#365 Indigenous: John Borrows

Dr. John Borrows is Anishinaabe/Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada.​​​  Borrows credits his mother with teaching him about Indigenous laws while he grew up near Cape Croker, on Georgian Bay in Ontario.  Borrows’ uncle was a former chief, a great-grandfather was a long-serving councillor, and his great-great-grandfather was one of the signatories to a land treaty with the Crown. 

A distinguished legal scholar, Borrows holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Law School. He is also the co-founder of the JID program, the first ever joint Indigenous and common law degree program in the country. 

Says Borrows, “We have two legal systems, one from France and one from England, and yet we don’t sufficiently recognize the ones which originated here. The traditions that came from France and England have sometimes served us well, but they’ve also left gaps and further questions that aren’t being solved. I’m convinced that Canada can be enriched by indigenous peoples’ legal traditions. I would love to see Salish, Cree, Blackfoot, Inuit and Mi’kmaq legal perspectives and traditions form a part of our standards for judgment, not just within indigenous communities but for Canada as a whole.” 

Borrows also sits on RAVEN’s legal advisory panel, reviewing the applications for fundraising support that our organization receives from Indigenous Peoples across Canada. 

His immensely readable and storied works focus on the intersection of Indigenous and civil legal transitions. RAVEN recommends: 

Recovering Canada; The Resurgence of Indigenous Law
Drawing Out Law: A Spirit’s Guide
The Right Relationship
Law’s Indigenous Ethics

 He is the 2017 Killam Prize winner in Social Sciences and the 2019 Molson Prize Winner from the Canada Council for the Arts. 

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