Friday, November 20, 2009

Nisga'a move

As many may now be aware, the Nisga'a Nation of British Columbia has moved to liberate its citizens from the shackles of enforced poverty (read: lack of property rights). Nisga'a citizens will have the opportunity now to voluntarily own small parcels of land in fee simple (about half acre plots, so mainly their home and yard).
The difference is they can put up their home as security as it is truly theirs. They can bring that to the bank and secure loans. They can lease their home for income. They can leverage their equity for investments. In other words, they can do the things that most Canadians take for granted.
I have written about this before, so I won't go in complete detail. I have posted this in a past blog post here.
What is most impressive is this is the first step along a journey. All the naysayers cannot say that all First Nations are in love with collective land ownership. This shows that if given a chance, a voice and an opportunity, First Nations opt for something better.
I think this land system will be studied closely. Other Indian bands will be able to see how a functioning First Nation fee simple system works. All of the land, even if it is lost to outsiders for some reason, will remain Nisga'a land and be subject to Nisga'a land. So, we will see what happens. It will be very interesting. I know I will watching and hope to conduct empirical analyses within the next few years about how it is working.
For now, I lift my glass in praise to this courageous indigenous community for taking this step. I wish them well!

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