In March, a small non-profit called South Island Reciprocity Trust hand-delivered 10 cheques of about $5,500 each to First Nations on southern Vancouver Island - the first annual installment of voluntary “rents” paid by residents and business owners who live and work on the First Nations’ homelands. Cultural anthropologist Craig Candler first had the idea nearly two decades ago while working on land use projects with Indigenous communities. These initiatives are premised on the understanding that Indigenous nations never lawfully surrendered the rights to their territories and that settler communities still benefit from appropriated lands. Governance of the funds is in the hands of the Indigenous partners, or “beneficiaries.” Once a trust is created, individuals within its geographic boundaries can contribute annually. At fiscal year-end, the funds — less 10% for administration — are divided equally among participating First Nations.

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