The Integral Law for Aborigines (426/84) was the first legal instrument in Argentina systematically addressing indigenous peoples’ rights. It was modeled on the Paraguayan Law for Indigenous Communities (901/81). Both granted collective property rights. I discuss Article 9 of Decree 574/85 in Law 426, requiring that former hunter-gatherer bands would form civil associations, like those in the non-profit sector. The policymakers later amended the clause on governance inserting the authority of chiefs along that of democratically elected delegates. I describe the Western Toba’s journey to obtaining collective land title by introducing characteristics of traditional leadership, discussing local antecedents leading to the law, comparing it to the Paraguayan law, and analyzing the process through which the Toba complied with legal requirements.


I would like to thank to the editors and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on previous versions of this paper.

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