I have recently had a lot of time to think about the concept of land ownership and European history. When placed into the context of North America, land ownership seems to be a concept that was introduced by European immigrants since 1492. The North American Indigenous Nations had no such concept of land as being something to be owned by man. In fact, a Cherokee friend of mine once said, “Who can own a tree? Who can own a rock? Only the great spirit.” I think I am paraphrasing some but this is the essence of what she said.
Prior to the European discovery of North America, the indigenous did not have the concept of land ownership and class. One had the inalienable right to have a home and to live but one was expected to live cooperatively and be a participating member to help the group thrive. Throughout my studies of the North American Indigenous I have not once come across any system even remotely close to a landlord-tenant one. The concept of land ownership was exported from Europe to the Americas.
The earlier Europeans to arrive on the shores of North America began to set up systems of land use similar to the ones of their homelands. The poorer of Europeans had fled their homelands because of this unjust system so they were part of the contingent that expanded westward so that they could live rent-free outside of a town, settlement, or trading post. The wealthier of the European immigrants followed in the expansion westward but used their access to the legal system to stake land ownership claims and force the poorer into a landlord-tenant arrangement.
In today’s trying economic times, we really need to abolish the landownership system of the last 250 plus years. Land ownership is something that is completely unnecessary and can be distilled to unbridled greed and avarice. The uniquely European notion that land must be owned and the poor subjugated must end. The indigenous nations that stewarded the land prior to the European invasion, had a system far more healthy and sustainable. By the very rights that we are living and breathing creatures, we should not be subjugated into a landlord-tenant system. We have the right to live free from being forced to pay for our shelter.