Garcia argued that the existence of land rights limits or denies people the right to use their land. In doing so, they influence people by affecting land-based vital activities, such as farming, which are central to society’s survival. From that perspective, land rights have blocked some individuals from using land as a critical source of livelihood. Garcia indicates that “a generation ago,” people and society depended on land as a source of livelihood through “land activities like ranching, farming, and working the forests” (81). Nevertheless, the rise and establishment of land rights eroded or eliminated the freedom of ranching, farming, and working the forests, coercing people to look for employment as an alternative to sustain and provide enough for themselves and their families. Implicit to the idea of looking for employment was the notion of food sufficiency since land rights had limited people from accessing some pieces of land they depended on as a source of livelihood. By limiting people’s access to tracts of fertile and productive lands, land rights have affected farming and ranching, coercing people to look for employment to sustain themselves since the small tracts of lands they have access to cannot provide plenty to maintain the growing population.
Land rights are also influencing people’s lives by leading to economic insecurity. Economic insecurity implies the risk of economic loss resulting from unpredictable events or occurrences. It also describes insecurity related to income instability and the risk of sinking into poverty. Economic insecurity is one reason people search for employment. Land rights have massively contributed to the loss of land and dispossession. Typically, people have lost massive tracts of productive lands following the rise of Land rights. Some have lost their land to the state through dispossession. The consequences have been “a steep decline in family fortunes and community well- being” (Garcia 125). Land is a measure of wealth, and losing one means a decline in your fortunes. Besides, the dispossession of productive lands used for farming means that society will have little to depend on, hence a decline in community well-being. The loss of land and dispossession has stirred economic insecurities into people and fear of sinking into poverty. Garcia maintains that a significant link exists between land loss and poverty (Garcia 125). Losing your land means a decline in your fortune and the beginning of economic worries and insecurities that, in the long run, lead to poverty. Therefore, by promoting land dispossession and loss, land rights have affected people by prompting economic insecurities and poverty since people can no longer use restricted lands as a source of income to keep their living standards.
On the contrary, Simpson has highlighted the critical role of land rights in helping to alleviate poverty. From Simpson’s perspective, land rights have been central to promoting modernity, which has come along with immense job opportunities and created employment necessary to reduce poverty. Land rights somehow encouraged the agrarian revolution, which was fundamental in the rise of industrialization and urbanization. From this perspective, land rights directly contributed to industrialization and urbanization, which brought numerous employment opportunities, eliminating economic insecurities and fear of becoming poor (Simpson 85). Throughout the years, industrialization and urbanization have been central in supporting economic growth, which has, in turn, been fundamental in alleviating poverty. Land rights contribution to the rise of industrialization and urbanization shows their influence on people by encouraging economic growth and massive employment opportunities that have been crucial in eliminating economic worries and lessening poverty.
Land loss and dispossession resulting from land rights, has triggered demonstrations and conflicts over land ownership. People have protested and engaged one another physically due to harsh land rights that have caused them to lose land. Revolutions like New Mexico’s “postcolonial land grand movement” (Garcia 35) protesting about land ownership have been there before and today, “symbolizing how deep passions run on the issue of the land and who has rights to it” (Garcia 83). Supposedly, land rights have triggered demonstrations and, in the worst-case scenario, conflicts over who owns a particular piece of land and who does not. In some communities, land rights have stirred violent tribal and ethnic conflicts whose repercussions have been devastating. People have lost lives fighting for lands. Therefore, by facilitating land dispossession, land rights have massively affected people by triggering disagreements, demonstrations, revolutions, and conflicts, whose consequences in the worst-case scenario have been the loss of lives and destruction of properties.
Lastly, land rights continue to influence people’s lives by promoting land ownership. Both Garcia and Simpson have indicated that land rights are directly influencing people’s lives by protecting land ownership. Some land rights protect land ownership, giving the owner the rights, freedom, or privileges to use the land to their preference. Land rights have encouraged personal land ownership through land title deeds, giving people the freedom and privileges to use the land in whichever way they want. Both Garcia and Simpson emphasize the vital role of land rights through deeds in protecting land ownership, mainly from greedy land grabbers (Garcia 30; Simpson 39). Simpson identifies that after the Jesuits recognized foreign settlement’s popularity, they “established seigniorial land grant” to avoid disputes over land ownership with settlers (46). The seigniorial land grant supposedly gave the Jesuits land ownership rights through the land tenure system that encourage individual land ownership. Therefore, land rights have immensely moderated land ownership conflicts about who owns a particular piece of land, influencing people’s lives by encouraging individual land ownership.
Garcia, Angela. 2010. The pastoral clinic: addiction and dispossession along the Rio Grande. Berkeley: University of California Press. https://www.degruyter.com/isbn/9780520947825.
Simpson, Audra. 2014. Mohawk interruptus: political life across the borders of settler states.