Indigeus 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 Indigeus Constitutionalism celebrates the emancipatory potential of Indigeus 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 Indigeus peoples' ability to exercise power in the real world, John Borrows uses Ojibwe law, stories, and principles to suggest alternative ways in which Indigeus 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 Indigeus self-determination in Canada, and the opportunity for Indigeus governmental action to address violence against women.
John Borrows is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria and is the winner of both the Canadian Political Science Association's Donald Smiley Prize (for Recovering Canada) and the Canadian Law and Society Association Book Prize (for Canada's Indigenous Constitution).
Shortlisted for Canadian Political Science Association Donald Smiley Prize 2017.