Dr. John Borrows – Reconciliation Through Indigenous Law

man standing in front of a lake

by Governor General's Innovation Awards
Jul 14, 2020

2020 Governor General’s Innovation Award Laureate

About the Innovation:

Through teaching, research, writing and numerous applied projects, Dr. John Borrows has helped transform Canada’s understanding of how Indigenous and non-Indigenous law can co-exist harmoniously. He co-created the world’s first dual Indigenous law program and guides communities in reviving Indigenous legal principles and processes to address today’s challenges. Innovation in law delivers empowerment, better health, economic progress, and renewed cultural vibrancy. Dr. Borrows is Anishinabe, a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation, and the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria.

Nominated by the McConnell Foundation.

About the Innovator:

Dr. John Borrows is one of the world’s leading scholars on Indigenous law. Indigenous law looks to nature and to the land to provide principles of law and order, and ways of creating peace between peoples. This legal framework – distinctly different from Canada’s common law or the code civil – offers a concrete path forward toward reconciliation and better outcomes for Canada’s First Peoples. At the University of Victoria, John Borrows co-founded the world’s first dual degree program in Indigenous and common law. He is one of the leaders of the ground-breaking new Indigenous Human Rights Law Project and is also an adviser to the Transforming Indian Act Governance Research Project. He supports efforts for and by Indigenous peoples to reclaim their inherent rights to self-governance in order to address systemic and individual injustice and to build healthy, safe and inclusive communities.

Dr. Borrows is a renowned law professor, teaching at the University of Victoria and around the world. He’s Anishinabe/Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario. He’s written and spoken extensively on Indigenous legal rights and traditions. His publications include Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law; Canada’s Indigenous Constitution; Aboriginal Legal Issues: Cases, Materials & Commentary; and Drawing Out Law: A Spirit’s Guide. Dr. Borrows is a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation, a recipient of the Aboriginal Achievement Award in Law and the 2017 Canada Council Killam Prize, is a Fellow of the Academy of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada, and was awarded the 2019 Canada Council Molson Prize

Dr. John Borrows


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