By Kimberly Strand
Students from the Spring 2010 "Integrative Leadership: From Theory to Practice" course, taught by Professors Jay Kiedrowski and Paul Vaaler, will post their reflections on integrative leadership throughout the course of the semester on the Time to Lead blog.
American Indian people have struggled to connect with the new American culture since first contact with new EuroAmericans. This relationship, at times, has been respectful, but often has been contentious. The worst actions were when the American government had policies to displace and kill American Indian people. This action was carried out so the new immigrants could take their land and their resources. The new government created an unfamiliar, unsafe environment for American Indian people. We have
struggled to be a part of it, yet have some control over our own people, governments and organizations. This struggle is evident today, as we have some of the highest proportion of social ills of all society. Our communities are often are like 3rd world countries, and many of our reservations have 60% unemployment, and the highest rates of suicide and health problems in all of America. The outcome of genocide toward a people, created historical trauma, and depressed communities, and we must improve
American Indian people have their own form of legal governments, yet they must work with the Federal state and local government. Their rights are often above state government, since they were before state, yet tribes must often fulfill Federal regulations. They have more authority than local city or county governments. They do not tax land for their operating income and have creatively started bingo halls and casino's to bring in money to pay for infrastructure needs of the people. This money flows from Tribal businesses to schools, government operations, and social needs
organizations. In order to operate on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis our leaders have always used integrative leadership. The more effectively we can lead across cultural and organizational boundaries the more effective we can become to meet the challenges we have as communities.