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Exploring indigenous tribal leadership: The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

Jeff G Hart, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Winnebago tribal leadership is centered on traditional culture, language and stories. The purpose of this study was to explore leadership with the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, its history, culture and traditions, and how the tribe has been affected by acculturation from the dominant society. The findings were developed from an ethnographic design consisting of observations, conversations and interviews with Winnebago tribal people. Observations and conversations were recorded in a field journal. Formal interviews were conducted with a sample of Winnebago tribal people. Codes and themes were developed from transcribed text of the field journal and recorded interviews. Traditional tribal leadership, tribal leader characteristics, and tribal interventions and acculturation emerged as major theme areas from the findings. Winnebago tribal leadership is a shared leadership, organized by the clan system, guided and sustained by elders and a Tribal Council through the teaching of language and telling of stories. A true Winnebago leader has vision for the future, knows traditional ways, shares and develops leadership, serves and protects the tribal community, develops trust and shows respect for all tribal people. Knowing about Winnebago tribal leadership can provide non-tribal organizations with different perspectives about leadership and how to improve partnerships and relationships with Winnebago people, and perhaps other tribal people. ^

Subject Area

Anthropology, Cultural|Education, Social Sciences|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies|Sociology, Social Structure and Development

Recommended Citation

Hart, Jeff G, "Exploring indigenous tribal leadership: The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3159545.