[Sust-mar] (TGI News Release) "We are all people of the treaty, " says legal scholar John Borrows

Laura Landon laura.landon at bellaliant.net
Tue Nov 19 18:48:00 EST 2013

Text Box: www.thegreeninterview.com

November 20, 2013


 "We are all people of the treaty," says trailblazing Aboriginal legal


The treaties signed by the First Nations and the Crown are crucial to
everyone who lives in Canada, says Dr. John Borrows, a law professor at the
University of Minnesota. Borrows, who is Anishinaabe and a member of the
Cape Croker First Nation in Ontario's Bruce Peninsula, points out that the
treaties are two-way agreements that affect the rights of both indigenous
and non-indigenous Canadians - and they were meant to guide the
relationships between the two groups forever. They granted rights to people
on both sides, but they imposed obligations too. And those obligations and
rights can help us live peacefully with each other and with nature.

"There were promises made when my great-great-great grandfather signed a
treaty that were to be for as long as the sun shines, the river flows and
the grass grows," Borrows told  <http://www.thegreeninterview.com/> The
Green Interview. "Those promises were meant to be about all of us, in
creating a place for all of us to live here."

In his conversation with Green Interview host Silver Donald Cameron, Borrows
offers a bracing vision of what law really is, where it finds its roots and
its authority, and how aboriginal law fits into the Canadian legal fabric.

"In British common law, authority derives from the Crown," Cameron explains.
"In Aboriginal law, it flows from the Creator. For the Anishinaabe and other
First Nations, law is about learning how to behave correctly and
respectfully with others and with the natural world. It's a rich, powerful
and highly contemporary conception of the proper relationships among people,
and also between human beings and the world around them.

"John's comments about the treaties were a revelation to me. My ancestors
came to settle in an already-inhabited country - and the treaties gave them
the right to stay here. That's why it's morally imperative that we all
understand and honour those treaties, no matter who we are." 

John Borrows is one of Canada's most prolific and celebrated legal scholars.
He has written and spoken widely on aboriginal legal rights and traditions,
treaties and land claims, and religion and the law. He is the author of
several books, including Canada's Indigenous Constitution and Drawing Out

The Green Interview is a subscription website of extended interviews with
some of the world's greatest thinkers, writers and observers-people whose
ideas and perceptions are leading the way to a new era of sustainability.
Visitors to the site can watch the interviews for one week free of charge.
In addition, the interviews are available in thousands of libraries
worldwide through  <http://www.gale.cengage.com/greenr/> GreenR, the
environmental database service of Gale Cengage Learning. The host and
executive producer of The Green Interview is Silver Donald Cameron, and the
interviews are produced and directed by Chris Beckett.

For further information about this interview or others at
<http://www.thegreeninterview.com/> www.thegreeninterview.com, please
contact: Silver Donald Cameron at  <mailto:sdc at silverdonaldcameron.ca>
sdc at silverdonaldcameron.ca or 902-446-5577.




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