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Tribal Leaders Institute: What, who, why & how Erich Longie, Ed.D. Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc An Indian Owned Company Located on Spirit Lake Nation Fort Totten North Dakota 58335.

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Tribal Leaders Institute: What, who, why & howErich Longie, Ed.D.Spirit Lake Consulting, IncAn Indian Owned CompanyLocated on Spirit Lake NationFort TottenNorth Dakota 58335

small business innovation development act of 1992
“The SBIR/STTR Programs are federal initiatives that provide over $2 billion in grants and contracts each year to small and start-up companies to develop new products and services based on advanced technologies.

Over half of the SBIR/STTR awards made each year go to firms with no prior SBIR/STTR experience.”

Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1992
related slc products funded by sbir
Related SLC ProductsFunded by SBIR
  • Spirit Lake Leadership Training Project
  • Tribal Leaders with Character

Tribal Leaders with Character (Phase I)An innovative approach to the problem of character education for tribal communities that combines: 1) knowledge of Native American history, 2) psychological research on effecting pro-social behavior, and 3) technical knowledge of effective computer-based training.

  • Potential benefits to tribal communities are great. Technical objectives focus on proof of the effectiveness of both web-based and computer-integrated training.
  • These include; orientation or continuing education for members of the tribal council, school board, Board of Regents, Gaming Commission, and other elected or appointed offices, and, college courses for majors in business, tribal administration, and related fields.
  • A successful Phase I established a baseline for creation of a product which can be adapted to a variety of uses.
tribal leaders with character phase i cont
Tribal Leaders with Character (Phase I cont)
  • In Phase I, SLC developed the first workshop in a series of workshops. The first workshop titled, “Courageous & Ethical Decision-Making,” was developed and tested from December 2007 through early 2008.
  • This six-hour workshop covered behavior most people will agree is unethical as well as necessary leadership characteristics to develop an ethical system.
tribal leaders with character phase ii includes all nd reservations

Tribal Councils, Board-of-Directors, Advisory/Governing Committees,TERO Commissions.

CEO’s, Executive Directors, Superintendents

Mid-Management Directors and Supervisors

Tribal Workers

Tribal Members


“Why Ethics In Reservation Workplaces”

“Native American Traditional Ethics and Values”

“Ethical Behavior in the Workplace”

“Next Step: Code of Ethics?”

Online ethics course for tribal colleges

Tribal Leaders with Character (Phase II)(Includes all ND Reservations)
the unique position of spirit lake consulting inc
The Unique Position of Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
  • As a consulting company based on the reservation, Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. has a unique insight into the root of reservation problems.
  • SLC has conducted extensive research on successful reservation organizations (Longie, 2005) and on characteristics of tribal families that engender personal responsibility (Rousey & Longie, 2000).
  • SLC has extensive experience researching how incorporation of Native American values characterize successful tribal institutions.

Tribal Leaders With Character (TLC)

Phase I, ended January, 2008.

Phase II, began September, 2008 as the Tribal Leaders Institute.

In the interim SLC collected input from all North Dakota reservations on ethics concerns and maintained an ethics area of the Spirit Lake Forum

since replaced by the Tribal Leaders Council forum


A Sneak Preview


“Courageous and Ethical



Introduction To:

Successful Leadership Through Ethics On Indian Reservations

Historically, Native Americans were known for ethical behavior: They did not lie; they did not steal; they took care of each other’s needs (food, clothing, and shelter).

Present day Native Americans proudly point this out to other Indians and non-Indians alike.

George Catlin was an artist who spent many months living among different Native American tribes. He wrote this about Native American Indians…


George Catlin Creed on the Indians Included These Statements

I love the people who have always made me welcome to the best they had.

I love a people who keep the commandments without ever having read them or heard them preached from the pulpit.

I love a people who never swear, who never take the name of God in vain.

I love a people “who love their neighbors as they love themselves.”

I love the people who have never raised a hand against me, or stolen my property, where there was no law to punish for either.

I love all people who do the best they can. And oh, how I love a people who don’t live for the love of money! (Catlin, 1973)


What Does Leader Mean?

Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (1995) defines a leader as: a person who has commanding authority or influence.

How Does a Leader Lead Effectively?

Our research shows some of our most effective leaders of the past shared these common characteristics:

Caring, Compassionate, Courageous, Honest, Humble, Respectful, Served the People Before Themselves

All of these characteristics can be considered important ethics in our society. Traditional leaders of the past were not afraid to stand by these ethics. They also dared to face reality. They defined underlying problems of the tribe so those very real problems could be solved. They served all individuals of the tribe, not just a select few.


Five Most Common Ethical Infractions

  • Selecting relatives for various resources such as housing, contracts, scholarships, governing boards, land, charity, and education – all the time.
  • Tribal employees need to abide by certain policies such as:
    • Beating up the boss is not allowed.
    • Reprimand DUI’s (drunk driving is not allowed on the job).
  • If an employee is fired for any ethical infraction, he/she should not be rehired in another tribal position for a limited amount of time. (The employee would be suspended from tribal work for a time.)
  • Doing personal tasks while getting paid to work.
  • (5) Going to work late, or leaving work early (all the time).

Examples of Law and Order among Indian Tribes Before the Influence of European Settlers

The Hunt - Among the U’mo’ha (Omaha), if anyone began the hunt early without permission, he might be flogged for a first offense. A second offense, and the man’s property would be taken, his tent destroyed, his family reduced to begging.

(Johansen, 2007)

Many Native American legal systems emphasized healing and maintenance of the social order as opposed to vengeance that seems prevalent in European type legal proceedings.

(Johansen, 2007)

The Cherokees practiced a “Harmony Ethic” that de-emphasized interpersonal, or face-to-face, conflict. (Johansen, 2007)


Great Leaders of the Past

Indian Leaders of Today often Compare Themselves to Great Leaders of the Past. Let’s Take a Look at Some of our Great Leaders from the Past.

Chief Joseph

Chief Crazy Horse

Chief Cochise

Chief Black Hawk

Captain Jack

Chief Sitting Bull

It is safe to say that all these men were courageous, honest, fighting men who were responsible for their people, who served their people before themselves. They were caring, kind, and compassionate.


Ethical Leaders Care About Their People

Chief Joseph became the voice and protector for his people when they surrendered to the U.S. military. He could have escaped to Canada, but he chose to stay and care for his people. (Nerburn, 2006)

Throughout his life, Chief Crazy Horse was expected to care for the helpless, a responsibility he took seriously. “He consistently put the welfare of his people ahead of his own.”

(Marshall, 2007, p. 78)

At the time of Captain Jack, Chief of the Modocs… “Leaders were chosen by merit, and a leader who failed to heed his people soon found himself out of a job.” (Krol, 2007, p. 54)


Ethical Leaders are Compassionate

Sitting Bull took in Cheyenne refugees shortly before the Battle of the Little Bighorn, providing them with food, clothing, anything they needed. (Murphy, 1993)

Chief Joseph was a paragon of compassion. His unwillingness to speak poorly of or do harm to others, no matter what their race or what they did to him and his people, made him an icon in the eyes of America. (Nerburn, 2006, p. 56)

Chief Black Hawk was devoted to his people. He felt grief so deeply when two of his children died close in succession, he mourned for two years. An enemy once spoke of his compassion. Even though this man had tried to kill Chief Black Hawk, the Chief spared his life, not once, but twice. (Ilminen, 2006)


Ethical Leaders are Courageous

In the past, courage was measure on the battlefield. For example, Crazy Horse “would often dismount, walk several steps from his horse, and kneel to take deliberate aim at the onrushing enemy. That ability to be calm and collected in the unfettered violence of combat was complemented by his daring …” (Marshall, 2007, p. 77)

Courage was also measured by daring … Chief Joseph often spoke to U.S. citizens. He would travel to address governments, even going to Washington D. C. to address an assembly of dignitaries. When he traveled he would dress in full regalia to draw attention to the plight of his people. Given the prejudices of the time, this had to take courage. (Nerburn, 2006)


Ethical Leaders are Courageous

“The courage to act, to put one’s energy, resources, and, if need be, one’s life on the line provides the ultimate test of leadership.”

(Murphy, 1993, p. xxxvii)


Ethical Leaders are Honest

In order for a leader to gain the trust of his people, he must not lie. Traditional leaders cared about honor and it was not honorable to deceive.

“Leaders were chosen by merit.” (Krol, 2007, p. 54)

Sitting Bull’s contemporaries, both friends and enemies respected his honesty. In 1876, the Indian people could not afford to follow a liar, thief, or a faker. (Murphy, 1993)

Sitting Bull overcame the temptation to deny the reality of his situation. He spoke clearly and truthfully to his people, even if they did not like what they heard. This built a trust between Sitting Bull and his people. Chief Sitting Bull adhered “steadfastly to a personal ethic of honesty.” (Murphy, 1993, p. 25)


Ethical Leaders are Humble

“The first step to power involves denying it for yourself, subordinating the self-centered urge for personal gain to the collective benefit. … The greater the need for power, the more a leader must understand the need for strategic humility.” (Murphy, 1993, p. 51)

Strategic humility refers to immense self-control over selfishness and arrogance. (Murphy, 1993)

Some of our greatest leaders of the past understood the need for humility.

For example, Crazy Horse, was a quiet man, shy. His humble and quiet nature drew people to him as much as his reputation as a formidable warrior. He always dressed plainly, never wearing elaborate feathers in his hair and never bragging. (Marshall, 2007)


Ethical Leaders are Humble

Sitting Bull knew that arrogance and denial could hurt a people. He cultivated humility to defeat self-centered ambition. He pointed out, to his people, that there were good things about the “white man” as well as bad. He counseled his people that it was okay to emulate the good, but the bad should be left alone. (Murphy, 1993)

Chief Sitting Bull was a great leader, yet, he lived a simple life, the life of his people, never looking for special favors or wealth. The welfare of his people always came first. (Murphy, 1993)


Ethical Leaders are Respectful

Chief Joseph had a calm manner even under pressure, and he was unwilling to speak poorly of others or do harm to others. (Nerburn, 2006)

Chief Black Hawk honored “his deadliest enemy” by dedicating “his autobiography to Brigadier General Henry Atkinson …” (Ilminen, 2006, p. 75)

Chief Sitting Bull respected the strengths of his counterparts. He did not compete with them. Instead, he appealed to them for help, always showing respect, so much so, that he banded together several tribes and defeated Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. (Murphy, 1993)


Ethical Leaders are Servants

  • Fact: “. . . the first step on the path to leadership is a private one, in which a leader solves the great paradox that lies at the heart of leadership success: that self-fulfillment comes from service to others.” (Murphy, 1993, p. 5)
  • Self-fulfillment will only occur through service to others. A leader who commits to work for the common good of his tribe fuses his destiny to that of his people. This frees a leader from petty ambitions for control or glory. (Murphy, 1993)
  • Chief Joseph exhibited service to his people when he tried again and again to talk to the U. S. government about returning his people to their homeland. He could have escaped to Canada, but he chose to remain with his people. (Nerburn, 2006)

Ethical Leaders are Servants

Throughout his life, Crazy Horse provided for the helpless; he hunted for the elderly and the widows, providing them with food. (Marshall, 2007)

Cochise befriended the white settlers at Butterfield station in southeastern Arizona even providing them with firewood through the long cold winters. (McNamee, 2006)

Chief Black Hawk was devoted to his family and to his people. For years he led his people on a journey to search for provisions to prevent starvation, even when under enemy attack. (Ilminen, 2006)

In Captain Jack’s time, a leader was chosen by merit, “and a leader who failed to heed his people soon found himself out of a job.” (Krol, 2007, p. 54)


Ethical Leaders are Servants

“Although more than a few leaders achieved personal prominence, for most it was secondary to their service to the people.” (Marshall, 2007, p. 77)

“… the renewal of a society requires commitment to the welfare of the whole nation, not just to the well being of a select few individuals.” (Murphy, 1993, p. xxxi)



Characteristics of an Ethical Leader

  • To be an Ethical Leader Today, We Must …
        • Be Caring and Compassionate
        • Have Courage
        • Face Reality
        • Be Honest
        • Be Humble
        • Respect all Peoples
        • Serve Others

Traditional Ethics

  • Four Main Virtues Tend to Dominate Plains Indian Society in the Past:
    • Honesty (Integrity)
    • Courage
    • Perseverance (Fortitude)
    • Generosity
  • A person could not leads if he/she did not process these qualities. It is these qualities that made great leaders.

Honesty (Integrity)

is a very important virtue for leaders

  • Examples:
    • Do Not Lie To Your Employee and fellow workers.
    • You Will Keep Your Word.
  • Consequences of Not Being Honest:
    • People Will Not Believe You When You are Truthful.
    • People Will Think You Cannot Be Trusted.
    • People Will Not Respect You.


  • Examples:
    • Face Reality Even if Most People Deny Reality.
    • You Will Not Bow Down to Peer Pressure.
    • You Do What’s Right Even if it is Dangerous to You.
  • Consequences of Not Being Courageous:
    • You Will Lose Respect.
    • You Will Be Labeled a Coward.
    • People Will Not Trust You to be an Effective Leader.
    • People Will Take Advantage of Your Cowardice.

Perseverance (Fortitude)

  • Examples:
    • Strength of Mind to Do the Right Thing Even When Pressured to Change Your Viewpoint.
    • Leaders Have Tough Jobs. They are Constantly Faced with Making Tough Decisions on a Daily Basis.
    • It is Easy to Give in to Pressure; This is Where Bad Decisions are Made.
    • Lack of Perseverance can Compromise your courage, honesty, and generosity.


  • Generosity can Take Many Forms.
    • You Can Be Generous With Your Time. Learn To Listen, Always Return Phone Calls
    • You Can Be Generous When Judging Workers.
    • You Can Be Polite to People, but …
  • Consequence of not been “Generous”
    • Viewed as “too good to talk to me anymore…”
    • People become angry at you and might try to get even.
    • People will no longer support you when you need their support.


the Four Virtues of

Honesty, Courage, Perseverance, and Generosity

  • Our challenge to you …..
    • Create your own code of ethics - and live by it !


How will your actions affect our community?


in closing here is what we are requesting from you
In closing, here is what we are requesting from you:

Your effort as a tribal employee, board member or council member to persevere in completing these courses, be generous with your time and honest in your responses so that others may benefit from your knowledge and experience.