What is a “land tax” and why should you pay it?
A “land tax” is an ideally consistent contribution to Indigenous tribes and organizations in recognition of the stolen land we live on and Indigenous sovereignty. As the Native Governance Center put it, “Voluntary land taxes function similarly to paying rent or a home mortgage. Our rent and mortgage payments give us access to living space; voluntary land taxes recognize our access to stolen Indigenous land.”
Land taxes provide many Indigenous organizations with needed resources for their survival and fight to reclaim their land. As Sena Crow, a researcher of Indigenous stories, wrote, “Indigenous communities need resources, not apologies … If you can’t offer services or labor for Native communities this month, the best way is to spread wealth (or perhaps more accurately: return wealth) and support communities so that they have the resources to be autonomous.”
“We’ve all benefited from stolen Indigenous land. Paying land taxes is a regular reminder to all of us that unpaid debts to Native nations still exist. While they’re no substitute for the United States government following through on its promises, land taxes can pave the way for a larger movement for accountability” - Indigenous law professor Matthew Fletcher.
Where does this fund go?
We send the land tax collected in this fund to the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, which is currently located on a Reservation just north of Richmond, VA. The Pamunkey tribe has a long and rich heritage and culture. They were one of the first Indigenous people to meet the English colonizers back in the 1600’s and members of their tribe include well-known figures Pocahontas and Powhatan.
Today, the Pamunkey tribe’s government focuses on four main areas: Cultural Resources, Housing, Natural Resources, and Business Interests. One of their priorities is to ensure “traditional knowledge is recorded for the benefit of future generations … (including) stories, songs, folklore, plant usage, pottery skills, cultural landscapes and history.” They hold social events, work with non-Native organizations to ensure Tribal History is being properly recounted, and run a museum and pottery school.
In the housing department, they provide housing and home ownership assistance to their low-income members, as well as sanitation services.
You can read more about the Pamunkey Tribe on their website.
Have questions about the fund? Email [email protected].