The history of USA and Indian land is abominable, but relentless. Here is the answer to the wrong question:
“Under the Obama Administration, we have strived to build a new era for civil rights at USDA and ensure all customers and employees are treated fairly. As part of this commitment, we have consulted with Indian tribes to improve USDA policies, including the new lending program we are announcing today,” said Val Dolcini Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator. “As a direct result of more than a dozen tribal meetings across the country, USDA is able to implement a solution to a longstanding barrier to financing, which will increase the availability of farm loans to Native Americans who want to start or expand a farming or ranching operation on Indian lands.”
Under the 1887 Dawes Act, Indian reservation land was divided and allotted to individual tribal members such that with the passing of each generation, title ownership was divided and parceled among heirs, while the land was not. As a result, land once owned by a single person could today be owned by hundreds or thousands of individuals, resulting in what is known as “highly fractionated Indian land.” In many instances, landowners are unknown or cannot be located, which complicates the coordination of ownership or prevents the use of the property altogether. There are more than 245,000 owners of three million fractionated land interests, spanning approximately 150 Indian reservations.
In capitalism, loans at interest are the traditional way to dispossess people. What has been standing in the way of dispossession now is Indian lands are in effect owned by too many people. Even a quiet title action would be onerous. So let's do what we always do: bury the Indians in paperwork, cut corners, and at the end of the day, we've got the land, they've got the bible.
How about a different question: Since free markets is natural and traditional to Indians, how do we restore free markets to the Indians? And in free markets, no one owns lands, so the above answer respondes to the wrong question. Time to start with the right question.
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