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What is Land Management?

Land management is the day-to-day management and administration of reserve lands, environment, and resources. It generally includes activities related to the benefit of use and development of land for individual, collective, and economic purposes.

As identified in the Indian Act, reserve land is “a tract of land, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, which has been set apart by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of a band”. Reserve lands are different from other land in that:

  • Legal title to reserve lands is held by the Crown rather than by individuals or organizations
  • First Nations have a recognized interest in reserve land that includes the right to exclusive use and occupation, inalienability, and the communal nature of the interest
  • The land cannot be seized by legal process and cannot be mortgaged or pledged to non-members of a First Nation
  • The Minister must approve or grant most land transactions under the Indian Act

Land Responsibilities

The Constitution Act of 1867 gives Parliament authority over “Indians and lands reserved for the Indians.” The Indian Act, in place since 1876, was passed by Parliament under this authority and sets out the land management responsibilities of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development for much of the reserve lands in Canada.

Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) provides land management services to First Nations across Canada. Land management generally includes activities related to the ownership, use and development of land for personal, community and economic purposes.