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Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights [Hardcover]

Tom Flanagan , Christopher Alcantara , Andre Le Dressay
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 1 2010
While land claims made by Canada's aboriginal peoples continue to attract attention and controversy, there has been almost no discussion of the ways in which First Nations lands are managed and the property rights that have been in place since the Indian Act of 1876. "Beyond the Indian Act" looks at these issues and questions whether present land practices have benefitted Canada's aboriginal peoples. Challenging current laws and management, this illuminating work proposes the creation of a new system that would allow First Nations to choose to have full ownership of property, both individually and collectively. The authors not only investigate the current forms of property rights on reservations but also expose the limitations of each system, showing that customary rights are insecure, certificates of possession cannot be sold outside the First Nation, and leases are temporary. As well, analysis of legislation, court decisions, and economic reports reveals that current land management has led to unnecessary economic losses.The authors propose creation of a First Nations Property Ownership Act that would make it possible for First Nations to take over full ownership of reserve lands from the Crown, arguing that permitting private property on reserves would provide increased economic advantages. An engaging and well-reasoned book, "Beyond the Indian Act" is a bold argument for a new system that could improve the quality of life for First Nations people in communities across the country.

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Review

"You don't have to travel to Zambia or Peru to see dead capital. All you need to do is visit a reserve in Canada. First Nation people own assets, but not with the same instruments as other Canadians. They're frozen into an Indian Act of the 1870s so they can't easily trade their valuable resources. Beyond the Indian Act provides strategies to correct this so First Nation people can generate wealth in a manner that other Canadians take for granted." Hernando de Soto, President, Institute for Liberty and Democracy


"Anyone who is concerned with the welfare of First Nations in Canada will be interested in this book. This coherent and in-depth work covers a wide array of issues and shows that full property rights for aboriginal peoples are long overdue." Moin A. Yahya, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta


“This second edition of the book contains a postscript which reports on the reception given to the authors’ proposal for a First Nations Property Act. Responses to a promotional tour by the authors in spring 2010 were, they report, predominantly favourable. Although the Assembly of First Nations passed a resolution at its annual general meeting in July 2010 which condemned the notion of a First Nations Property Act, positive responses from ten First Nations were elicited by spring 2011. Subsequent developments, in 2012, in western Canada, have revealed complex patterns of conflict about property ownership and economic development within and between First Nations. These recent developments, including Aboriginal peoples’ property ownership in urban areas, are likely to sustain discussion of Aboriginal property rights.” British Journal of Canadian Studies

About the Author

Tom Flanagan is professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary and author of Harper's Team: Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power and First Nations? Second Thoughts. Christopher Alcantara is assistant professor of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. André Le Dressay is director of Fiscal Realities Economists and holds a PhD in Economics from Simon Fraser University. C.T. (Manny) Jules is chief of the First Nations Tax Commission and a former chief of the Kamloops Indian Band.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A question of vertification Dec 9 2010
Format:Hardcover
Beyond the Indian Act is informative if you wish to understand the history of First Nation governance of our land by the Indian Act. Mr. Flanagan is hoping to to convince First Nations by basing his loose research on inferences about our land dealings before the Europeans came to this country. Largely unsubstantiated and a lot of inference by the writers. In one instance he uses Nipissing First Nation as an example of how the First Nations Land Management Act can work for non-native business the only trouble is that all the businesses quoted are First Nations and the only Canadian business was there before the act was put in place. One simple phone call during his research could have solved that problem. Basically a weak attempt to convince First Nations to change their thinking about sharing the land versus dividing up First Nations into fee simple lots and of course the disintegration of aboriginal land base as we know it. His concern is for our economic benefit, but I really think it's in the best of interest of the government that we dissolve under this plan.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bringing an End to the Aboriginal Chaos Jan. 6 2013
Format:Paperback
I read this book because I wanted to better understand why there seems to be so many problems in the aboriginal communities i.e. poverty, drug abuse, suicide, etc & why we do not appear to be able to do anything about it. This book, although extremely complicated to read, did in the end clarify for me why they are having so many problems & provided a clear path forward to correct this issue once & for all. I can only hope that all involved will now work together to correct this very important issue.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book April 19 2012
By Sam B - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A fascinating book, even if a bit scholarly, but very readable.

I was interested in why the First Nations had such a bad reputation (poor, not wanting to work etc) but this book sheds a lot of light as to what our legal structure had enabled and hampered society in general.

While the First Nation Act had the intention to protect the First Nations against unscrupulous white bandits/traders/entrepreneurs, this has now become a major hindrance to development.

The 3 authors go through history, and case by case examine how developments have enabled an "ESCAPE" from the Indian Act in Canada, a lot quite recently ( 1990-2005).
There have been incremental steps, allowing certainty of ownership, transfer of land, and then raising property tax, that lead to an improved investment climate, resulting in the case of the Westbank First Nations property value going from 15'000$/acer in 1991 to over a million $ in 2007.

It describes the Dawas Act in the US which was a big failure (1887-1934) even if one could see the logic that was applied at that time.

I was not aware of this gradual evolution, led by the first nations, taking responsibility for their own affairs, and in effect becoming proper citizens of a land which they were in before the big waves of immigrants.

It does not have a "bitter" taste or slant, or even a "militant" bias. It just want to re-establish ordinary rights, so that the "dependancy " is removed, administration is not a complex and tremendously long & drawn affair, transparency is re-established, so that they can govern their own land.
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