Tuscarora Signatory Tribal Community Black River
Tuscarora Signatory Tribal Community a division of the Sovran Tuscarora Nation under the auspices of the Sovran Tuscarora Nation
Food and Community are the hallmarks of Cultural Survival Purpose
The purpose of the Black River Refuge is to unify land management and human management into one balanced ecologically and economically sound whole utilizing the principles of the Community Land Trust, the sustainable food movement, cultural and traditional values.
The Tuscarora Signatory Tribal Community is the culmination of over 20 years of study, sweat, and tears over the state of the North American peoples fall into conspicuous consumerism, loss of sovereignty, and growing separation from their culture, land, mental and spiritual health. Over this time period the principal members of the Tuscarora Signatory Tribal Community have striven to bring together diverse cultures and economic models that retain the balance between the needs of the people and the needs of the land.
As our society continues the adversarial relationship with the land and each other all suffer the consequences. These principles allow for a return to a balanced and sustainable community that takes care of itself and facilitates the health, wealth, and well-being of its members. It is a seedling in as forest of ruin and destruction that has been consciously perpetrated upon culture, people, and the land.
Land the security of the People According to Sandor Katz in his groundbreaking book The Revolution will Not be Microwaved, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2006 – pg 79) he states that “Security and Survival depend on access to physical, outdoor space.” War, nationalism, displacement of indigenous people, economic dependency on governmental regulations and systems have been utilized by modern western society to control access and utilization of outdoor space. For our purposes outdoor space is defined as the hunting, fishing, living, farming areas needed for a community to survive. When individuals seek to claim and
hold the outdoors for themselves they deprive the community of the means to sustain itself. In order to facilitate a mutually beneficial utilization and ownership of the land individuals must come together in communities that seek to maximize the utilization of land that includes sustainability, and respect for each other and the land.
The Community Land Trust System is the 21st centuries solution to this balance. The modern-day Community Land Trust, as both a model and a movement, is relatively new, with the first CLTs only appearing in the United States in the 1970s. The roots of the CLT are much older. From an ethic of land stewardship found in Biblical scriptures, Native American traditions, and the New England custom of the village commons, the CLT draws its inspiration for removing land from the speculative market and managing it for the common good. From the social theories of Henry George and the social experiments of the Garden Cities Movement in England and the Jewish National Fund in Israel, the CLT derives its mechanisms for leasing land and capturing socially-created real estate gains for the benefit of a larger community. From Mahatma Gandhi and the Gramdan Movement in India, the CLT draws its concept of trusteeship, preserving access to land and housing for populations historically excluded from the economic and political mainstream. From the Civil Rights Movement in the American South, the CLT draws its commitment to open membership, inclusive governance, and direct accountability to the community it serves. This is a heritage shared by all CLTs, no matter how much their particular organizational and operational features may differ from one another. (http://www.cltnetwork.org). In essence Community Land Trust houses are privately owned homes on community owned land. The Community Land Trust structure — which uses a ground lease to define the rights and responsibilities of the individual as owner of the building, and the community as owner of the land – is a very practical and thoroughly tested means of ensuring perma-nent affordability. ( Roots of the CLT Movement, This is an
essay on the history behind the CLT movement, written in 2001 by Vicki Lindsay, founding director of the community land trust in Gloucester, MA, and member of the CLT Academy board. )This model has been practiced by many communities since the 1970’s.
In the same report she quotes: To indigenous people in all parts of the world land is sacred, and the people and the land are inseparable. A report on Philosophy of Land of Indigenous People, prepared by the World Council on Indigenous People states: The land is the basis of our culture and the basis of our existence. The land is not ours to sell, it is only ours to honour, respect and protect for our children and our children’s children. And again: Chief George Manuel, co-founder of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, is quoted: This is not the land that can be speculated, bought, sold, mortgaged, claimed by one state, surrendered or counter-claimed by a king by whose grace and favor men must make their fortunes on this earth. The land from which our culture springs is like the water and the air, one and in-divisible. The land is our Mother Earth. The animals who grow on that land are our spiritual brothers. Winona LaDuke, indigenous rights activist, former Green Party vice presidential candidate, and Director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, describes the White Earth Ojibway culture. (In the following quote she uses the term usufruct, which means, liter-ally “use of the fruits.” In law, one who possesses usufruct rights may reap all the bene-fits of the land though he does not own it, including occupancy, harvesting or hunting rights, with the condition the he must care for the land so that it is not harmed. Community Land Trust home owners have usufruct rights to the land under and around their homes:
The land is owned collectively, and we have family-based usufruct rights: each family has
traditional areas in which it fishes and hunts. In our society a person harvests rice in one
place, traps in another place, gets medicines in a third place, and picks berries in a
fourth. These locations depend on the ecosystem; they are not necessarily contiguous. In
our language the words which describe the concept of land-ownership translate as “the
land of the people”, which doesn’t imply that we own our land but that we belong to it.
When tribal lands are divided up into parcels and sold or allotted to individuals the relationship of the individual to the whole is immediately disrupted, and over time, the poor-est families lose their land altogether. In White Earth, for example, the government “gave” each family an 80-acre allotment of traditional land. Taxes were assessed on each parcel, and when the family was unable to pay the taxes, the land was seized by the government. Imposing the individual “land rights” of the dominant society radically undermines the indigenous culture.
A key aspect of the world-wide effort for the self-determination of indigenous people is the demand for the right of each people to decide its own relation-ship to the land. A report of the Word Council of Churches’ Program on Indigenous Rights concludes: To the majority of people in the dominant societies, land is viewed as a commodity, to be bought and sold for profit, fenced in, paved over, dug up….Land is a means to an end, a thing to be exploited….Contrast the view of land … of Indigenous peoples. The land is the unifying force in their lives – social, political, spiritual, cultural, economic – and to separate the people from their land is to deny their peoplehood. Change is a responsibility of the People
In April of 2010 the National Unemployment Rate was 9.5%. This is significant increase over the same indicator in 2009. According to the OECD Family database (www.oecd.org/els/social/family/database OECD – Social Policy Division – Directorate of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs) in 2007 8% of all US families are living in homes with one or both parents unable to obtain jobs. Therefore from 2007 to 2009 the rate has gone up almost 1.5%. In some areas of the country over 25% of the adult population lives under the poverty level. In the State of South Carolina the United States Department of Labor shows that over 11.5% of the total population of the state is living below the poverty level. According to State data, the area around the Black Water Refuge is at 12.5%. Nobody in or out of government is happy with these numbers. In order to effect a change, people in the form of communities need to band together and take responsibility for their own well being. This will result in the change from consumers back to citizens. A citizen is a sovereign individual who creates his/her own
initiatives and means of contributing to the community. If an individual was freed from the “tenant” mentality and actually owned his own home and contributed meaningfully to the overall community they would take control of their own destiny within the community.
The Black Water Refuge will operate under a Humanistic Economic Model. This model his an
outgrowth of the Mondragon Cooperative and has been utilized since the 1920’s and is commonly refered to as the Mondragon System. The Mondragon Sytem is a worker cooperative that is OWNED by the EMPLOYEES. While this is an important step in the right direction, a modification of the Mondragon economic model is needed to provide a globally applicable solution. This modification is then combined with the establishment of a collection of dynamic, not-for-profit business corporations.
These corporations utilize the existing not-for-profit structure with a different design, intent, and goal. Thus a new unique corporate structure accumulates profit to pay back investors, reward worker- owners, and self-fund social activities in at the same time.
Three basic components:
1) An entrepreneurial business/non-profit management corporation.
2) A hybridization of the Spanish Mondragon Worker-Owner Cooperative system.
3) Adequate initial capitalization from proper source/s.
Example of the modified economic model:
24-1/2% – Return on invested capital.
24-1/2% – Employee ownership.
51% – Business/Non-Profit Management Corporation.
Outside capital will always be kept in its proper perspective; yet it will be protected per specific
agreements. The employee-owner’s portion will include benefit packages, retirement programs, and salary bonuses. The majority of the 51% business/non-profit portion will be used to self-fund social programs and expand business operations. A great amount of money will go directly towards the aligned non-profit organizations which will greatly augment funding for social sector activities. Dependency upon government and normal corporations will cease, over time. Spirituality and Community are One According to Ed McGaa, father of the Rainbow Tribe in his book Rainbow Tribe – Ordinary People Journeying on the Red Road, HarperSanFransico – 1992) When rationally gifted beings become separated from the spiritual connection bonding them to the Natural Way, environmental destruction begins.
Once environmental destruction begins individuals and corporations continue to utilize these resources until they are depleted. As time goes on, we have a further distancing of people from the land and from
the spirit of the land which leads to a collapse of the system. Each community is responsible for their own connection to spirit/God with like minded individuals without the pressure from any other group to impose their view on another. Any spiritual practice that honors self, others, and the land can coexist with any other practice that is of the same ilk. In diversity is our strength, the Black River Refuge as well as the All Peoples Cooperative hold this as the primary tenant of themselves and the overall system. The Humanistic Economic Model helps facilitate this by the equal partnership between all member corporations. The Workings of the Cooperatives The structure is simple. It is based on the total participation of each group and community. Every business is separately owned and operated by the individual employee owners. There are Four councils that are set up an Inner Council and an Outer Council who report to the hereditary Clan mothers and Chiefs. The purpose of each council is as follows:
The Outer Council
This group is a representative of each non-profit-corporation that exists in the community. Each business elects an individual worker owner to sit on the council for 1 year. The other members of this council are representatives elected by the community at large to represent each of the following areas of concern for the community – housing, education, health care and public land usage. The council then elects a leader of this council who presides over all meetings. All decisions for the community are based upon the meetings of this council.
The Inner Council
This group represents the overall leadership of the Cooperative. There are 13 members of this council each elected for a term of 5 years. They are members of each of the businesses that exist as well as representatives from Medical, Housing, Land Usage, etc. It is the responsibility of the Inner Council to review the decisions of the Outer Council and to assist in the continuation of the overall program. They advise the Outer Council and do have one tool to overturn the decision of the Outer Council ( 100 % vote) if it is determined that a decision of the Outer Council will violate the overall purpose and
mission of the Cooperative. The Inner Council Member Seats are as follows:
1) Health, Healing, & Wellness
3) Economics, Banking, & Business
5) Media and Communication
8) Spiritual Studies
9) Indigenous Cultures
10) Arts, Dance, & Theatre
The thirteenth member of this council is a representative of the FOUNDERS of the Cooperative and is elected for 6 years by the founding members. This individual has one vote as does every other member of the council.Currency – The Means of Exchange
According to Robert Swann and Susan Witt in their article for the E. F. Schumacher Society Local Currencies: Catalysts for Sustainable Regional Economies, February 1995,
from a truly economic point of view the most rational way to produce is “from local
resources, for local needs.” Jane Jacobs, one of today’s foremost scholars on regional
economies, emphasizes Schumacher’s point through her analysis of a healthy region as one
creating “import-replacing” industries on a continuing basis. A well-developed regional
economy which produces for its own needs is possible only when control of its resources
and finances lies within the region itself. Notice the last statement local production, local control of resources, local control of finances is the key to a healthy community. In the US today banking is one of the most centralized industries. The Federal reserve system is a privately held bank that is directing the financial resources for the United States
Population. They are charged to regulate the currency of the country and even lend money to the Federal Government. In other words, the USA is indebted to a PRIVATELY HELD CORPORATION as an individual with a credit card. It is impossible to hold to the above statement if the currency is held by an outside entity. In 2006 a local community in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts developed a local currency called Berk shares. It is a highly successful model that has been duplicated several times. Essentially Berk Shares are a local currency for the Berkshire region. Dubbed a “great economic experiment” by the New York Times, Berk Shares are a tool for community empowerment, enabling merchants and consumers to plant the seeds for an alternative economic future for their communities. Launched in the fall of 2006, Berk Shares had a robust initiation, with over one million
Berk Shares having been circulated in the first nine months and over two million to date. Currently, more than three hundred and sixty businesses have signed up to accept the currency. Five different banks have partnered with Berk Shares, with a total of thirteen branch offices now serving as exchange stations. For Berk Shares, this is only the beginning. Future plans could involve Berk Share checking accounts, electronic transfer of funds, ATM machines, and even a loan program to facilitate the creation of new, local businesses manufacturing more of the goods that are used locally. ( http://www.berkshares.org ) Utilizing this as our model we will develop the BRR shares to be utilized within the surrounding communities and within the community. We will also partner with local banks,
and other banking sources to stabilize the currency.
Initial Land Purchase and Utilization
The first plot of land is 550 Acres In Northern Michigan . This parcel already has a
longhouses , office Building and several homes and cottages with running water, electricity and sewage. It is gated and surrounded by a security fence that allows for control of access.