Lindsay Borrows is an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University, Faculty of Law, where she teaches special topics in the field of Indigenous law. Previously she worked as a lawyer and researcher at the Indigenous Law Research Unit (University of Victoria Faculty of Law), and as a staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law. In both positions she provided legal support to Indigenous communities and organizations engaged in the revitalization of their own laws for application in contemporary contexts. She has worked on community-engaged projects with different legal traditions including Anishinaabe, Denezhu, Haíɫzaqv, Nlaka’pamux, nuučaan̓uł, St’át’imc, Syilx and Tsilhqot’in. She is particularly passionate about the possibilities within land-based legal education, and since 2014 she has co-facilitated various ‘on-the-land’, community-engaged Anishinaabe Law Camps in partnership with different law schools and communities across Ontario. Her book Otter’s Journey Through Indigenous Language and Law (UBC Press, 2018) explores the connections between language and law. Lindsay is Anishinaabe and a member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation. 

Research topics

  • Indigenous Legal Methods; 
  • Indigenous Environmental Law and Ecological Governance; 
  • Select Topics of Anishinaabe Law (child well-being, human rights, criminal, torts, and the environment); 
  • Field School Courses in Indigenous Legal Traditions; and
  • Indigenous Child Well-Being 

Research focus statement

Indigenous peoples across Canada face serious challenges that require the application of law in its most healing forms to enable the necessary transformations towards a more just society. Indigenous peoples’ own laws are an essential component of confronting these challenges encountered within and beyond their communities. Lindsay Borrows’ work examines the different sources from which Indigenous laws flow including for example custom, deliberation, stories, songs, ceremony, dances, language, legislation, treaties (etc.). She also studies the methods people use to draw out law from these sources. Prof. Borrows is particularly interested in an emergent area of Indigenous legal research—looking to the natural world as legal precedent and exploring how reading the land as a legal archive introduces innovative practices of deliberation, decision-making, and dispute-resolution. 

Articles and Books

  • Comox Valley Collective Magazine, “Blanketed in Hope: A Meeting of Art, Reconciliation, and the Law in the K’omoks Bighouse” (Spring 2020) 
  • Otter’s Journey Through Indigenous Language and Law (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2018) 
  • Book Review of “Unsettled Expectations” by Dr. Eva Mackey, AlterNative Journal, 2017 
  • “Dabaadendiziwin: Practices of Humility in a Multi-Juridical Legal Landscape”, Windsor Year Book of Access to Justice, 2016 
  • “On the Road Home: Stories and Reflections from Neyaashiinigmiing”, in Jill Doerfler, Heidi Stark, James Sinclair, eds., Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories (Michigan State University Press, 2013) 

Publicly Available Reports

Teaching subjects

  • Indigenous Law in Practice; Indigenous Law and Ecological Governance