Wagner Area Horizons Team

Report date
August 2016

What has been most instrumental to your progress?

Development of a bicultural leadership model (Native/non-Native) in which comparisons and contrasts are investigated, commonality and shared practices are identified, and a hybrid model is created that serves to increase a bicultural agency for effective leadership in our community. At the end of the original grant term we were able to identify the emergence of a model for rural reservation bicultural leadership capable of engaging both cultures in meaningful ways. Our extension is designed to continue the capacity building activity for multicultural leadership, to complete the development of a multicultural leadership study guide, and to produce a multicultural leadership conference. The statewide demand for the bicultural leadership study guide and conference has necessitated the extended planning period. Our revised projection for the completion of the study guide and conference is the fall of 2017.
The Farmer’s Market is an action outcome of our deliberative dialogue on race. It serves as a pilot project for the development of bicultural leadership. The Market engages emerging entrepreneurs and facilitates a space for bicultural leaning, decision making, and strategic planning. It is an incubator for relationships (trust) and a visible community witness to racial equity in the market place.
3. Our remaining resources will be used for the following goals (completed by December of 2016): 1. A convening of the 4th statewide multicultural leadership conference planning session scheduled for August 10th at the SDSU Extension Conference Room Mitchell Technical Institute, Mitchell, SD. 2. A writing Retreat designed to bring together U.S and Canadian Indigenous persons for the review of the bicultural leadership study guide (August 2016) 3. The participation of a two day Consultation visit by Wagner Horizons with Dr. Craig Howe, Director of C.A.I.R.N.S, a Native American Research Center in Martin, SD (October 2016).

Key lessons learned

We have learned 4 additional key components related to the development of bicultural leadership in South Dakota: 1. There is an urgent need for a tool that functions to create an introductory space for individuals and organizations seeking to biculturally engage in trust building, dialogue, and education related to leadership. 2. This work necessitates the development of an anchor cohort of both Native and non-Native persons who require skill development and capacity building to lead this particular work. 3. There is no precedent for this work in the literature. 4. The work can only move at a rate organic to the process of building the relationships and convening the group across the state. African proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.

Reflections on inclusive, collaborative or resourceful problem-solving

Certainly inclusivity is at the heart of what bicultural leadership seeks to uphold. The challenge here is the delicate movements within the wide range of approaches to leadership that underlie the macro distinctions of Native and non-Native leadership. There is no reference point for this work at a state level. Collaboration is time intensive as trust is low both locally and at state levels between the two cultures. Resourcefulness in this work is delicate. Our greatest resources are the collective wisdom and experiences of the people themselves. Utilizing local experts in the uncharted work of conference building and tool creating requires capacity building in a number of areas to include; writing, publishing, public speaking, group facilitation etc. Resourcing the development of creating the work is itself a new skill capacity.

Other key elements of Community Innovation

We have noted that participating in events that have connected us outside of the community (Bush Connect May 2016, Bush Community Conversation, Rapid City May 2016 and Rural X Summit Aberdeen July 2016) have produced “collisions” with other interested organizations. These new connections have consistently added to the forming of our state anchor group.

Understanding the problem

We began the work of our grant in 2014. Prior to this we had a 6 year history of deliberative dialogue on race relations. Clarity for us it trusting that small steps over time is effective; it’s not a sign of failure. We recently were invited to participate in the strategic planning process with the Wagner Community School Administration. Many of those in attendance were mandated by the former superintendent to complete the Racism Study Circle in 2014. There was a lot of resistance at that time. Two years later working with many of the same persons, we are able to hold the conversation with a deeper capacity for the resistance that is inherent to this process and, despite the resistance, move the strategic planning forward with greater racial equity and authentic goodwill.

If you could do it all over again...

This work takes tremendous faith and courage. We’re not sure there is any preparation for this at the outset. Thank you for forwarding our explorations of the racial dialogue in South Dakota. It’s yours as much as it’s ours. Together.

One last thought

Great questions! We hope to continue to provide you with the fruits of our labors here, 1. Candidates for Bush Fellowships, 2. Candidate for Native Nation Rebuilders, and applications for other C.I. projects. Thanks Bush!