My friend and I were discussing the difference between privately owned land and native territory. He said, “it confuses me when Native American tribes talk about our culture “occupying” their tribal lands, because they also talk about the lack of property and land ownership espoused by their tribes. I get that their culture is inherently better for the land etc than ours is, and that there are many senses in which we very much are occupying the land we inhabit. I’m just confused about how the distinctions in terms of holding land, personal property, societal goods, etc work. Does that make sense?”
To which I said that it is important to note that native tribes have been forced to adopt the language and laws of civilization in effort to protect what little they’ve been left with. Also, I said, it clears things up in my eye if I actually view the land as being literally our mother. We all have mothers that we call “ours”, but that doesn’t mean they’re ours to own and exploit. Civilization is inherently colonial, thus it operates on a frame of mind that views natural life as something to dominate and capitalize on, not something to enter into a relationship with.
I was wondering if anyone had any other thoughts or ideas about tribal territory vs. private land, and/or civilized vs. noncivilized relationships to our land-base in general?