In 1990/1991, I had a classmate in university who was a well-educated and smart native fellow. He was a mature student studying economics while holding down a job as an assistant manager in a bank branch. He was quite pleased about the fact that he lived on a reserve in the Lower Mainland and that the bank happened to be in a mall on reserve land leased from the band. He kept refusing promotions and transfers at the bank because he was paying no taxes in this scenario and his university education was being fully funded by the band (ultimately by the taxpayers). Someone with his skillset and education would be an asset to the band, however, he had no interest in band council or leadership, he just wanted to use the system to get ahead. I'm pretty sure he would have been successful coming from a rural reserve, however, the proximity to an urban centre made his situation much easier to exploit.
Far too many people prefer to blame others for their situation in the world over hard work to improve their lot. Unfortunately, the natives' traditional ways of life is not viable for the majority of the natives in Canada, the world has changed since Europeans arrived in North America and people need to overcome the awful treatment that so many faced under misguided attempts to integrate or assimilate into Eurocentric society. There was a lot of abuse and mistreatment that was hidden away, but people need to address it in a meaningful way and move forward in order to break the cycle of abuse. The current approach is broken for so many and compromise will be needed to bring the parties together.
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