A Leadership Lesson From A Native American Principle

Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.
5 min readFeb 27, 2024

That Is Also Backed By Science

I find that studies of Philosophy can often provide powerful Leadership Lessons, especially in today’s world.

One area of Philosophy that I think does not get enough Recognition for its power and brilliance is that of Native American Philosophies.

It is even more fascinating when a lesson has scientific backing!

Now the Principle which I am about to talk about comes from Two Feathers, an Elder from the Kainaiwa Clan of the Blackfoot Peoples.

He says that within different cultures that exist, there are often Distractions that attempt to blind us from Reality.

Two Feathers calls them the Coyotes of Distraction.

Within many traditions, animals are teachers of sorts, and Coyote has a number of different lessons in the stories that include him.

One of the ways that Coyote is portrayed is as a Trickster, who teaches us about the weaknesses of different ways of acting.

So, within this Principle, Coyote either acts as a “Leader” or as someone amongst the “Leader” who is trying to “Distract” us from the “Reality” of a situation.

So what is the Distraction that Coyote attempts to use?

Deception.

Two Feathers puts it like this:

“The power of deception will lead the masses to acceptance. Then you can control through the use of more deception.”

This is the “Perception” that Coyote attempts to create.

In the world, we can see this often occur.

When it comes to Leaders, it generally plays out one of two ways:

  • The Leader believes Deception will allow them to get ahead, and will use it to try to get others to do their will (aka they “are” the Coyote).
  • The Leader fears that others will attempt to Deceive them to get ahead, either to push the Leader to make bad choices or to push an Organization against the Leader (aka they are “afraid” of the Coyote).

In both ways, the Coyote believes that their use of Deception will allow them to Succeed.

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Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.

Founder of the Leadership Guide, helping Entrepreneurs, C-Suite Executives and Business Owners unlock their Heroic Potential, and Evolve into Legendary Leaders