Sustainable Indigenous Land Trust

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Summary

This is a public policy proposal which would result in the formation of a new Assistant Secretariat in the United States Department of the Interior to administer a Land Trust. This office will review and approve community charters for the formation of permanent settlements on the public lands managed by DOI. These settlements may be thought of as ecovillages, self-governing within their jurisdiction and adhering to strict ecological standards for all land uses, including zero waste and carbon neutrality.

Each community will have fair and transparent processes for managing membership and land use, granting lifetime leases to new members and shorter leases for community businesses. Within this framework, the members may build sustainable homes and livelihoods using renewable energy, appropriate technologies for building and agriculture practices, producing food, fiber, and fuel while protecting and enhancing the ecosystems they inhabit.

These communities may be chartered by Native American peoples who have been pushed over generations onto the least hospitable land, African-Americans who have struggled for generations to build safe and just communities, foreign workers or refugees, or any legal resident of the United States. Discrimination of any sort should not be permitted, but only individuals or owner-operated businesses may be granted a lease. Construction of homes and common infrastructure will be financed by Federally backed 0% loans provided by banks who received taxpayer funds under TARP Programs.

Purpose

  • Make the maximum impact on climate change for the lowest possible cost
  • Protect public land from unsustainable extraction of fossil fuels and natural resources
  • Provide affordable, safe, sustainable housing in just communities
  • Build resilient communities that can withstand the impacts of climate change
  • Provide momentum for advances in sustainable agriculture and other appropriate technologies
  • Use lease incomes to purchase and protect our most pristine landscapes and rehabilitate those most polluted and degraded
  • Empower the creation of a new indigenous culture that places humans in their proper ecological context