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Rethinking conceptions of educational leadership within a First Nations setting in Canada: Mapping a disputed terrain

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to provide to First and non-First Nation educators, scholars, and policy makers alternative perspectives that can reshape research on educational leadership in First Nation education with new imaginings that question fundamentally the cultural-political-economic-space defined by Euro-centred notion of modernity. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper addresses two questions in dealing with issues of conceptions of educational leadership in a First Nations setting: first, in what socio-cultural paradigm and epistemic framework, should the paper ground the view of relations among persons and between them and their environment, in a way that opens up spaces for prospects for action of those located outside a Euro-centric epistemic and ontological field; second, how could this paradigm assist us in formulating a conception of educational leadership that increases the leverage of First Nations education in constructing alternative sociocultural and educational worlds not grounded in the Eurocentric modernity? Findings ‐ For non-First Nation educators, power brokers, and policy makers who want to create alliances with First Nation people, this paper outlines the necessity to consider cross-cultural dialogue about conceptions of educational leadership as an "opportunity to challenge conventional assumptions about knowledge, power, and a sense of place" (Marker, 2006, p. 21). Originality/value ‐ The originality of this paper resides in its presentation of alternative conceptual horizons for educational leadership, horizons that acknowledge power inequities between mainstream societies and institutions on the one hand and First Nations peoples and their institutions on the other.
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Keywords: Educational policy; First Nation education; Leadership; Paradigmatic foundations

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 29, 2014

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