POLITICS

Residents skeptical about private land on reserves

08/09/2012 01:03 EDT | Updated 10/08/2012 05:12 EDT
Some people living on the Morley reserve near Calgary are not convinced a federal government proposal to allow private ownership of land will make an economic difference.

The Conservative government wants to introduce legislation that would allow people living on reserves to own their own property.

Right now all property located within a reserve is owned by the band.

The Conservatives believe private ownership will spur economic activity.

Preston Twoyoungmen, who owns an employment agency on the Morley reserve, says some people may benefit from the change.

"However, for the larger population, it won't be good at all, simply because they don't have the knowledge component needed to make the decisions that come with that," said Twoyoungmen.

"And they don't have the lifestyle historically, financially to support making a payment."

Local mother welcomes idea

Denette Rider and her six children have lived on and off the Morley reserve.

She says the proposed change would allow her to fulfill the dream of having a small farm.

"Because we live in a community that is owned by the band and the house is owned by the band, we're kind of left without having the option of having extra land so we can have cattle and use the land the way we want to utilize it."

About 4,500 people live on the Morley reserve northwest of Calgary.