No People Owns the Land
“Some of our chiefs make the claim that the land belongs to us. It is not what the Great Spirit told me. He told me that the lands belong to Him, that no people owns the land; that I was not to forget to tell this to the white people when I met them in council.”
Kanchuk, Kichapoo prophet
“No tribe has the right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers…Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Didn’t the Great Spirit make them for the use of his children?”
“This is what was spoken by my great-grandfather at the house he made for us…And these are the words that were given him by the Master of Life: At some time there shall come among you a stranger, speaking a language you do not understand. He will try to buy the land from you, but do not sell it; keep it as an inheritance to your children.”
Aseenewub, Red Lake Ojibwe
If you wonder why then did the Indians sell the land to the white man, here is an explanation.
“Suppose a white man should come to me and say, “Joseph, I like your horses. I want to buy them.”
I say to him, “No, my horses suit me; I will not sell them.”
Then he goes to my neighbor and says to him. “Joseph has some good horses. I want to buy them, but he refuses to sell.”
My neighbor answers, “Pay me the money, and I will sell you Joseph’s horses.”
The white man returns to me and says, “Joseph, I have bought your horses and you must let me have them.”
If we sold our lands to the government; this is the way they bought them.”
Chief Joseph, Nez Perce
Civilization begins with the ownership and exploitation of land. Unless it stops, we are likely to continue to go where our modern civilization seems to be taking us.
December 23, 2006