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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
The Heritage Community Foundation, Alberta Law Foundation and Albertasource.ca
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The Land

Indigenous Peoples

Constitutional rights
and responsibilities

Social Reality

Rights of
Interpretation

Origin of
Interpretation

Exercised as a
People

Definition of People

Great Turtle Island

Relationships

Equality

Survival for
All Beings

Survival for
the People

Right to Exist

Implications

The Land

Spirit of the Land

Judicial and Fiscal Order

Empowering

Visual representation of nature's laws


The People have as their heritage the Land given by the Ancestors or the creator; it remains a part of the universe over which they have no control…it is subject only to the rule of sharing.

There is no doubt about the distinctive sense of Land that undergird Nature’s Laws. Its role touches every protocol and rule in some way or other. Indigenous constitutional notions of Land are difficult to incorporate into Western property law simply because in the Indigenous case, land cannot be owned by an individual or specialized group within the community. Land is 'held' for the public good. This means that it is retained as a permanent legacy for all Peoples, by the tribe or community who has control over it. The closest equivalence in Western law is the notion of Crown Title. Henderson, Benson and Finlay in their book Aboriginal Tenure in the Constitution of Canada argue that Indigenous Peoples "own" land functionally equivalent to Crown land, that is, land that is held for the public interest, but belongs to no one person, as Walter Felix indicates:

The land that we gave up did not even 'belong' to us. Land belongs to no one. At most it belongs to those who are using it. I believe that a person could not own land. They were simply stewards on the land. Elder Walter Felix, Oct. 2001.

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