Date: 01 Jul 2008

A Brief History of Native American Land Ownership

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This study examines the literature in several fields in order to paint a picture of the history of the relationship between Native Americans and land. The study is especially interested in how this relationship evolved over time and in identifying the key events that mark changes in this relationship. Literature from archeology, anthropology, economics, and Native American studies are examined in order to gain insight into the evolution of how Native Americans have related to land over the past few thousand years. Most of the emphasis in this study is upon the more recent past, primarily because it is more relevant to the present (and future), and because there is more information available.

First, the study examines some of the key economics literature regarding how private property rights evolve. Second, the study looks at some of the archeological and anthropological literature regarding the relationship between Native Americans and land during two major eras: pre-Columbian and post-Columbian. Finally, the study discusses the implications of the past on the present and future of the relationship between Native Americans and land.