Wanted: Selfless individuals who are steadfast, yet flexible; respectful of their history yet able to change with the times; tough but sensitive toward others; knowledgeable but constantly learning; self aware but selfless; peace loving but strong of character; committed yet not obsessed, and wise enough to know when you don’t know.
The passing of Chief Pete Skye and devoted activist Arnold Douglas this past week has brought to mind the question, what will the next generation of Chiefs and activists going to look like? In fact, a goodly number of wonderful, but aged, men and women may not be with us in 10 years time. What then? As we speak, there is no one on the Seneca bench at the Longhouse, and that has been the case for more than a year. The Mohawk bench is sparsely occupied, and that has been the case for some time now as well.
When one scans the horizon over Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, are there any dedicated men and women willing to take on the enormous weight of leadership as Chiefs and Clan Mothers?
Mentorship is so much more effective than data gathering or title seeking. It becomes the responsibility of the experienced elder to find that younger person they feel they can trust with the years in the trenches that brought them wisdom, devotion and that seven layers of thick skin needed for leadership. That turn of phrase seems to indicate a callused ego, very hard to bruise because it has been bruised so often, yet has never broken. But at the same time, the job requires one who can remain sensitive to the needs of others first, and themselves second.
It is also the responsibility of they younger generation to embrace the past with pride and have a clear vision towards the future. It is up to those young people to seek out an elder they would be happy to emulate. Actively seek someone of age to respect, listen to and learn from.
There are openings for someone like you, and a rewarding life of service to the people for those who would respond to the challenge.