Leadership in Public Arenas

Historically, formal authority took a back seat to highly flexible, short-term de facto leadership wielded by successful male hunters or other charismatic individuals (known variously as dene gan kaltharae or gothare) within the context of winter staging communities or hunting groups (D. M. Smith, 1982). Men who became outpost managers at seasonal trading posts, or who were otherwise prominent in the evolving fur trade economy, also had influence in local-level politics. With the rise of band governments ("First Nations" in current language) under federal Treaty provisions in the early 1900s, a formal authority structure of elected chiefs, councillors, and other community officials has emerged. Typically, these overt positions of power have been occupied by men, although some young educated Chipewyan women have been pushing for more active involvement in band or First Nations government. Moreover, elected officials are always subject to the "backstage" power of influential women, the competing interests of major families and kin alliances, and older notions of leadership based on individual competence, knowledge/power, and moral authority.

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The Power Of Charisma

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