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Yes, Americans Owned Land Before Columbus | JSTOR Daily
"What you were taught in elementary school about Native Americans not owning land is a myth. The truth is much more complicated."



"There’s a myth that Europeans arrived in the Americas and divided the land up, mystifying Native Americans who had no concept of property rights. In reality, historian Allen Greer writes, various American societies had highly-developed systems of property ownership and use. Meanwhile, European colonists sometimes viewed land as a common resource, not just as individual property.

The mythic vision of clashing views of property goes back to John Locke. In 1689, the Enlightenment philosopher contrasted the “wild Indian” in America with the European property owner. Locke’s imaginary “Indian” had the right to the deer he kills but no claim on the forest itself. In contrast, Locke argued, white men could own property because they mixed their labor with the land, clearing, cultivating, and fencing it.

In reality, Greer writes, most people in the pre-Columbian Americas were primarily farmers, not hunter-gatherers. Around major Mesoamerican cities, cropland might be owned by households, temples, or urban nobles. As in Europe, less-cultivated areas like forests and deserts acted as a kind of regulated commons. They might belong to a person, family, or community, with legal provisions for local people to gather wood, berries, or game. In Iroquois and Algonquian nations, women in a particular family typically owned specific maize fields, although people of the area often farmed them, and distributed the harvest, collectively.

Even among North American hunter-gatherer nations, Greer writes, societies often allocated hunting grounds to specific families. And these people didn’t simply harvest nature’s bounty. They used techniques like diverting streams and burning underbrush to manage the land to ensure future harvests.

If the idea of pre-Columbian America as a universal commons is a myth, so is the story that Europeans immediately divided the land into individual plots of private property. Greer notes that in Mexico and other parts of the Americas, Spaniards established pastures and other common lands around their cities. Officials granted parts of this land to individual owners, but much of it remained a municipal commons owned by the town, with all residents entitled to share its bounty.

Similarly, in colonial New England, communal pastures were common. Some towns also used open-field tillage systems in which people owned plots of cropland individually but managed them collectively. It was only gradually, over the course of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, that New Englanders divided most agricultural land into family farms.

When Native and colonial conceptions of property clashed, it was sometimes in the form of Europeans imposing their ideas of common land on territory that was already owned. Colonists often allowed their livestock to roam freely, disrupting the forest ecosystems and ownership systems that provided a livelihood for local people. As a Maryland Native leader named Mattagund explained to colonial authorities, “Your cattle and hogs injure us. You come too near to us to live and drive us from place to place.”

When individual private property did finally become the norm across the Americas, it was through the destruction of prior systems of property rights."
history  ownership  property  2019  land  rights  propertyrights  allengreer 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
Mariner East 2: Sunoco’s public utility status trumps local regulation, court says | StateImpact Pennsylvania
Sunoco won a court battle over the siting of its Mariner East 2 pipeline on Tuesday when a panel of judges ruled against an effort to assert local control over where the pipeline can be built.
stateimpact  naturalgas  pipeline  propertyrights 
february 2018 by eversourcenh
Mariner East 2: Sunoco’s public utility status trumps local regulation, court says | StateImpact Pennsylvania
Sunoco won a court battle over the siting of its Mariner East 2 pipeline on Tuesday when a panel of judges ruled against an effort to assert local control over where the pipeline can be built.
stateimpact  naturalgas  pipeline  propertyrights 
february 2018 by northernpass
Students criticize University investments at teach-in
Yale’s Linsly-Chittenden Hall 102 was filled to the brim Saturday afternoon, as students took the stage one-by-one to criticize Yale’s investments in areas ranging from the fossil fuel industry to the debts of distressed government.
yaledailynews  Pessamit  propertyrights  opponents 
february 2018 by northernpass
Northern Pass a likely target of ordinances | New Hampshire
The push is on to adopt Rights-Based Ordinances in two Grafton County towns with Northern Pass the probable target.
UnionLeader  propertyrights  opposition 
january 2018 by northernpass
SAMSON: Locked out
For centuries, people in rural communities have battled absentee landlords looking to extract wealth with little regard for local lands, jobs and customs. Coos County, the northernmost county in New Hampshire, is in such a battle with a 21st century twist — the landlord is one of the world’s most prestigious universities, publicly dedicated to “light and truth.”
yalenews  op-ed  samson  wagnerforest  propertyrights 
january 2018 by northernpass
The NIMBY Veto: Community rights don't exist | New Hampshire
Under the misleading banner of “community rights,” a group of people opposed to developing New Hampshire’s infrastructure is trying to give New Hampshire towns the right to veto just about anything being built.
UnionLeader  editorial  northernpass  nimby  propertyrights 
november 2017 by eversourcenh
The NIMBY Veto: Community rights don't exist | New Hampshire
Under the misleading banner of “community rights,” a group of people opposed to developing New Hampshire’s infrastructure is trying to give New Hampshire towns the right to veto just about anything being built.
UnionLeader  editorial  nimby  propertyrights 
november 2017 by northernpass

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