Native Americans are buying back land and rebuilding territories. After hundreds of years of relegation to ‘reservations’, tribes across the US are increasingly buying back lands lost during colonization. Beginning in the 1970s, the trend has recently picked up pace, with one tribe in Wisconsin re-acquiring a full two-thirds of it’s original 65,432-acre reservation throughout the last twenty years, with more examples of purchasing popping up around the country.
After hundreds of years of theft and disenfranchisement, Native Americans are utilizing the very same private property rights systems once used to push them out, to regain access to and control of their original territories. While the land being rightfully returned to its original inhabitants is a positive sign of progress, what might this mean for the future of Native American relationships with non-natives and land?
Will the recently purchased land be subject to tax in the same way that other US land is (reservations are not subject to normal US federal and state taxes)? And, will this new ownership instead of stewardship role – especially if it is going to need to support tax levies – change relationships to the land?