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
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.