Respecting and Protecting the Sacred

Ipperwash Inquiry, 2006

86 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2012

See all articles by Darlene Johnston

Darlene Johnston

University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2006


In Canada, many citizens are justifiably proud of our country’s commitment to multiculturalism and respect for diversity. Cultural variations in language, art, law, and religion are not only tolerated but also celebrated. There is a growing appreciation that as human beings we share common, fundamental categories of experience, but that those experiences are mediated by and need to be understood in terms of our particular cultural contexts.

Just as different cultures have different approaches to land and property, so too do traditions of sacredness vary. But respect for such variations, particularly as between Aboriginal peoples and newcomers to Canada, has hardly been the norm. Understanding traditions within their own frame of reference is key to establishing a respectful relationship. This paper draws upon oral traditions, archival history, and linguistics in an effort to promote intercultural understanding of the relationship between the Anishnaabeg and their sacred lands.

Keywords: Aboriginal peoples, tradition, concept of the sacred

Suggested Citation

Johnston, Darlene, Respecting and Protecting the Sacred (2006). Ipperwash Inquiry, 2006 , Available at SSRN:

Darlene Johnston (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law ( email )

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