Nisga'a First Nation: This Land is My Land

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Today, our Project Money visits the Nisga'a First Nation, the first Aboriginal group ready to approve ownership of private property. Laura Lynch looks at a plan some are excited to begin and others want to stop before it starts in her documentary, This Land is My Land.



Many of Canada's First Nations people have a powerful, some would say spiritual, connection with the land. But many don't possess something that even a humble suburban bungalow dweller owns -- a deed to the property.


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Nisga'a government's economic development officer, Bert Mercer is set to become a property owner of his land.
He's one of the first to take advantage of the new law.

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Larry Tait is a veteran of the annual hunt
for pine mushrooms. Pine mushrooms
are abundant in the Nass Valley in the fall
but it's not enough to live on year round.

As part of Project Money, we're going to north-western BC now, to the Nass Valley, home to the Nisga'a Nation.

This is not exactly where you'd expect dramatic economic change, but the Nisga'a are experimenting with something new for a First Nation. They are allowing individuals to own private property... so far, 3 people are now landowners.


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Bonnie Stanley runs the popular Fish and Chips shop called 'U Seafood U eat it'. She's served people from all over the world ... from Hawaii to Egypt. Bonnie would like to open a bigger restaurant (right) and is the kind of entrepreneur to benefit from becoming a property owner.

The CBC's Laura Lynch travelled there a few weeks ago to find out what's going on and why this is such a break with the past... and so controversial.

Laura Lynch's documentary is called This Land is My Land.


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Joseph Gosnell was the first president of the Nisga'a Nation. He sees the rewards and risks of giving citizens legal
title to their residential land. For him, he says it's a balance between respecting tradition and living in a modern time.


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