Thursday, December 17, 2009

communial land gives us strength?

This news is interesting. From Native American Legal Update
"In a break from long-standing land control policies, the Nisga’a First Nation in British Columbia is set to begin allotting property to its members, who can then mortgage, lease, or sell it – even to non-Nation members."
"After three years of study, the Nisga’a government has concluded that restrictions on private property ownership by its members has been a significant obstacle to financial growth."
"This new policy from a First Nation in Canada will contrast sharply with policies among Tribal nations located within the United States."
"The selling off of Tribal lands, typically at below-market value in order to obtain much needed cash, resulted in the “checkerboarding” of Native reservations and an alienation of Native peoples from their traditional homelands."
"Most Tribes within the U.S. have spent the decades since the end of allotment trying to regain lost lands and return them to permanent Tribal status."
The approach of the Nisga’a First Nation also contrasts with the communial ownership of maori land here. Historically the way to get the land was to make it into a commodity and allocate it to people. Then you can buy and sell it. Most indigenous approaches work towards more communial ownersip to protect traditional land from being sold.

But others have a different view of the way forward. There are some within even our iwi who would like this approach - we have to guard against it IMO. I don't judge any people for making decisions on the best way forward for them - good luck to them, but for me, communial ownership is a very big strength.

Hat tip - Native American Legal Update

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