It's my opinion that, particularly amongst indigenous men, having a life purpose is central to having self-esteem, and being a role model for the younger people.
Again, in trying not to generalise, the Islanders I've had contact with were involved in QLD Rail, having gravitated to these positions from the canefields. Even in Katherine, the TI's I knew there were involved in mechanical work, and truck driving.
Apart from one community on Victoria River Downs, where indigenous stockmen still work the cattle, there wouldn't be many aboriginals who could again turn their hand to stock work. That would leave one of their former popular job choices, of seasonal fruit and vegetable work.
I've spoken with growers who showed me photos of the camps they'd set up for their pickers, and they lament the day that welfare, or sit-down money, became a reality. I've also visited the tin mine at Maranboy, where the indigenous workers went on strike for a fair day's pay. They won that battle. It's a myth that indigenous people won't work. They have a history to prove otherwise.
The nearby community of Barunga (formerly Bamyili) was the women's camp for that mine site, and the other nearby community of Manyallaluk, was the stockmen's camp at the head of the two escarpments that form a huge holding yard for the cattle. It's quite ironic to me that tourist buses head to Manyallaluk several times a week to visit this "dreaming" place, and to watch the dancers perform their tribal custom dance. I've trained several of the younger folk from that community, and they know it's not a "dreaming" place, nor of any cultural significance to the many people who took on stockman's jobs there. But it does turn a profit.
Barunga is likewise of no historical importance, but it has a reliable water supply, and a great abundance of bush tucker. An annual festival was held there, lasting a week, and I believe PM's Hawke, Keating, and Howard attended over the years. Having worked at this community, in a teaching role, I found that the "royalty" in the community are from as far away as Borrolloola, and Gnukkur.
Likewise with the community just kilometres away, Beswick was a kind of "sinners" hideout, for people to go to if they'd broken tribal law back at their own community. There is a palpable air of despair there, even amongst the usually jovial children. Coming from various skin groups, many of these people aren't even permitted to look at eachother, let alone talk.
My point is, there is no actual spiritual connection to these places, and apart from the obvious toursism roles, very little chance of rising above a perceived poverty line. Should someone actually choose to rise above, even by getting a govt position, they often get humbugged for money, or rides in their govt vehicle. It's sad to watch. No tall poppies.
These three communities are all within an hour of Katherine, so alcohol and ghanja are evident, as is the ever-present petrol sniffing.
While I have no formal psychology training, my "take" on the situation with substance abuse, is a deep despair, not just at their predicament, but at the perception generally in that other world, that they are all paedophiles and no-hopers.
Exposure to the three W's, and the associated sick porno that it brings with it, is also claimed to be a major contributor.
But like you said, there is a certain classism within some of these communities, and maybe, given time, and opportunity, more role models will appear in the media they are exposed to. Here's hoping it helps.