An Apsaalooke view for educational leadership

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Education, Health & Human Development


There have been many calls for Native American communities to be given more self-determination in the education of their children. Yet despite these calls for allowing Native American parents to be included in the education of their children this is not happening (Bird, Lee and Lopez, 2013). In this study the researcher utilizes an Indigenous research methodology adhering the cultural protocols of the Apsaalooke nation and building upon the 4 R's, which are respect, relevance, reciprocity and responsibility (Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991). This research allowed Apsaalooke tribal members, identified through the protocols of the Ashammaliaxxiia to voice their perspective and expectations for school leaders who serve students in their communities. There were formal interviews, informal visits and personal communications. The research questions that guided this study are: 1. What kind of behavior and actions do Apsaalooke tribal members expect from school leaders such as principals and superintendents serving their students? 2. How can school leaders work well with parents and leaders in the Apsaalooke community? 3. What do Apsaalooke tribal members want school leaders to know and be aware of in the education of the children of the tribe? From the research four salient themes emerged which are: 1. A leaders first job is to learn; 2. Lead through relationships; 3. Crows take education seriously; 4. The preservation of Apsaalooke identity and culture. Seventeen tribal members participated in the study. From the study the researcher found that leaders need to respect the community and build authentic relationships within it by being present and connected to the community. Lead the school with those relationships within the informal leadership model in the community in a more flattened model based on the respect of and the character possessed by influential leaders, rather than a hierarchical one, as well as defend those relationships. Understand the Apsaalooke want their student to achieve academically and help parents to support their students in this and hire and retain quality teachers. Support the preservation and perpetuation of the Apsaalooke way of life.




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