Although much has been written about Indigenous land tenure in the Americas, colonial Andeanists still debate whether pre-Hispanic agropastoral communities held all pasture and farmland in common and, therefore, whether novel forms of private or individual control over land and its products were introduced only in the aftermath of the Iberian conquest. The alleged particularities of the Andean case vis-à-vis other regions for which historians accept a plurality of pre-Hispanic and postconquest land regimes are based on a twin set of oppositions: individual versus collective, and ownership versus use. In this essay, I reassess communal land tenure patterns through the lens of Native colonial customs of commoning and uncommoning. I contend that individual and communal aspects of land within Native collectives were not opposite ends of a spectrum but instead coterminous ways of acting on—that is, exerting power and control over—the same resources.

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