Native Youth Leadership Alliance

(NYLA Community) Words to Describe a Leader…

The NYLA Community Reflects…

If there was one word to describe a leader, what is that word?

Confident

Humble or Unselfish

Balanced

Listener

Respectful…

Learner

Humble

Fearless

Understanding 🙂

Genuine honesty and positivity 🙂

Mindful

Resilient

Faithkeeper

or Honundiohn, in the Onundowaga (Seneca) language, is the closest term I’ve come across recently that captures all the responsibilities of leadership in a Native context.

Itancan

I know that in Lakota we use the word “itancan” when describing a leader of the people. A lot of people I know automatically translate it as “chief”. But I was discussing it with my father, who is fluent, and he wanted to stress to me that there were many different ways of referring to leadership, among women and men but also in various situations. In this instance, itancan would be describing one who had the authority to tell the people what to do. Of course, this generally denoted that this person had accomplished a lot of great things in their lives in order to wield this authority.