Remote Human Settlements in Developed Nations
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Andrew Taylor, Dean B. Carson, Prescott C. Ensign, Lee Huskey, Rasmus O. Rasmussen and Gertrude Saxinger
Jan Salmon and Wayne Edwards INTRODUCTION This chapter compares the land rights of Indigenous people in the United States and in the Northern Territory, Australia. In both cases, the Indigenous peoples were the traditional owners of land but were displaced and dispossessed of their lands with the arrival of white settlers. This occurred violently through the use of guns, poison and disease, and the degradation of natural habitats. In the cases of the American Indians and the Northern Territory Indigenous people a reserve system was used to isolate Indigenous people, which led to a mixing of different tribes on lands which were not necessarily ancestral lands. The historical events that led to Indigenous land rights differed, as did the mechanisms to establish land rights, treaties, corporation laws and laws acknowledging traditional ties to lands. However, the communality of a narrow economic base has had similar implications for lifestyles and settlement patterns for Indigenous people in the United States and the Northern Territory. Sovereignty among Indigenous Peoples in the United States In the United States, there are three aggregated groups of Indigenous peoples: American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. People in all three groups lost ancestral lands to white settlers, and all three groups have made attempts to regain some of their land and obtain sovereign recognition from the federal government. Only American Indians have achieved any measure of sovereignty, while both American Indians and Alaska Natives have received settlements involving the transfer of land and other assets from the...
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