Mark Yettica-Paulson, CFI Deep Collaboration Lead
Welcome to the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
Last week I had the privilege of spending time with the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity during a week-long module on Indigenous Leadership. It inspired me to reflect on the incredible demand that is placed on First Peoples to lead for our own peoples and for others.
In Deep Collaboration we talk about inflated projections on Indigenous leadership to fulfil so many expectations as a symptom of collaborations between First Nations and other multicultural Australians. We name this unrealistic set of expectations as a role of Fantasy Leader. However, my renewed reflection on Indigenous leadership from last week not only incorporates the notion of Fantasy Leader, but also strikes to the heart of addressing the challenge set out by the theme of World Indigenous Peoples’ Day:
“Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.”
At the heart of Indigenous leadership lies two fundamental orientations:
1. Facing towards our peoples
When we turn to face our Indigenous leadership to our peoples we are concerned about our custodianship and the renewal, reinvestment, and restoration of our cultures. We are focused on what we need to do to maintain our place in the world with dignity and confidence in our identity. It’s nation building activity. It is about the continuation of ceremonies, language, and songs. It includes cultural teaching for our people to grow and sustain their belonging.
2. Facing towards the other
When we turn to face our Indigenous leadership to others, we are concerned about how to interface and engage between different systems. We are focused on what we need to do to ensure that the dominant systems around us know themselves and know us, so that we can craft a ‘new social contract’. This is the work of advocacy, policy development, protest, cultural awareness, partnerships, national curriculum, professional development and learning, treaties, formal legal settlements, and reconciliation.
Knowing these two fundamental orientations means we can be clearer with our purpose when working with, and for, Indigenous leadership.
Two questions for your own reflection:
To learn more about how you could take up your leadership differently join our next learning program Deep Collaboration Intensive – Practice and Awareness Facilitating Collaboration with First Nations and other Australians.
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