A Comparative Analysis Between
American Indian and Anglo American
Joyce L. Grahn, David X. Swenson and Ryan O’Leary
Joyce L. Grahn is Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota Duluth, 10 Univer
sity Drive, Duluth, MN 55812, USA. David X. Swenson is Associate Professor, Col
lege of St. Scholastica, 1200 Kenwood Avenue, Duluth, MN 55811, USA. Ryan
O’Leary is law student, Hamline College of Law, St. Paul, MN, USA.
Studying American Indian leadership is important from both a practitioner and a
theoretical perspective. Additionally the authors have a deep-seated interest in
this neglected area of American Indian leadership. One author is Ojibway; one has
Cherokee heritage; and one is the grandchild of a medical doctor who worked
with and had respect and affection for the Lower Sioux Indians. This perspective
was inculcated in his children and grandchildren.
American Indians present a significant and increasing (US Bureau of the Cen-
sus, 1996; Winik, 1999) number of individuals in the US. A precise figure for the
American Indian population is difficult to ascertain for two reasons: the definition
of what constitutes an “Indian” is not precise (Chase, 1999; Ebbott, 1985; Jackson
b, 1999) and US Census figures are perceived as inaccurate (Chase, 1999; Jackson
a&b, 1999). Conceding this inexactness, the July 1, 2000 population estimate of
American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut is approximately 2.4 million or about 0.9 per
cent of the US population (US Bureau of the Census, 1996). Clearly, this segment
represents a sizeable group of people.
Academic research regarding American Indian leadership is limited and in
cludes a sparsity of the following: journal articles (e.g. Barsh, 1986), graduate
theses (e.g. Louie, 1996; O’Leary, 1998; Trottier, 1996), books (e.g. Benton-Banai,
1988; Ebbott, 1985), and conferences (e.g. American Indian Issues Symposium,
1997). Lyric Wallwork Winik (1999), in his recent Parade Magazine article, com
piled demographic information important for the scholar or casual reader. For ex
ample, American Indians are the country’s least educated minority. The high
school graduation rate can be less than 50 percent on a reservation.
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