It's all about the leadership.
Back in the day common folklore held that there were two kinds of Indians; the "hang around the Fort" guys and the others.
The Fort guys used to hang around the trading post seeking what favor they could from the White man.
The other guys stayed aloof, tried to stick to traditional ways as much as they could, and held the Fort contingent in contempt.
There will be those who challenge the legitimacy of a White man writing critically about Indian leadership. To you I say one doesn't need to be Norwegian to write about Quisling. Nor does one need to be French to speak critically of Petain.
This topic comes up because today Patrick Brazeau made it into the news as having the worst attendance record of any Canadian Senator.
Big Chief Harper made Brazeau a Senator a few years back, which was, among other things, a cynical exercise in co-optation.
He was a smart young leader.
They'd rather have him in the Fort pissing out than outside pissing in.
Meanwhile, over at the Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo is running hard for re-election. There are those who believe that he too is excessively chummy with Big Chief Harper and a little too distant from the day to day reality of Indians in Canada.
The current generation of Indian leadership doesn't have a whole lot to show in terms of achievements for their people. I've written before that the ultimate solution is the creation of a sovereign state.
The never-ending tragedy of aboriginal people in Canada will never end untill the leadership stops hanging around the Fort.