An Order of Canada for the illustrious Dr. Borrows

RAVEN is thrilled to congratulate Dr. John Borrows, a member of our Legal Advisory Panel and groundbreaking scholar of Indigenous Law. Dr. Borrows received the Order of Canada for his work in drawing out and revitalizing Indigenous legal orders.

An Anishinaabe lawyer, researcher, and writer, Borrows is as eloquent in person as he is on the page. 

We have law because we’re beautiful, as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples; we also have law because we’re messed up. So, law is a site of healing because it pulls upon – at least in an Indignenous context – the social, the natural, the political. So for many Indigenous Peoples and certainly the possibility of Canadian law, can be a site of healing because it attempts to address our relationships: not just our relationships where things have gone wrong but also aspirations of where we hope to be as peoples.

John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law & co-founder of University of Victoria’s Joint Indigenous-Common Law Degree Program

Since our inception, John Borrows has been a strong advocate for RAVEN’s work. When Nations apply to RAVEN for support for legal challenges, Borrows – together with other  Indigenous legal experts on our Legal Advisory Panel – pores over the cases, looking to discover whether the issues being addressed and legal strategy being deployed meet RAVEN’s mandate. Upholding rigorous standards for our organization and for our partners, Borrows is a behind-the-scenes mentor whose immense knowledge and experience help to calibrate strategy and garner support for some of the most groundbreaking Indigenous legal challenges of our time. 

Here, Borrows explains why he supports RAVEN’s work.  “We are the legal agents in this world. We all have the opportunity to practice law. Sometimes that’s done by standing with Indigenous peoples and listening and working with them in direct ways, but also it means in some instances providing resources to help Indigenous Peoples as they’re raising their voice. And so, providing resources is actually a practice of law; it’s a custom that can be used to put us in relationship with one another.”

It’s been a privilege and a deep learning experience to walk alongside John Borrows as he engages with communities and collaborators in re-awakening the legal traditions that are at the foundation of the lands and waters we call home. The vital work of braiding traditions that is being carried out with the Joint Indigenous and Common Law program, which Borrows founded together with Val Napoleon, is producing a new generation of legal scholars and practitioners who will be a transformative force for the future. We are just so delighted that this work is being recognized at the highest level. 

From all of us at RAVEN, we raise our hands for your brilliant work and deep commitment, Dr. Borrows.  Chi Miigwech.

Take Action