04/13/2012 12:39 EDT | Updated 06/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Duncan says just 6 or 8 First Nations want private property rights

GATINEAU, Que. - First Nations are not exactly lining up for the right to own private property.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan says only a small handful of the hundreds of First Nations in Canada are open to the idea.

"There may be six or eight First Nations that are quite interested, and are signalling that they would like to have the option to go in that direction," he said Friday.

"That's about it so far."

He says in time, there may be more interest from First Nations.

Last month's budget included an announcement that the federal government will explore the notion of granting private-property rights to interested First Nations.

But First Nations chiefs have passed several resolutions against private-property ownership, arguing that such legislation would threaten First Nations control of the land.

They say privatization could lead to the sale of land out of First Nations hands, violating a sacred responsibility to future generations.

Duncan was at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que., to sign paperwork allowing 18 First Nations communities to opt out of land-control rules under the Indian Act.