On-Line Courses from the Tribal Leaders Institute

Tribal Leaders Institute offers five on-line courses as part  of a training package on ethics and corporate competence. These courses address the ethical issues causing large losses for tribal programs through policies, procedures and systems for minimizing these losses. Our courses are not just a series of how-to's but also a serious, hard look at ourselves, our history, our values and becoming the ethical change we want to see in our world.

Why these courses? Why five of them? The answer to the first question is rooted in our early results in developing this program, as well as twenty years experience providing consulting services to reservations in the Great Plains. Epidemic minor to  moderate ethical violations have been draining the coffers of reservation organizations for years. In our pilot study conducted in 2007, participant responses indicated that falsifying time cards, hiring relatives and other violations had become so common that these were accepted as standard practice, however, over time, a training program combined with on-line interaction could change those perceptions. A unique part of the Tribal Leaders Institute design is the manner in which culture is incorporated. Across reservations, there is a pride in being Indian. These are the individuals who chose not to move off their homelands to be assimilated. known for honesty, generosity, integrity and perseverance.

The five courses to be taught are:

Introduction to Reservation Ethics - is a six module course that addresses the need for a reservation ethics program, a historical perspective (how did unethical behavior gain acceptance), current conditions, moving from victim to survivor, the courage to change and an action plan for improving our reservations starting today. PARTICIPANTS REGISTERED FOR THE INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS FOR TRIBAL WORKERS COURSE, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Effective and Ethical Management - will introduce participants to the types of policies and procedures that can prevent the five most common ethical infractions identified in our reservation surveys.

Ethics by Design (Advanced Ethics) - Ethics by Design is a follow-up to both the Effective and Ethical Management course and the Introduction to Ethics. While the management course discusses  individual policies and procedures that can prevent problems, e.g., basic accounting standards for cash, indirect costs, the Ethics by Design course introduces the concept of effective, ethical systems.

The final two courses are being created at the request of tribal leaders.

Ethics for Entry-Level Tribal Employees - Native American history and cultural values are emphasized; generosity, courage, honesty and perseverance. Workplace ethics are framed within the context of those cultural values. When an employee repeatedly fails to come to work, takes supplies for personal use or charges time he didn’t work, that is not “the way it has always been” or “showing the system”. It is stealing from the tribe. It is the opposite of our traditional values of giving generously and being known for our word. In our history, when a chief said, “I will fight no more forever,” and laid down his weapons, the war was over because he gave his word. We had no experience with treaties that were broken, with saying one thing and doing another. Our challenge to those new employees is, if you want to say you are an Indian, act Indian and that means that being ethical. This course is filled with examples of ethical behavior from our history and in tribal organizations today. Each module begins and ends with a case study in ethical behavior.

Ethical Tribal Administration - Off the reservation, a new city planner, for example, enters the position with a college degree, most likely a masters, some experience in positions preparing him or her for the job and an office full of forms, binders documenting policies, maybe on-line versions on the local intranet. A new tribal planner is often appointed following an election. He or she may have good intentions of changing the unethical patterns of the past. However, he or she often begins with very few resources to use in managing the department or trying to effect any change. The Electronic Filing cabinet will include multiple examples of documents administrators need to implement real changes. These were obtained from tribes recognized as having exemplary management. Course web pages have links to the electronic filing cabinet and include assignments where participants modify these resources for use in their own organizations.


Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. , 314 Circle Dr., Fort Totten, ND 58335
(701) 351-2175 ericstev@spiritlakeconsulting.com