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ERIC Number: EJ993974
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: ISSN-0951-8398
The Case of the Noble Savage: The Myth That Governance Can Replace Leadership
Warner, Linda Sue; Grint, Keith
International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), v25 n7 p969-982 2012
The presumption of American's noble savage provides the foundation for the creation of one of the world's most recognizable stereotypes--the American Indian. The stereotype, lodged in the minds of most Americans as the Plains Indian warrior, contributed to decades of misunderstanding about leadership in traditional American Indian societies and governance in contemporary American Indian tribes. Review of both indigenous leadership styles and governance structure, defined as Public Law 93-638 or the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (25 USC 450), will provide the framework for a critical analysis of culture and American Indian leadership and governance. We argue that the individualist and democratic culture of white America has generated a particular approach to American Indians that promotes western governance systems at the expense of indigenous leadership cultures. In this approach, the nature of American Indians is reduced to an interpretation of the "noble savage" in which their either anarchic or tyrannical culture can only be tamed by the imposition of western governance systems. This implies displacing the indigenous cultures of leadership with the "universal" culture of democracy. This article will provide the context for discussions on the myth of self-determination, a construct of governance, and the indigenous leadership roles which continue to struggle against assimilation, cultural appropriation, and a history of genocidal policies. After comparing and contrasting indigenous concepts with western notions of governance, the authors propose a series of questions about the fundamental assumptions of governance in contemporary affairs. (Contains 1 table and 14 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A