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Navigating the Diverse
Tribal Workplace





More than ever, the tribal workplace is a diverse collection of individuals. Today’s tribal workplace is made up of Indians and non-Indians, tribal members and non-members, young people and elders, and men and women with all kinds of diverse backgrounds. Is your tribe leveraging diversity to its advantage, or is diversity sometimes a source of tension? When workplace leaders are able to help diverse individuals work as a team, the results are a strong, efficient and productive work unit with high morale. This important session uses fun and insightful activities to raise awareness about assumptions you may not even be aware you held, and to help make sure you’re able to interact effectively with people of any background. You’ll explore how your own perceptions have been shaped by your surroundings and explore the way others may see you. And you’ll leave with strategies for identifying when conflict with coworkers may actually be easily solved simply by learning how to recognize and respect cultural, gender, or other differences.

We’ll explore some of the issues that are common in diverse tribal workplaces, such as the need to understand Indian Preference, how differences in cultural norms for body language and speech patterns can lead to misunderstandings, and how individuals of different ages, ethnicities, or genders may interpret and respond to situations differently. You’ll take a self-assessment that helps you identify your system of values, examine the values others may have, and explore where those values may have come from. This class is one that will help you on the job, but it’s also likely to change your whole perspective--inside and outside of work.

T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
Defining Diversity and Related Terms
  • What is diversity?
  • Exercise: Closest friends
  • Advantages of a diverse workplace
  • How to avoid disadvantages of a diverse workplace
  • Race and ethnicity
Understanding Cultural Differences
  • Defining culture
  • Iceberg theory
  • Identifying and understanding cultural differences
  • Differences in communication and body language
  • Activity: Understanding the impact of culture on work
  • Self-assessment
Values, Norms and Ethnocentrism
  • How traditional Native American values and mainstream American values impact work behavior
  • Identifying your own values
  • Why what's "normal" in one culture isn't in another
  • Case study: "Problem" workers?
  • Dealing with difference in the tribal workplace
Ground Rules for Working in a Diverse Workplace
  • Show respect for differences
  • Put yourself in others' shoes
  • Don't jump to conclusions
  • Treat people as individuals while respecting cultural influences
Age Diversity at Work
  • Positive and negative stereotypes about people of different ages
  • Cultural differences in how we view aging
  • Treatment of elders
  • Ground rules for working with people of various ages
Gender Issues in the Workplace
  • Activity: Gender issues at work
  • Discussion: Traditional beliefs about gender roles
  • When is a behavior sexual harassment?
  • What to do when harassment occurs?
Identifying Stereotypes
  • Activity: Identifying your own stereotypes
  • About stereotypes
  • Common phrases and the stereotypes behind them
  • Your experience with stereotypes
Choosing Wise Words
  • Changing language that may be unintentionally offensive
  • Things NOT to say to American Indian coworkers
  • Ground rules for choosing our language
The Cornerstones of Diversity
  • Knowledge
  • Understanding
  • Acceptance
  • Behavior
Standing Up Against Discrimination
  • How to use the STOP technique
  • Role play
  • What to do as an employee vs. as a manager

*Topics subject to change.

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