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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
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Understanding Indigenous Worldviews
Indigenous
Worldview

Knowledge Organization

Weakness of Codification

Applying Western Categories

Kinds and Types of Evidence

Visual representation of nature's laws


Writing in the case R. v. Gladue, 1999, Justices Cory and Iacobucci noted: "In Bridging the Cultural Divide…the Royal Commission on Indigenous Peoples listed as its first ‘Major Findings and Conclusions’ the following striking yet representative statement: ‘The Canadian criminal justice system has failed the Indigenous peoples of Canada---First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, on-reserve and off-reserve, urban and rural—in all territories and governmental jurisdictions. The principal reason for this crushing failure is the fundamentally different world views of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with respect to such elemental issues as the substantive content of justice and the process of achieving justice."

One of the most important distinctives of Indigenous systems of law is the fundamental motivators for ethical behaviour. For example, in Western culture the notion of God, along with the concomitant doctrines of judgment have played a key role in the development of its worldview, and both have philosophically and theologically been connected to ethical decision-making. These foundational concepts are largely absent from traditional Indigenous systems of law, at least in a form that Westerners would understand. Indigenous systems are based on the imperatives deriving from being embedded in a ‘natural’ system that makes foundational demands.

This means tribes may have had sophisticated notions of gods and supernatural beings, but that these figures did not motivate ethical culture. Some did not have these notions at all, variety characterizes the remainder. What this study has found is that in the Indigenous context, no august being demanded obedience to an absolute law; nor was there a being who was responsible for condemning those who did not obey. Rather the notion was that going against this enlarged sense of nature/supernatural would inevitably lead to negative consequences. It might better be characterized as: you and your society will only get out of nature’s system what you put into it, a ‘natural’ justice system exists in the world. One went against this natural system at his or her peril.

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