Press Release

Indigenous legal orders provide an important basis for the effective stewardship of Indigenous wealth, according to new report by Dr. John Borrows

VICTORIA, BC, September 25, 2020 – New research explores the legal concept of fiduciary duty through Indigenous legal perspectives.

Written by University of Victoria researchers Professor John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, and Shayla Praud, Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders (JD/JID) candidate, this paper sets forth that Indigenous peoples can accumulate, manage, invest, and dispose of wealth in accordance with their own laws.

The paper, Teachings of Sustainability, Stewardship, & Responsibility: Indigenous Perspectives on Obligation, Wealth, Trusts, & Fiduciary Duty, concludes that Indigenous laws can help decision-makers align their investments with their community values.

“Other people have long sought to divert the investments of Indigenous peoples from their own community priorities in the pursuit of short-term financial returns, disregarding an understanding of fiduciary duty grounded in Indigenous legal orders,” said Borrows. “Now is the time for Indigenous peoples’ own laws to guide their financial well-being.

For millennia, Indigenous communities have managed collective wealth with a strong sense of stewardship and consideration for future generations. This report explores Indigenous laws embedded in constitutions, land and resource plans and policies, and treaties and agreements of the Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree, Anishinaabe, Mi’kmaq, Nlaka’Pamux, and Kwanlin Dün in Canada, as well as the Māori in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

“While every Indigenous community wants a solid return on their investments, many also want to see wealth returned to them in other ways. Natural environments, cultural investment, and intergenerational transmission of care are priorities for many Indigenous nations,” said Borrows.

Join us as the research team presents their findings and explores the implications of this exciting work with a webinar today at 1 p.m. Pacific / 4 p.m. Eastern. A recording will be available after the event. Register here:

About RRII:
The Reconciliation and Responsible Investment Initiative (RRII) is a partnership between NATOA and SHARE that aligns capital with Indigenous values. RRII works with Canadian institutional investors to promote responsible investment policies and practices that include reconciliation goals through investor education, support, and advocacy on Indigenous inclusion and reconciliation in Canada. We believe that, together, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous investors can build capital markets that integrate and better align with Indigenous values and ways of knowing.

Katie Wheatley
Project Lead, Reconciliation and Responsible Investment Initiative (RRII), SHARE

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