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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
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Constitutional Law

"Natural Law"

Key Concepts

Visual representation of nature's laws


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Definition: One of the 10 categories of Nature's Laws developed by the Nature's Laws Project Team and defined as "Basic principles enshrined in the human cosmic setting, but not "legally" defined: the lived environment, as opposed to proclaimed, list of responsibilities; the ideal society."

There is an aspect of Nature’s Laws which deals with issues of identity and social belonging of the group as a whole. We are calling this "Constitutional Law". The Constitution of a people might not have been in writing, but the people understood it as the foundation of who they were.

Constitutional authority set out traditional hunting grounds. It included treaty agreements and inter-tribal arrangements. Issues related to the well-being of the group were also involved in constitutional affairs.

The Plains Cree call this "constitutional law" "nehiyawewintotam", meaning "the person acts like a Cree person". Today, the same word could mean the person acts like a First Nations person, or someone of any nation.

This concept of a "constitution" in Nature’s Laws arises out of the fact that each group of the Indigenous Peoples holds to a collective "will to survive." Nature’s Laws indicates that survival is a basic principle in the universe. Every People, every Creature, affirm this truth.

Throughout Indigenous culture, both the nature and scope of Nature’s Laws has been seen through by the intellectual, spiritual life and experience of each group. Since each group may view Nature’s Laws from several perspectives, including its own language, the traditional interpretation of Nature’s Laws by each People is the Law for that group, with the understanding that others will have different understandings. This is seen as a demonstration of welcome diversity rather than conflict.

Each group recognizes that the People came into existence at some moment at some other point in some different time. That moment lies outside of the time of "now." The consequence is that the ideals of the moment of Creation are something that Indigenous thinkers and scholars must learn and pass on to the People from one generation to another. The People are those who accept that they belong to a given understanding of Nature’s Laws. This is their constitution.

The commonality of Nature’s Laws is also shown by the fact that each Indigenous group has a language used to talk about Nature’s Laws. Language thus becomes the formative tool required for constitutional law, since it articulates the understandings that the People have of themselves and Nature’s Laws. It was assumed by Indigenous Peoples that each Peoples' language formulated Nature’s Laws according to that language system, but that Nature’s Laws in and of itself, remained the same across all cultures, regardless of how the People formulated it.

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