Stewardship and the First Nations Governance Act




Borrows, John

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Queen's Law Journal


Aboriginal stewardship arises when responsibility is assumed for something given by another. According to the author, it is upon this principle of stewardship, particularly its underlying notions of acknowledgement, accountability and approbation, that the First Nations Governance Act should rest. The Act is intended to refurbish parts of the anachronistic Indian Act, yet in reality, the author views this latter act as simply building upon the misguided ideas of its predecessors. He argues the principles of stewardship would properly align aboriginal governance with indigenous values that accord with previous native traditions and culture. Notions such as valour, loyalty and harmony with one's surroundings would more effectively guide First Nations policy, placing native governance in a more culturally appropriate context. Governance that follows such principles would especially affect issues of accountability, a problem to which the author draws special attention. Use of the strengths and contemporary relevance of stewardship would revitalize inherent aboriginal adjudicative procedures as well as forcing First Nations leaders to act in a more fiscally responsible manner. For the author, failure to place aboriginal governance in a more suitable context will undermine their traditional governance structures and hinder tackling issues of accountability. Accordingly, this failure is the downfall of the First Nations Governance Act.




Borrows, J. (2003). Stewardship and the First Nations Governance Act. Queen’s Law Journal, 29(1), 103-132.