Unsettled indigenous land claims
Invasion of indigenous lands
Denial of indigenous rights to resources
Violation of land rights of a people
Unresolved land claims
The lands of native tribes may be seized by 'civilized' outsiders for the development and exploitation of natural resources. Either the tribes are simply dispossessed and become dependent on the invaders or else they are relocated on land (reservations) which is usually of poor quality. If mineral or other resources are found on reservation territory, it may be expropriated without compensation to the tribes.
The concept that land can be owned, bought and sold is relatively new. Many a people had never even heard of land ownership until white people came to their areas and started laying claims on land. Expropriation began with early colonization in the 16th and 17th centuries, reached a peak with the European settlement of North America and Africa, and continues today. The problem has existed in all colonized countries and still exists where the indigenous population does not have control over the government and political independence. Even in such circumstances minority tribes may have their land expropriated (such as in Indonesia). The fact that many such tribes are nomadic, facilitates the seizure of their land and increases the risk of their extinction since the remaining less fertile land is insufficient for their way of life. They become dependent on the new landowners as a slave class and find it difficult to adapt to the new way of living so that it is difficult for them to improve their lot, thus being exploited in employment as they were exploited in the uncompensated seizure of their land. Expropriation denies the right of ownership to indigenous people.
Indigenous people see their lands as gifts from their creator which they hold in trust for future generations. Expropriation of land is a violation of this belief. Native spirituality is intimately linked to the landforms and the natural world. The land is a source of food, medicine and clothing. It is a part of the human soul: the earth and its inhabitants are infused with the same spirit. Private ownership is an assault on the relationship between the indigenous people and the land.