Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism
Indigenous traditions can be uplifting, positive, and liberating forces when they are connected to living systems of thought and practice. Problems arise when they are treated as timeless models of unchanging truth that require unwavering deference and unquestioning obedience. Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism celebrates the emancipatory potential of Indigenous traditions, considers their value as the basis for good laws and good lives, and critiques the failure of Canadian constitutional traditions to recognize their significance.
Demonstrating how Canada’s constitutional structures marginalize Indigenous peoples’ ability to exercise power in the real world, John Borrows uses Ojibwe law, stories, and principles to suggest alternative ways in which Indigenous peoples can work to enhance freedom. Among the stimulating issues he approaches are the democratic potential of civil disobedience, the hazards of applying originalism rather than living tree jurisprudence in the interpretation of Aboriginal and treaty rights, American legislative actions that could also animate Indigenous self-determination in Canada, and the opportunity for Indigenous governmental action to address violence against women.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 384 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.9in x 9.0in
"This remarkable work is at once challenging and accessible, philosophical and practical, and wide-ranging while firmly rooted in Anishinaabe tradition. Borrows takes a realistic, creative, and intellectually rigorous approach to some of the most difficult and pressing issues in Indigenous law, constitutional law, and political philosophy, as well as all readers who wish to better understand the relationship between indigenous peoples and Canada."
Saskatchewan Law Review
"Borrows does not ask the reader to comply with his own philosophies. Instead, he asks that we be rigorous within our own thinking and that we resist imprisoning ourselves within established conventions."
Deborah McGregor, York University
University of Toronto Quarterly, vol 87 3, Summer 2018
"Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism is yet another fine book by John Borrows. His understanding of the distinctive nature of Aboriginal ethics and knowledge is a tremendously important contribution to Canadian political thought."
Peter H. Russell, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Toronto
"In Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism, John Borrows does a masterful job of bringing together significant contributions to the field, putting them in a new light and reimagining their content in view of the broader theme of freedom."
Larry Chartrand, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Author InformationJohn Borrows is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Law School.
Table of contents
1. Physical Philosophy: Mobility and Indigenous Peoples
2. Civil (Dis)Obedience, Freedom and Democracy
3. Indigenous Politics and Canadian Constitutionalism
4. (Ab)Originalism and Aboriginal Rights
5. Legislation and Indigenous Self-Determination in Canada and the United States
6. Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and Violence Against Women
AwardsDonald Smiley Prize awarded by the Canadian Political Science Association - Joint winner Or co-winner in 2017
Subjects and Courses