Actually, ancient Native American chiefs were servant leaders in the best sense. They were usually very generous, hard working leaders, even as the New Testament in the Bible describes a leader should be! It is ironic and a literal shame that in the process of conquering them for their land, the white men who claimed to have the truth of real religion cut the native American people off from that truth through the lies and cruelty of the majority when they could have shared that truth (if htey really possessed it) with a very spiritual and often open people.
Unfortunately in some cases, the tribal leadership you see today has adopted our selfish, corrupt, self serving style of political leadership. But please bear in mind this is a product of the white man's interference, genocide and the destruction of their way of life, not their nature. This is not to say that ancient Native Americans were without fault, living in a paradise state, by no means! But in some respects they had not fallen as far from paradise as their white brothers, in other respects perhaps they had fallen more.
(In case you are wondering on what authority such broad and "judgmental" statements are made, the writer bases these statements on his understanding of history and the current situation in light of what the Bible teaches about how we should live, lead and serve. Americans today are afraid to judge anything, but God commands us to use "good judgment" to discern good and evil.)
Today, though living on the same continent and both groups facing many of the same challenges, many reservations also face numerous other social, cultural and economic challenges that are foreign to most of us and would be shocking if mainstream America knew their plight.
The saying also is used to point out work forces or projects with conflicting leadership because no one person is in charge, I did not mean it in that sense, but rather in the sense that we have too much leadership and not enough workers to get the job done.