A great piece by my friend Joseph Quesnel on native property rights. This is something I very much support. What we are doing now is not working. This is a good first step to help end Native poverty.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) has ordered a study of economically successful First Nations in order to learn how all native communities can enjoy improved economic success. A list of the 65 top-performing reserves has been drawn up, and INAC officials will interview their leaders.
Unfortunately, some aboriginal leaders already have become suspicious that the plan is actually about “privatizing” reserve lands. As a result, the project has become bogged down in a tired debate about whether or not private property rights are right for natives.
Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn Atleo said the initiative will create fear among the 600 or so chiefs affiliated with the AFN, who, he claims, already have “rejected” a private-property orientation. Chief Gilbert Whiteduck of Kitigan Zibi First Nation said: “Would I expect [Indian Affairs] to reveal [their motives]? Not for a minute. Why would they want to reveal that to First Nations when their ultimate goal, I believe, is assimilation. The White Paper is still alive and well.”