A home in North Caribou Lake First Nation, 320 km north of Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Isolation often takes the blame as the source of many problems on remote reserves. CP/Heather Scoffield
Chief Theresa Spence ended her 6-week hunger strike Thursday. Now the question is: What did she achieve? Prime Minister Stephen Harper did meet with some First Nations leaders; he now says he will continue to take a personal hand in moving First Nations issues forward. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo says he and the Prime Minister have agreed -- something's got to change. He said, "[The status quo is] not working, not only for First Nations, it's not working for Canadians and it's not working for governments. And so we need to with great haste seize on this moment and say that we're not going to let it go by."
For some the solution is to give First Nations a bigger share of resource revenues and expand the right to self-government.
For others, that sounds like throwing good money after bad.
(left) has worked in the field of First Nations governance for more than 20 years... as a federal employee, as a Director with the Institute on Governance, and now as an independent consultant.
He has worked with more than 300 bands and has presented his views to the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples.
He says that along with a lack of funding, geographic isolation, and the legacy of colonialism, a poor governance system is the principal cause of the appalling living conditions on many First Nations reserves across Canada. And he has concrete ideas about how that can be dramatically improved.