1633Massachusetts Bay Colony decreed that no one could buy land from Native people without permission from the General Court.People and Communities, Economy and Industry, Land Ownership, Indigenous People's History

Despite significant cultural differences, Indigenous people and English colonists had mutually beneficial relationships during the first decades of the Colonial period. Indigenous groups viewed land and its bounty as shared resources supporting life on Earth, while the English viewed them as unlimited commodities for use in an economic system based on mercantile capitalism. The loss of land made it increasingly difficult for Indigenous people to make a living. Their mixed economy required seasonal mobility and access to land for farming, hunting, and fishing.

The General Court decreed that land could not be bought from “the Indians” without its consent and that of the inhabitants, and had to be justly paid for, “to avoid the least scrupulo of intrusion.” Until 1661 Indigenous people in Massachusetts had the right to continue to live in wigwams on the land they sold. They also became adept at modifying the language of deeds to ensure they would retain rights to hunt, fish, and farm on the land sold. These favorable conditions ended as the Great Migration brought overwhelming population pressure on Native peoples and natural resources.

Massachusetts, William Henry Whitmore. The Colonial Laws of Massachusetts. 1889, https://archive.org/details/coloniallawsofma00mass. Lepionka, Mary Ellen. “‘That We May Avoid the Least Scrupulo of Intrusion’ – The Colonists and Indian Land, Part I.” Historic Ipswich (blog), February 19, 2018. https://historicipswich.net/2018/02/19/that-we-may-avoid-the-least-scrupulo-of-intrusion-the-colonists-and-indian-land-part-i/. Lepionka, Mary Ellen. “‘Brought to Civility’ — The Colonists and Indian Land, Part 2.” Historic Ipswich (blog), February 21, 2021. https://historicipswich.net/2021/02/21/brought-to-civility-the-colonists-and-indian-land-part-2/.
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