Exploring a third space for indigenous leadership : honouring traditional Nuučaanul leadership attributes in the mainstream world
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SubjectCommunity Capacity Building; Indigenous Research; Leadership Development; Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations; Place-based Learning; Two-Eyed Seeing
Indigenous leaders must often walk between two divergent worlds—the traditional and the mainstream (Western)—and each of these worlds require its leaders to have specific leadership attributes in order to be most effective. Using Two-Eyed Seeing as a guiding principle, this research combines a Collaborative Community Based Research methodology with an Indigenous methodology to define a Third Space of leadership that weaves Indigenous leadership practices with mainstream leadership practices. This study also identifies knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) that current and future Indigenous leaders will need to cultivate and highlights high-impact practices that can be used to develop Third Space leadership attributes in emerging leaders. Qualitative data was collected from 25 research participants through semi-structured interviews and research sharing circles. Ten essential KSAs emerged from the analysis of the research data. The top eight are attributes that were identified in 80% or more of the research interviews, five of which (respect, listening, discipline, connection to community, connection to land) are not typically a focus of mainstream leadership development programs. In line with Two-Eyed Seeing, this study uses two approaches to convey the KSAs of traditional leadership: a short story written in a Nuučaanul style; and a scholarly journal article that embraces a mainstream approach to knowledge mobilization. Both the short story and the journal article provide insight into the guiding research questions of this study and although they are meant to stand alone as research outputs, taken together, they define a Third Space of Leadership that weaves both Indigenous and mainstream leadership attributes.
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