November 27, 2022

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An internationally-respected scholar at the forefront of Indigenous legal education, Professor John Borrows has been appointed Nexen Chair in Indigenous Leadership at The Banff Centre. A key role within the Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute (Lougheed Leadership Institute) at The Banff Centre, the Nexen Chair leads research and reporting on critical success factors among Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada. Borrows’s appointment completes a transformational investment by Nexen made to The Banff Centre in 2008.

“John’s vision of Indigenous law and his deep interest in good governance practices make him a natural fit for the Nexen Chair,” said Brian Calliou, program director at The Banff Centre. “John brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, both as a scholar and member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation. I am confident John will make an exciting contribution to our programming and applied research.”

Borrows’ appointment follows Dr. Lois E. Edge, and builds upon the legacy of first-term Nexen Chair, Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, whose research into wise practices in Canada’s Indigenous communities informed The Banff Centre’s Wise Practices in Indigenous Community Development Symposium in 2012. The results of the symposium were later published in Restorying Indigenous Leadership: Wise Practices in Community Development, (2nd ed., 2015, Banff Centre Press), a foundational resource for Indigenous community leaders.

Borrows teaches in the areas of constitutional law, Indigenous law and environmental law, and is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria. He has been recognized for honor and integrity in service to Indigenous communities as a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation; a Fellow of the Academy of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada (RSC); and, a 2012 recipient of the Indigenous Peoples Counsel (I.P.C.) from the Indigenous Bar Association. His publications include: Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law (2002); Canada’s Indigenous Constitution (2010); Drawing Out Law: A Spirit’s Guide (2010); and, Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism (2015) all from the University of Toronto Press.

“I am grateful for what I have learned about leadership from many Elders over the years. I am really looking forward to working with The Banff Centre, and putting these teachings into action,” said Borrows. “My work has focused on how Indigenous peoples’ own laws and values play a role in understanding leadership. I hope to continue to learn and share what I have learned about Indigenous peoples’ own laws during my tenure as the Nexen Chair in Indigenous Leadership.”

The Lougheed Leadership Institute at The Banff Centre draws upon both wise practices and creative new approaches to provide hands-on learning opportunities that help develop the individual and collective leadership needed to shape a better world.

For more information about the Lougheed Leadership Institute, visit

About The Banff Centre: The Banff Centre’s mission is inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders, and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs at The Banff Centre every year. Through its multidisciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible.

About Nexen: Nexen is responsibly developing resources in some of the world’s most significant basins including the UK North Sea, western Canada, the United States and offshore West Africa. As wholly-owned subsidiaries of CNOOC Limited, the Nexen group of companies operates under clear value-based principles of excellence, personal accountability, integrity and social and environmental responsibility. It’s about getting the job done, the right way.

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MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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