In European and Western thought, property ownership appears to signify one's societal status, as a property owner is often believed to have wealth. Similarly, owning property and land is a symbol of boundless opportunity and control over the natural world. Humankind can use the land to cultivate their own food and build their own homes; they can become masters over nature through the use of technology and new advanced forms of agriculture. Europeans have therefore commodified land and establish governmental laws to protect their property. Europeans create this artificial divide between the natural world and human beings, placing themselves apart from nature, when humans are, in fact, one aspect of the ecosystem.
For aboriginal societies, land is not linked to this notion of "control" and "modification." Aboriginal people are said to have a spiritual, emotional, social. and physical connection to the land. Taking care of the land and water are central cultural tenets—the message is one of respect. The humans aren't "above" the natural in this view: instead. they are charged with the responsibility of maintaining their physical spaces, from which they reap the benefits. They see themselves as living "with" the land, as opposed to living "off" the land. Indigenous groups "own" land communally but do not possess this notion of private property. Governance lies is treating nature with respect and maintaining the health of water and land.