Uncovering Indigenous Models of Leadership focuses on Native and Indigenous leadership as an expression of a lived experience––as seen, felt, and heard––from the perspectives provided by Native Pacific Islanders, Polynesians, and, more specifically, Samoans from the Talavou clan. Central to this study is the question: What themes and elements influence Samoan leadership and how might these leaders provide others, elsewhere, with a different model of leadership, to reduce the inequitable effects of capitalism’s insatiable hunger for more power and material gain, so that all people on planet Earth might thrive?
This study asserts that alternative models of leadership must be uncovered and that Native and Indigenous People, specifically leaders, hold the keys to moving our species beyond survival so that we can all thrive. Liberating, inclusive, and anchored in self-determinism, it demonstrates that Native and Indigenous People know who they are, why they exist, and that they will continue to thrive, despite the ongoing impositions of colonialization, capitalization, and globalization on their ways of being and knowing. Ultimately, it uncovers an Indigenous model of leadership based on the notion of alofa, or love.
As a companion to the study, the author has created an extended play album of original music titled, “Heart of the Matter,” which can be found online.
Leiataua Robert Jon Peterson, EdD, is president, CEO, and cofounder of TE2: Education and Engineering Consulting, LLC.
With a sharp, informed critique of the “Global North,” Jon Peterson tees up its growing inequities and captures his own complexity as a member of both this North and the “Global South” through the Samoan “Talavou” clan. It is with this polyocular gaze that Peterson deftly captures and expresses his own duality in finding himself belonging to more that one set of cultural relatives. Focusing on leadership, a by-product of culture, as an “expression of a lived experience,” Peterson takes the reader on a thoughtful, intellectual and purposeful journey fleshing out a leadership for community that emerges from and embraces the communal. Juxtaposed to the exploitive culture of “the North,” Peterson crafts a Samoan metaphor for servant leadership, utilizing voices from both cultures and emphasizing collective leadership through the works of Durkheim, Blumer, Bourdieu and Tuhiwai-Smith.