain a rich cultural/worldview heritage, societal and personal dysfunction are prevalent in Native North American life. This dysfunction has significantly impacted the health and quality of life for many Native North Americans. Healthy reputable Native leaders emerge, however, in spite of these obstacles. This study assumed that there are critical factors that have motivated and empowered these leaders on their journeys into leadership. It is worth identifying these factors so that others may be empowered for indigenous leadership. This study explored the influences that have motivated and empowered or hindered these Native North Americans on their journeys into leadership. Thirty-eight leaders from diverse locations in North America participated in this grounded theory study, responding to open ended questions concerning their journeys into leadership. Transcriptions of interviews and e-mail responses were content analyzed. Several factors emerged from this analysis, many defining the way Native North American leaders view life. This view was defined by an altruistic vision, a sense of connection to something or someone(s) larger then the leader, an active approach to life, and a belief in one‘s personal ability. These gave rise to the Native Leader Life Circle, a model of a life of Native North American leadership. Attention was also given to a comparison of the factors reported by leaders with evangelical and non-evangelical belief systems, in largely monocultural or bicultural leadership roles. As a result of this study it is evident that those in mentoring or ministry roles may be able to facilitate the development of future leaders by helping them build personal histories of experiences living in the Native Leader Life Circle, especially when the circle is impacted by the Gospel.