Territories were recognized among bands and defense of territory was a major

Territories were recognized among bands and defense

This preview shows page 140 - 142 out of 150 pages.

as allocated by the group were exercised. Territories were recognized among bands and defense of territory was a major basis of conflict between bands not at peace. Thus the Aboriginal concept of property was communal as well as private, not totally dissimilar to our concept of property as a bundle of rights. The historic practices of defining property persist in the system of customary property rights that has evolved on reserves. In earlier times when populations on reserves were small and there was a comparatively large land supply, Band councils could allow establishment of customary rights through occupation and improvement, not unlike homesteading among Europeans in the ceded lands. As populations have grown and reserved lands have not been expanded to meet the growing need, conflicts have developed. In many cases, there is a formalized process developed for establishment of land rights on the reserves as well as mechanisms for resolving disputed. In other cases, these developments have yet to mature and there are an increasing number of issues such as abrogation of customary rights by councils and eviction of non-Indians and non-band members from reserves. Indian Act Concepts of Property Indians on reserves may not own property as individuals. See Possession of Lands in Reserves , section 20 The Indian Act RSC 1985 c. I-5. Certificates of possession provide a formal system of establishment of rights to land on reserves they do not provide a sound basis for use of land for economic development. While on some reserves massive areas of land are set aside for Indians, they have little capacity to mobilize that potential wealth. One can not use the certificate as the basis of leveraging capital and investment for development. As a result, Indians are the poorest segment of Canadian society. Land and natural resources are held collectively and until recently these assets have not been instrumental in economic development for First Nations people. More recently, the formation of “native corporations” and development of “Red enterprise” has occurred and reserve lands are becoming a more important element in the economic development of Indian people. The complexities of property and issues of jurisdiction make the planning of land and development on Indian reserves a difficult proposition. The reserves are governed by
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elected councils of the band. Land use planning is done under council by-law under section 81(1) (g) of the Indian Act. The reserve remains the jurisdiction of the Crown; however, under self-government agreements within the reserve, the Band has the authority to make land use plans and decisions. This is the result of the development of the 1996 Framework Agreements and the passing of the First Nations Land Management Act, 1999 . This act enables an opting-in process that provides the Indian Band with the authority to enact laws respecting “the development, conservation, protection, management use and possession of reserve land”. This authority includes that making of laws and plans regarding “the
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