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I just read an article on the federal initiative to make it easier for our First Nations to secure a mortgage for homes on their Indian band reserve land. According to the article, banks rarely mortgage homes on reserves as legally they have no recourse for compensation should the home owner default on their payments. The land is community owned and laws prevent non-natives from seizing and selling native land.
The unfortunate result of this issue is that it's difficult for the First Nations that wish to become home owners to afford to purchase or build their homes. I believe everyone deserves and has a right to the opportunity of being a home owner=; yet I find it rather confusing and even conflicting that the government must come forth and provide an "insurance fund" to encourage banks to take on these unusual mortgages.
The first thing that seems out of place is the entire notion that you can get a mortgage on a permanent building where the land is not owned by the home owner. It seems illogical that anyone would want to invest in such a situation, unless of course there are some securities in place for the mortgage provider.
Second, if the reserve is intended to be a self-governed community for First Nations people where the land is owned by the band, would it not make sense that band government would need to address this issue themselves? I don't know the finer details of all this, I'm no lawyer or politician, but it seems that if mortgages are desired , then the band should take steps to make a mortgage attractive to mortgage providers? Sun Rivers seems to indicate that there is a way to achieve this result by way of long-term land leasing.
My third entry here is more of a question than a point. What exactly is the difference between being a member of a self-governed people within Canada and a "regular" Canadian citizen?
If it were a country-to-country comparison, let's pretend Australia doesn't have a certain "big box store" due to some laws that prevent this store from being able to insure their stores in Australia. Citizens of Australia really want the big box store but don't want to change their insurance laws, so hey appeal to the government where the head of the big box store is located and ask the foreign government to provide the insurance for them. Well... it doesn't make a lot of sense for the foreign government to provide insurance for a corporation to risk expanding into the Australian market. Sure they may tax the profits, but is it worth the risk? What does make sense to me is that if Australia wants the big box store, then they take the steps necessary to make it happen.
That may not be the most clear or concise analogy I've used, but as I said, I don't know much about the deeper situation. It is clear that we need to work in cooperation with our First Nations in finding ways to assist each other to have lives that are rich and healthy with equal opportunities and responsibilities -- even if they should be lived out differently.
There are a lot of things that we can contribute to one another, but there really needs to be a symbiosis and an understanding that to live life differently than your neighbor does mean you'll have different roles, challenges and responsibilities than they do. If they have something in their lives that we want, it's not up to them to find a way for us to get it...
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