Episode 86: Joseph M. Marshall III guest - Part 2 - Contemporary Leadership Lessons from Crazy Horse Hero's Journey
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Joseph Marshall: My name is Joseph Marshall, and I'm the author of The Lakota Way, and most recently The Power of Four: Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse, and I've enjoyed this session with Duncan Campbell because it's more than an interview show; it's an opportunity to share insights with someone else who has views of the world, views of our culture and to examine more deeply the common things that bind us together, no matter who we are, and share insights from the past as well as the present, I appreciate that. And it all reminds me of Crazy Horse being in dialogue with his own community, with his own family, with his own people. No matter whatever the opportunity or the time was good or bad, he was always talking with people one on one, sharing his insights and listening to other people, to their insights. Because he was a young man and he listened to his Elders and so he was having those dialogs all of his life, and all these dialogs that he had was really part of who he was as a leader. He was embodying the values that he had, certainly as a Lakota person. But he had the traits [unintelligible] as a leader as well. And dialogs are important and that was important to him and it's absolutely important to all of us who want to be or have an opinion about leaders and being a leader; having the dialog is critically necessary to all of us.
Music and introduction
Duncan Campbell: From time immemorial, beginning with indigenous councils and ancient wisdom traditions, through the work of western visionaries such as Plato, Galileo and quantum physicist David Bohm, mutually participatory dialogue has been seen as the key to evolving and transforming consciousness. Evoking a flow of meaning; a dia (flow) of logos, meaning beyond what any one individual can bring through alone. So join us now, as together with you, the active deep listener, we evoke and engage in Living Dialogs.
Duncan Campbell: I am your host Duncan Campbell, and I've been speaking with and I'm speaking with Joseph Marshall III, acclaimed Native American author whose books have been published in seven different languages. We're speaking today of The Power of Four: Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse, his most recent book. And so, as we move now into our second part of our program, continuing on in this vein I'd like to invite you, Joseph, to talk about the character traits and specific that you were most impressed by with Crazy Horse, and I want to introduce this with the very first sentence that Barack Obama spoke in his inaugural address, "My fellow citizens, I stand here today, humbled by the task before us. Grateful for the trust you have bestowed. Mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors". And so, right there in the very first sentence of his inaugural address, Barack Obama was exemplifying very traditional values from our indigenous heritage, namely humility, gratitude, appreciation and respect for the sacrifices and the example of our ancestors. And so, with that introduction, now tell us about your own four-fold appreciation of Crazy Horse.
Joseph Marshall: Well, as I said earlier, in looking at his life, and again, we must understand that he didn't get on a stump and ever say, "These are my approaches to leadership", but in looking at his life, these four things, for me, emerged. Maybe someone else looking at his life would find something different, but this is what I gleaned from studying him as a person and as a leader and both as a military leader and as a civilian leader. And he seemed to rely on four basic philosophies that helped him become a leader; to help him achieve that humility and that character and all the other character traits, and as you said in reading Obama's opening statement, he also realized who he was; he had a sense of identity and where he came from. He was always aware of his ancestry and his family history, and that falls in line with the first philosophy: Knowing yourself, knowing who you are, knowing your family background, and knowing what your strengths and what your abilities and what your capabilities are. And even more than knowing, is to be very, very honest with yourself about that. Especially with these shortcomings, because we all face life with who and what we are; with our skills, and with our abilities, and with our tendencies, and with our weaknesses, and with our strengths. That's what we have to face life with, to face the world with; to take care of ourselves, to take care of our families, to be a part of our families and our communities. This is what we offer, and Crazy Horse was taught that through a process of a one on one mentoring system. It was a system that was in place for both males and females, for both boys and girls. And essentially for male, it was done by fathers, and the uncles, and the grandfathers and sometimes a family friend, as in the case of Crazy Horse. This boy, any boy, be it Crazy Horse or anybody else, would be taken under by someone to teach them the practical skills of life; how to make a bow and arrow, for example. How to fashion your own tools. How to take care of yourself in the winter and the summer out in the environment, wherever that was, and to learn the skills of just existing and living and thriving. But along with all of those came also the philosophies of how to be a good hunter. How to be a good warrior. How think about one's responsibilities as that hunter and as that warrior. So that young man was inculcated[sp?] with all of those outlooks; not just from one person, but a series of people. And then eventually, at the age of 16 or 17, then he was taken out and he would go hunting by himself, or he would be taken along on a military patrol as an observer and as a helper, and he was given practical experience. So, at the end of that mentoring process this person, be it Crazy Horse or anybody else, knew his own skills, knew his own abilities as best he could. And so that's a lesson for us in the here and now that we can do; we can continue to learn, continue to grow. And that was the one thing that stood out first as far as Crazy Horse was concerned for me. That process that enabled him to become, as one commercial slogan says, to be the best you can be, and that's where it begins, by knowing yourself.
And the second one is very similar to it, to know your friends. We don't go through life by ourselves. We are husbands, we are wives, we are members of a family where heads of the family were part of the community, or we could be part of an organization or company, whatever. We certainly are a part of the more and more global environment, the global community, and the more we know about especially those close to us in terms of, not to be nosy in that sense, but to know what their tendencies are, what their strengths are, what their abilities are. Because sometimes we can motivate them to do something, or sometimes we might need to depend on them for something. So again, as much as we can know about our friends, it would be helpful to us and maybe to an objective; to meeting an objective as a community or as a group, so that principle applies there, too.
For full transcript, please contact Duncan Campbell