[permaculture] private property and forests
bwaldrop at cox.net
Mon Nov 10 19:26:37 EST 2008
Without getting into the various personality issues in this thread, I would
like to mention one system of communal property that worked very well until
destroyed by the US government in the late 1890s, and that was the communal
land ownership of the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles
in the 19th century Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).
I do not have the details, but all land was held in common by the tribe, and
they had a system for developing "usage rights". During this period, by all
accounts the tribes prospered greatly, and there was little if any
deprivation in the area, and in the 19th century, deprivation in many areas
elsewhere could be extreme.
The Dawes Commission was established by the US Congress to examine the
"Indian Question", and after touring these nations, it reported that there
was little crime, no hunger, operating hospitals and schools, but the Native
Americans had no "ambition" and needed to be goaded into embracing
capitalism. It recommended terminating the communal land tenure and
alloting each individual in the tribe 160 acres. This was basically a way
to steal their land for white settlement, and that is what happened. under
extreme pressure, the tribes consented, and it was pretty much all downhill
from then on.
Bob Waldrop, Oklahoma City
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