The Toledo Maya Land Rights Case The ongoing

The Toledo Maya Land Rights Case The ongoing

The Toledo Maya Land Rights Case The ongoing struggles for indigenous land rights are strongly rooted in colonial political economy. These struggles largely concern lands that were claimed by the colonial state and institutions that were established to settle the Maya and win hegemony over them: in particular the Alcaldes and Indian reservations Wainwright, 2008 'In cruel irony, those same authorities, from the colonial period to the present, have blamed the Kekchi's footloose migratory ways, their inability to invest in permanent agriculture, on what is claimed as their custom of communal and tenure. They have certainly adapted to the system and may now prefer to keep it, but the reserves are not customary

or traditional' Wilk, 1991 Wainwright, J. (2008). Decolonizing development: colonial power and the Maya. Blackwell Publishing Wilk, R. R. (1991). Household ecology: economic change and domestic life among the Kekchi Maya in Belize. University of Arizona Press. 'The post-independence state desired territorialisation, the binding of nation and territoryThe Maya would be settled to identify with property and the nation' Wainwright 2008 Wainwright, J. (2008). Decolonizing development: colonial power and the Maya. Blackwell Publishing The Maya atlas is the first community made atlas. All other atlases are made by professional mapmakers who most often live and work far from the places on the pages Their decision was prompted by the government of Belizes claims that the Maya peoples

were squatters and immigrants on Crown Lands, and that they had no communal, historic or indigenous land rights, therefore the government of Belize was free to grant logging, toxic waste dumping and road building concessions on what the Maya people said was their land 'The Maya system is basically still run by the rules of the traditional Mayas, although this is not recognised by the present Belizean government. The Maya do not know about lease land Maya Atlas, 1997 The Ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice CCJ Appellate Jurisdiction, 2015 The judgment of the Court of Appeal of Belize is affirmed insofar as it holds that Maya customary

land tenure exists in the Maya villages in the Toledo District and gives rise to collective and individual property rights within the meaning of sections 3(d) and 17 of the Belize Constitution. 3. Whereas every person in Belize is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely: (d) protection from arbitrary deprivation of property Section 3(d) of the Belize Constitution The Chief Justice went on to hold that the claimants rights and interests in lands based on Maya customary land tenure were not outwith the protection afforded by the Belize Constitution but rather, constituted a kind or species of property that is deserving of the protection the Belize Constitution accords to property in general. The parties mutually recognize and have given legal and constitutional effect to the umbilical relationship between the Maya people of southern Belize and the land and its resources that have long provided physical and spiritual sustenance to them and their forebears The constitutional authority of the Government over all lands in Belize is not affected by this order.

What do different people see as the basis for Maya Land Rights? Historical occupation/ tradition/ link to particular lands? Why should I have to go through government process when my ancestors were here already. We raise here, we grow here, we know the lands, and we survive on the land Inclusion of particular villages in court cases? Mayaness? Nationality? The desire to qualify as national citizens while staking indigenous claims to territory is an aporia that characterises the postcolonial situation' Wainwright, 2008

Adherence to a customary land allocation system or a way of life? To me its the way how we live and the way how we use our land. We get food, medicines, lots of things from the forest It is about land, about culture, about the rules. It doesnt matter if black, white, Qeqchi or Mopan. Wainwright, J. (2008). Decolonizing development: colonial power and the Maya. Blackwell Publishing What might result from the consultations? Solutions to suit different types of land use practices? At the end of the day everyone can benefit. Commissioner State power? It is still the government that has the power to deal with the lands in Belize. Commissioner To be effective in court, the maps that show indigenous land must position those claims within the states territory. The possibilities that mapping indigenous lands might reveal the fiction of state claims to sovereignty

over a given territory is blunted by the explicit goal of formulating claims that can be recognized by the state. Wainwight and Bryan, 2009 Racial tension? Do we have to be involved as Maya people? We want development. They just want to grow corn The most counterintuitive outcome is the remaking of racial hierarchy Efforts to set limits on Maya cultural rights, without returning to the classic racism of times past, involve a series of loosely articulated approaches, but rarely coordinated or thought through as such Hale, 2005 Titling and privatisation? Hale, C. R. (2005). Neoliberal multiculturalism. PoLAR: political and legal anthropology review, 28(1), 10-19. Wainwright, J., & Bryan, J. (2009). Cartography, territory, property: postcolonial reflections on indigenous counter-mapping in Nicaragua and Belize. Cultural Geographies, 153178.

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