Aboriginal title is a common law doctrine that the rights of indigenous peoples to own their traditional land persist after sovereignty has been taken by colonial settlers. When granted, it is usually inalienable, meaning it can not be sold, traded or given away. The title may be held by individuals or groups of people, and is inherited indefinitely (without end) by those people's descendants. What proof is required for aboriginal title to be recognised depends on the country's laws that govern the doctrine. It usually must include some evidence of historical inhabitance (living on the land for a long time, usually since before colonial settlement).
The majority of court cases granting aboriginal title have been in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United States. Aboriginal title is also referred to as indigenous title, native title and customary title. It is related to the subject of indigenous rights.
- McNeil, Kent (1989). Common Law Aboriginal Title. Oxford University Press. pp. 161–179.