Divide and Conquer: Privatizing Indigenous Land Ownership as Capital Accumulation

Rebecca Jane Hall


In 2012, the Harper administration announced that it would be exploring voluntary legislation to introduce private property into First Nations reserves. Drawing on Marx’s theories of primitive accumulation and ground-rent, this paper argues that privatizing communally held land is an ontological and structural dispossession, serving the dual functions of intensifying existing capital accumulation through the organizing role of private property, and creating a new space of accumulation as land itself becomes “fictitious capital.”


Indigenous politics; colonialism; primitive accumulation; ground rent; Indigenous resistance; private property

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Studies in Political Economy:
Online ISSN 1918-7033
Print ISSN 0707-8552