Université de Victoria
Projet de recherche
Cree Leadership Values and Practices of Freedom
My thesis will have two research aims. First, developing a robust understanding of Nehiyaw Leadership. Second, looking at how people in Muskwacis (Hobbema) use Nehiyaw Leadership values to uplift their spirits. Exploring the first question will involve looking at traditional parental and mentorship practices around raising leaders, the process of becoming regarded as a leader, and the qualities and attributes of a Nehiyaw leader. The second question will examine how practicing Cree Leadership values can be thought of as a practice of freedom and will examine how groups of people, either formally or informally, coalesce around these practices of freedom to regenerate their communities.
First, we need to recognize these day-to-day practices of Indigenous values as a primary source of liberation instead of de-political acts. The process of colonization has attempted, and in many ways succeeded, to severe the bonds between Indigenous people and their ways of being and knowing. Dignity can only be restored if people take pride in, and revive the use of Indigenous value systems. This dignity will be needed to provide the strength necessary to confront the entrenched colonialism of society. Second, there is a need for Indigenous people to develop institutions, or shared practices and values that people coalesce around, persist over time, and are not dependent on a person or group of people for their survival. Doing this is important because it: a) centers the community as the primary site of liberation; b) builds the collective capacity for people to pursue their goals; c) revives indigenous rationalities that are indigestible to the larger system, and d) helps to restore the relational bonds between people.
Reflecting on the research rationale behind the above research aims, two main themes emerge for why an emphasis should be placed on highlighting how people use Indigenous values as day-to-day practices of freedom. These themes are: the need to recognizing Indigenous values as an integral source of liberation, and the need to develop Indigenous institutions.
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