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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
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Social Reality

Indigenous Peoples

Constitutional rights
and responsibilities

Social Reality

Rights of
Interpretation

Origin of
Interpretation

Exercised as a
People

Definition of People

Great Turtle Island

Relationships

Equality

Survival for
All Beings

Survival for
the People

Right to Exist

Implications

The Land

Spirit of the Land

Judicial and Fiscal Order

Empowering

Visual representation of nature's laws


Nature’s Laws Arises from the Social Reality of being Indigenous…everyone acknowledges and lives out the Values held to be Nature’s Laws.

Indigenous claims for a constitutional dimension to their legal system does not rest upon a similar intellectual framework or even related social structure but upon notions about who people are and why they live together that are just as value-laden as any. They indicate that their experience in North America has always been as "Peoples," that is as collectivities of groups and communities of humans around common ideals, like Nature’s Laws, and articulated in complex languages and cultures. They developed civilizations here when Europe was just in its infancy. The consequences of this viewpoint have constitutional significance, as was pointed out by Georges Erasmus:

I am honoured by the invitation to contribute to the Lafontaine-Baldwin lecture series, imagining the kind of Canada we want in the 21st century. And I welcome the opportunity to reflect with you on the issues that we need to address in order to realize that vision.

To paint a picture of the Canada that Aboriginal people envision I need only turn to the ideals of a good life embedded in Aboriginal languages and traditional teachings. The Anishinabek seek the spiritual gift of "pimatziwin" - long life and well-being -which enable a person to gain wisdom. The Cree of the northern prairies value "miyowicehtowin" – having good relations. The Iroquois Great Law sets out rules for maintaining peace "Skennenkowa" between peoples, going beyond resolving conflicts to actively care for each other’s welfare. Aboriginal peoples across Canada and around the world speak of their relationship with the natural world and the responsibility of human beings to maintain balance in the natural order. (Mr. Georges Erasmus, Vancouver, 2002)

As a way of undercutting those who claim that Indigenous Peoples have no independent value system, Indigenous teachers and Elders try to delineate what makes their "constitution" a stable part of their legacy, values which were the heart and soul of the Indigenous experience before European came; here is one report detailing the outcome:

The curriculum team and the NACTAC members first identified ten justice concepts that had important applications to First Nations: sharing, reciprocity, cooperation, respect, rights, the importance of caregivers, harmony, interdependence, honour, and balance (Archibald, Coyote Learns 152).

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