One of the central issues in educational leadership today is to seek the illusionary ‘one best way’ to lead. As a consequence some problems arise with the definition and orthodoxy of ‘educational leadership’, which is disconnected from indigenous educational settings. A major assumption of this thesis is that high and disproportionate levels of indigenous marginalisation and underdevelopment within education and schooling will not be adequately overthrown if educational leadership is ill fitting with the cultural context. Furthermore, it is argued that there is a need for indigenous leaders in education and schooling who not only understand the cultural context but who also have culturally aligned leadership skills, knowledge, and practice.
If indigenous educational leaders are to contribute and participate fully in educational systems then indigenous educational leaders should help to define, protect, promote and control what counts as indigenous educational leadership, and not simply buy into taken for granted skills or strategies set by ‘whitestream’ (Grande, 2000). One of the historical difficulties is what constitutes indigenous knowledge and indigenous educational leadership has been determined by those other than indigenous peoples. This thesis will argue the need for a counter movement by indigenous peoples to assert a greater measure of influence and control in educational leadership, which is bound to their aspirations and hopes as indigenous people. Ultimately, I argue for a need to expand and change existing notions about educational leadership to more adequately respond to cultural difference; to be more appropriately validated and to be addressed directly and with due diligence within existing leadership and management programmes. If educational leadership is to be valued then re-defining what counts as indigenous educational leadership needs to be addressed and may require educational management programmes and educational institutes to re-think their pedagogical frameworks.