The Value of Leadership Development Programs for First Nation Leaders

The Value of Leadership Development Programs for First Nation Leaders

Author: 
Deborah Dion-Arkinson
Program of study: 
D.B.A.
Abstract: 
The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore the value of leadership development programs from the perspectives of leaders in a First Nation, located in Canada. The goal of the study was to explore the perceptions of tribal leaders on the cultural appropriateness and perceived benefits of leadership development programs. A purposeful sampling criterion was used to select seven participants for the study. Multiple sources were used for evidence collection: in-depth interviews, observations, Council meeting minutes, and an annual audit report. Analyzing the data involved comparison and cross-case analysis techniques to synthesize the findings and identify recurring themes. The findings and conclusions showed rich descriptions of 17 sub-themes divided into three themes: seven sub-themes address the value and meaning of leadership, four subthemes deal with the adequacy of leadership development programs, and six sub-themes focus on the cultural appropriateness of leadership development programs. The importance of retaining and preserving the cultural values and beliefs in leadership roles among the leaders of this First Nation was evident. This study may contribute to the cultural-appropriateness of leadership development programs focusing on the cultural traditions and ways of life of First Nation people.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this dissertation to my late father, Floyd Vernon Dion, for stressing the importance of achieving educational goals. Thank you for providing me the father and daughter conversations while growing up. After his passing, I often think back and reflect on these conversations, which gave me the strength, determination, and inspiration to be successful in life. My mother Lillian Dion, I want to thank you for teaching me many values as a nehiyaw iskwew. For my children, Tennielle, Byron, Marissa, Trista, Chris, and Olin, I am very thankful for your patience and understanding of the countless hours I spent focusing on my research. I encourage all of you to follow and achieve your dreams. Most of all, my friend and companion Joey, for being beside me during the trying times while I sought higher education. Thank you for all your support and, in return, I send my prayers for Kisemanito to continue blessing each of you with long earthly lives, good health, happiness, and protection. Kihsahkitihn mistahi!
Acknowledgements: 
First of all I would like to thank my dissertation chair, Dr. Maria Navarro, for stepping in and guiding me to successfully finish this dissertation. With the relationship we have established, your guidance has assisted me in accomplishing my long term goal. To my committee members, Dr. Lisa Kangas and Dr. Charles Park, thank you for the advice and instructional feedback. Although, we did not communicate often, I am glad both of you remained as my committee members until I completed the study. Also I would like to acknowledge Dr. Alex Camacho for assisting me at the start of this dissertation. Although you found new endeavors with your professional career, I thank you for your guidance and clarification for me to get my dissertation proposal submitted and approved. I would like to thank Dr. William Wargo for coaching and guiding me through the data collection and analysis process. In times of uncertainty, you provided me with detailed explanations on how to tackle and accomplish the last two chapters. Your frequent critique reviews have strengthened my growth and learning capabilities to understand the concepts of developing and completing my dissertation from start to finish. I would like to thank the participants of Nipisihkopahk for being part of the study. I extend my heartfelt gratitude for your contribution to expand the research in leadership knowledge for First Nation people. With your input and participation, I am hoping that our younger generation can carry on with the cultural ways of life as they are the future leaders of the First Nation. I would also like to thank the staff in the Council Department for your assistance and patience as I gathered the information from the tribal leaders and documents needed for the study. I would like to acknowledge the Nipisihkopahk Education Authority Board and staff for your assistance and support. Without your support, I would never have come this far with my education! This also includes the financial support I needed in order to attend the residency courses. Therefore, I want to say hiy hiy! Finally, I want to acknowledge all my relations from the four directions. Thank you for your continuing humble prayers and prayer songs rendered in the most beautiful Native American Church and the sweat ceremonial lodges. Hiy Hiy!