There are three problems I see with this idea of privatization of land for Aboriginals:
1. Prof. Moore says in her text (which I used in my studies last year) that Aboriginal Land Title and Claims are not registered on title. My point: Don’t add new rights to Aboriginals, just change present law! If we do not look at the underlying law affecting the ability to have recognizable Title and Claims registered on title, then nothing will change. Another example of just changing present law instead of adding new rights is this: I have been trying to find the law the my other professor mentioned in class that there is an old law that allows anyone to stake a claim on any land at any time (not verbatim, but in layman terms) just so long that they prove that there is a valuable mineral worth mining/digging for. One of the issues First Nations have is companies coming on to their land and mining/digging/using up natural resources to gain access to this mineral! Apparently, this law is really, really old and has been around since almost beginning of Canada. Oh, and there is a lot of legislation dealing with mining, so its a tough job!
2. The second problem is this: Who gets the interest in the land once someone defaults on their mortgage or loan? Is it just returned back to the bank? Then do the banks/mortgagees decide who takes over the loan or mortgage (which they do today with non-reserve land)? So, do Aboriginals then “lose” their land to the bank or mortgage company? Do Aboriginals “get the land back”? And is this default registered on title or is just dismissed like other Aboriginal claims/interests? These are the questions that need to be asked and issues presented when ideas like these are discussed! Strictly speaking to just what are the benefits fails to acknowledge the entire picture!
3. The third problem is that it’s not individuals that will be allowed to own the lands. It will be corporations! How crazy is that! That is even worse than non-FN individuals–we have corporations which are recognized as persons under the court of law…persons who have a lot more money, power, resources, etc. and also protected under anti-terrorism law in Canada.
In the end, majority of Canadians believe that Aboriginals can and would be better off with this legislation (ie-privatization might be better for First Nations)! Anyone can know this, just by simply viewing comments/posts on articles relating to First Nations. The racial comments. The stereotypical point of views. The over-generalizations. Yes, hurtful and ignorant, but they all agree with one thing: First Nations shouldn’t need government help or that Canadians shouldn’t be responsible for First Nations anymore.
What does this mean though when it comes to privatization of land? What does this mean for pushing forward self-governance? Do we just create another hierarchical organization to deal with each First Nation or one collectively working organization dealing with everyone as a nation (which is just plain bad)? Furthermore, how will privatization affect current law that remains unchanged? What does the term privatization actually entail and on what agreements (will they be non-binding and un-registerable)? All these terms and ideas sound really, really great but what do they really mean and what are the actual outcomes, not just the benefits, is what needs to be discussed!
I didn't realize that the land would be owned by corporations, which speaks to something else: all of our land is owned by corporations, really–municipalities, etc, and banks–and we never think about it much. It's occurred to me before, but seemed one of those things that is just "the way it is."So if other people are ignorant about why First Nations people see this as a bad thing, it's probably because we have no understanding at all of how the system works now, and our cultural bias (like most people's) says, "Our way works for us, so it should work for everyone."That being said… I don't think our way *does* work that well, and if there's an opportunity to do something better, that's probably a better idea.
Thank you for your comment Amanda 🙂