[permaculture] private property and forests

Bob Waldrop 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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