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Indigenous Law Scholar John Borrows Joins Law School Faculty

DECEMBER 16, 2008—John Borrows, a professor at the University of Victoria, is joining the University of Minnesota Law School faculty in fall 2009 as a professor in the area of international law and human rights. Borrows will be the first to hold the Robina Chair in Law, Public Policy and Society. The Law School's new Program on Law, Public Policy, and Society received a $6.01 million grant from the Robina Foundation to pursue its agenda of transforming legal education and research to prepare students to address challenges of the 21st century.

Borrows was appointed professor and Law Foundation Chair of Aboriginal Justice and Governance at the University of Victoria in 2001. Previously, he taught law at the University of Toronto (1998-01); the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1992-98), where he was director of the First Nations Law Program; and Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Toronto (1994-96). At Osgoode Hall, Borrows was the founder and director of the Lands, Resources, and Indigenous Governance Program. He has also been a visiting professor at Brigham Young University, Dalhousie Law School, the University of Waikato Law School in New Zealand, the University of New South Wales in Australia, and Arizona State University.

Borrows received a Ph.D. in 1994 from Osgoode Hall Law School, and an LL.M. in 1991 and a J.D. in 1990 from the University of Toronto. He also holds an M.Sc. from the Department of Geography and Planning and a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Toronto.

A member of Ontario's Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and Anishinabe, Borrows is a leading scholar and teacher in indigenous law and an activist on behalf of First Nations peoples. He writes and speaks prodigiously on such issues as indigenous legal rights and traditions, treaties and land claims, and religion and the law. His research interests include aboriginal, constitutional, and environmental law.

In 2007, he received Canada's highest academic honor: fellowship in the Canadian Society of Arts, Humanities, and Sciences. He also has been honored with a Trudeau fellowship for research achievements, creativity, and social commitment and with an achievement award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation for outstanding accomplishment in the field of law and justice.

"I am extremely pleased that John has accepted our offer to join the University of Minnesota faculty," says Law School Dean David Wippman. "John is one of the world's leading authorities in indigenous rights and a top scholar in comparative constitutional law." Borrows' appointment begins Sept. 1, 2009.

The Robina Foundation was created by James H. Binger ('41) to fund creative, forward-thinking projects proposed by four institutions—the Law School, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Yale University, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Funding from the Robina Foundation is intended for exploration of new ideas and transformative new approaches to complex issues.

For more information, read the story about the Law School's recent Robina Foundation Grant by clicking here.

Portrait of John Borrows

Professor John Borrows