Creating Opportunities for Wealth and Prosperity
The current reserve system limits opportunities for wealth and prosperity for First Nations. The Indian Act defines a reserve as a “tract of land whose title is held by the Crown” which means the Government of Canada owns the land and makes decisions related to the land. As a result, First Nation land value is reduced, land use and ownership is limited, investment is discouraged and First Nation governments have inadequate decision and building power.
The Indigenous Land Title Initiative (ILTI) was born from the idea that First Nations, not the federal government, should own their own lands and make decisions related to those lands.
This First Nation-led initiative will restore jurisdiction, giving First Nations the authority to maintain governance and to retain the power to make laws related to the use of the land.
“Why should our young families not be able to own homes on our land? Why should our elders not be able to retire using the equity they’ve acquired in those homes? My community has the same dreams that other Canadians do: to receive primary and secondary education at the same standards as other Canadians, to have post-secondary education opportunities; to acquire skills, education and meaningful employment; to live in a healthy community; to raise our families; and to own our homes”
– Michael LeBourdais, advocate of the ILTI and member of the Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band
Unlocking the Potential of Our Lands
ILTI frees the imaginations of First Nation governments, potential entrepreneurs and developers to create opportunities outside the rules and regulations of the 1876 Indian Act that governs First Nation lands today. Many people are shocked to learn First Nations do not hold title to their lands and individual members cannot hold title to a parcel or a house on reserve lands.
ILTI is designed to rightfully return ownership of current reserve lands to First Nations. First Nations governments, if they opt-into the legislative framework, will have full regulatory, tax and decision-making powers over their lands.