An article on Land Dispossession


The other thing that has struck me is how private land is so much a part of the areas in and around where I live now in Thunder Bay and the impact of that way of thinking, and how it feels to live around that privitization, especially while raising children. Where I myself was not defined by boundaries, or at least, they were different ones, my children have that feeling of having to double check, am I overstepping a boundary here, that constant recognition. I suppose it also comes down to the borders, the frontera, the geopolitical realities.

Being 300 plus km from my home community is a different feeling…. altogether. Land is such a huge concept, and traditional territories- that knowledge of where, or why, of who , and the stories of the Land.

We live in a world dominated by the principle of private property. Once indigenous people were dispossessed of their lands, the land was surveyed, subdivided and sold to the highest bidder. From high above, continents now appear as an endless property patchwork of green and yellow farms, beige suburban homes and metallic gray city blocks stretching from sea to shining sea.

The central logic of this regime is productivity, and indeed it has been monstrously productive. In tandem with the industrial revolution, the fruits of billions of acres of dispossessed and parceled indigenous land across the Americas, Africa, Asia, Ireland and Australia enabled two English-speaking empires – first the British and then the American – to rise to global dominance. The latter remains the most productive economy in the world.

Property also embodies and upholds a set of values and relationships to land. It propagates a utopian vision called the American Dream, wherein hard work, land and a home are platform for boundless opportunity – or at least escape – from capital domination. It separates humanity from all other animals and cements man’s mastery over the natural world and all living things.

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