We successfully completed testing the first course in our Tribal Leaders Institute, Introduction to Ethical Issues on Indian Reservations. We had over 100 tribal members participate in live presentations of the course, and over 200 tribal members participated in taking the on-line version. I also traveled to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation at the request of a BIA Line Officer to conduct a presentation for administrators and board members from six schools located on two Indian Reservations. I then traveled to a conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and did a live presentation for 38 conference attendees.
I always start my workshops with this statement: "Every single one of us, including myself, could benefit from an ethics course. Ethics in the work place is an on-going issue. Every day we are involved in circumstances that test our ethics. I have presented this course many times, and never fail to learn more about ethical behavior each time I present it."
The feedback we received about the content of the course from the participants was overwhelmingly positive:
➢ At the end of the Sioux Falls presentation, one participant came up to me and said: "Wow! I will say it again, wow!" He went on to say how glad he was that someone was finally addressing the issue of work ethics on Indian Reservations. He told me that when he was hired as a director of a tribal program, he soon became exasperated with the work ethics of his workers. One day, he informed them he was going to reduce their work hours to 20 hours per week.
➢ A participant who took the on-line version emailed me his comments regarding the course: "Hey Dr. Longie, [I] finished your ethics course. I enjoyed it. I read a little here and there throughout the week when I could and I think it took me about six hours to finish. I made sure and read all the "homework" so I think that's why it took my a little longer than [usual]. That was one of the things I enjoyed most about the course was the "supplemental literature" that you provided links to, including your own thoughts and writing, pretty cool. I enjoyed the whole course, but I particularly liked the part on self-awareness/self honesty with the literature from Daniel Goleman and his view on "emotional intelligence." This section of the course made me want to read more literature written by the author.
I do have to be honest and admit our completion rate for the on-line version was not very good at first for which we will take some of the responsibility. Some of the participants had trouble navigating the course due to poor course design. Their feedback was invaluable, and we redesigned the course making it much easier to navigate. On the other hand, some of the early participants persevered and did finish the course.
I am pleased to report three courageous tribal members: Bev Greywater, Spirit Lake Head Start Director; June Gourd, Spirit Lake Chief Judge; and Rosy Davis, BIA Line Officer, who have stepped up and hired me to present the Introduction to Ethical Issues on Indian Reservations workshop to their staff.
- I trained the Spirit Lake Head Start, 10-month staff, on Friday, May 29, 2009 at Cankdeska Cikana Community College, and will train the 12-month staff on July 17, 2009 also at Cankdeska Cikana Community College.
- I am scheduled to train June Gourd and her tribal court staff on June 8, 2009 at Cankdeska Cikana Community College.
- I am working out the details of when and where I will train the personnel under Rosy Davis's supervision.
With the growing interest in our Tribal Leaders Institute, I plan to work as quickly as possible to finish our next course, Managers and Traditional Native American Values; hopefully, I will have it finished within the next couple of weeks, and have it ready for testing by July 1, 2009.
In closing, there was a common viewpoint among all the participants who attended the last live session. I always inform them at the beginning of the course, they should change their own work place behavior first before they accuse other tribal workers of unethical behavior. However, at the end of the course, many of them came up to me and said, "Our tribal council should take this course." If there are any tribal council members out there who are reading this newsletter and want make to make a good impression on your tribal members, as well as learning good work place ethics, give me a call and we will arrange a training session. I guarantee you will not be disappointed if you do.