There is no tradition of Canadian anthropology the way there is a distinct and recognizable tradition of American or British or French anthropology. How is this absence to be explained?
One line of argument traces it to the character of the anthropological labour market in Canada (Dunk 2000). When anthropology departments started springing up in universities across Canada in the 1960s, there was a paucity of Canadian-trained academics to staff them. The solution was to import Ph.D.s from elsewhere, most notably the United States. This solution perpetuated itself: at the turn of the twenty-first century only 25% of the faculty in Ph.D.-granting anthropology departments in Canada held a Ph.D. from a Canadian university. Hence, 75% were foreign-trained. How could a local tradition possibly emerge in the face of such massive penetration by external intellectual forces? According to Tom Dunk, this situation is compounded by the "essentialy neo-colonial mentality" that (arguably) prevails in English Canada, where local conceptions of what is good are filtered by ideas and standards which come from elsewhere.
Another line of argument holds that there is a tradition of Canadian anthropology, however muted, and it can be defined thematically by reference to the importance of research on and with the aboriginal peoples of Canada. Canadian anthropology is thus a branch of the "Americanist Tradition" (Darnell 1997). In the beginning, this research was (necessarily) conducted or directed by scholars from elsewhere, such as Franz Boas and Edward Sapir, scholars who were also at the leading edge of theory construction in anthropology at the time. The star of Americanist anthropology has since waned. This tradition is no longer regarded as cutting edge (Whiteley 1993; Murray 1999), but it has persisted thanks to all the Canadian (or Canadian-based) anthropologists who continue to generate research "on a local basis without fanfare – perhaps this low-key pragmatism is the Canadian way" (Darnell 1997: 278). Canadian anthropology may lack visibility, but it does not lack subject matter.
The Constitution of Knowledge
Tom Dunk’s politicization of the state of Canadian anthropology and Regna Darnell’s account of its indigenization go a long way towards explaining the marginal, contingent character of this tradition that is not one. However, Darnell’s indigenization thesis cannot account for the substantial contribution to the discipline of anthropology made by Canadian anthropologists who have concentrated their work on cultures situated elsewhere, in places like Madagascar or the Sudan, instead of "at home" (e.g. Lambek 1981; Boddy 1989). The main difficulty with Dunk’s politicization (or colonization) thesis is that it leaves no room for the articulation of local standards of excellence, much less agency.
In this chapter I shall attempt to chart a middle course between the Dunk and Darnell positions by relating that which is distinctive about Canadian anthropology to the Canadian constitution. In doing so, I will be retracing some of the argument I put forward in an essay called "What is good for anthropology in Canada?" first published in 1992, but also taking this opportunity to advance that argument (the "constitutionalization thesis") by responding to some of Tom Dunk’s criticisms of it.
The word "constitution" has a variety of senses. At the most general level, it refers to the "mode in which a State is organized" and to the "body of fundamental principles according to which a State is governed". At the same time, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "constitution" can refer to the "mental character" or "disposition" of an individual, and to the "physical character" or "make-up" of the individual’s body in regard to healthiness, strength or vitality. The word "constitution" thus resonates at the level of the social, the mental and the physical, and also hints at an inner connection between the three.
This connection may be theorized, following Durkheim and Mauss (1970), by suggesting that the constitution is framed and in turn provides a frame for the minds and bodies of those it governs. In other words, the mode of organization of the State is constitutive of the creative activity of the imaginary. I have shown elsewhere how this connection holds for the study of Canadian literature, painting and music – both classical and popular (Howes 1990, 1991, 1996a, n.d.). Here I would like to extend this constitutional approach to the study of cultural expression to the analysis of anthropological knowledge production. My position is that the practice of ethnography is always mediated by the ethnographer’s constitution, and that the constitution provides a grid or set of criteria by reference to which the excellence of an ethnography can be judged.
This chapter begins by offering an account of how the Canadian constitution was framed and has evolved in contradistinction to that of the United States. It then applies this relational model of the differences between the Canadian and American constitutions to the interpretation of the differences between the traditions of Canadian and American anthropology. The key terms of this model include: subordinate versus coordinate federaliam, the idea of a "unity of we" (or principle of concentrism) versus the idea of a "unity of you and I" (or principle of bicentrism), and equality versus proportionality
Balance of Powers
The balance of powers between the federal and state or provincial legislatures has shifted dramatically in the case of both Canada and the United States since these two countries were created. The United States was framed as a system of coordinate federalism (an alliance among equal centres of power) and Canada was framed as a system of subordinate federalism (the regions or provinces being subject to considerable control by the centre), but the two countries have been evolving in opposite directions – both from themselves (as originally constituted) and from each other – since their creation. The United States has moved toward a quasi-unitary system of subordinate federalism and Canada has shifted toward a hyper-federal system of coordinate federalism. There have of course been many vicissitudes to this process of constitutional involution, but the overall lines are clear. The transformation was managed by the courts actively interpreting – or as some would say, misinterpreting – the intentions of the framers (Howes 1990).
The idea of a "unity of we," which structures the American constitution, and makes that polity a "concentric whole," was first announced in the Declaration of Independence, and then reiterated in the Preamble to the United States Constitution:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (emphasis added).
We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, … and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution (emphasis added).
As James White points out in his gloss on this use of the term "we":
The ‘one people’ the Declaration seeks to create is not a diverse people …. It is a single whole, a single person, as it were, with a single set of sentiments and determinations. ‘We’ are blended into a single ‘one’, the stated ideal of equality among people becomes an ideal of a very different sort, of merger into a common identity (White 1984: 238-9).
The principles of equality and liberty, as enunciated in the Declaration, only became law with the promulgation of the "equal protection" and "due process" clauses, which together make up the Fourteenth Amendment (adopted in 1868), and lay the foundation for the American regime of egalitarian individualism. The Fourteenth Amendment provides that:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws (emphasis added).
The American ideal of "unity of we" and emphasis on egalitarian individualism is best understood by way of contrast with the "bicentric whole" or "unity of you and I" which the Canadian Constitution set in place. According to the "two nations" or "compact" theory of confederation: “the Canadian federation was inspired by a purpose altogether different from that which animated the American union. The purpose … was to safeguard the permanence and to promote the expansion of two national cultures” – the English and the French (Black 1975: 173).
The textual support for the "two nations" principle in the British North America Act (or Constitution Act (1867), as it is now known) is confined to the provisions regarding religious education and language, which have mainly to do with Quebec. This has led some to regard its salience as a "fact of Canadian nationhood" as out of proportion to its source (McRoberts 1997). The "two nations" principle also seems to contradict the principle of the equality of the provinces. Indeed, the apparent contradiction between bicentrism (in the form of the "two nations" theory) and coordinate federalism has become the driving force of Canadian political life. For when the homeland of one of the "two nations" is in one of the ten provinces, how can that province be the same as all the rest? Various strategies have been tried in an attempt to resolve this contradiction, from the Trudeau strategy of official bilingualism and interprovincial equality to the Mulrooney strategy of declaring one province to be a "distinct society." None has met with success (Webber 1994; McRoberts 1997; Saul 1997).
A Tradition of Illiberalism
Historically, there was no protection of individual rights and freedoms under the Canadian Constitution. This may be interpreted as due to the goal of the Constitution Act, as stated in its Preamble, being to promote "Peace, Order and Good Government" (as opposed to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"). This situation was altered by the promulgation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. Some regard this instrument as precipitating an "Americanization" of Canadian constitutionalism. However, the Charter is best read as continuing a Canadian tradition of illiberalism, and as enforcing individual rights only in the most contingent conceivable fashion. For example, the Charter "guarantees" the "fundamental rights and freedoms" set out in it, but at the same time subjects them to "such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." No such explicit limitation clause is to be found in the United States Constitution (Stone and Walpole 1983: 2). Similarly, section 15 of the Canadian Charter recognizes a "right to equality before and under the law" but qualifies this right by at the same time sanctioning affirmative action programs, which are designed to treat some people differently from others.
Other "illiberal" aspects of the Charter include the recognition it gives to rights of a collective nature (minority language educational rights, aboriginal rights), and the rule in section 27 that the Charter be interpreted in a manner consistent with the "multicultural heritage of Canadians". All these provisions having to do with collective identities strongly differentiate the Canadian Charter from the United States Bill of Rights. As Allan Bloom states, "the [United States] Constitution does not promise respect for blacks, whites, yellows, Catholics, Protestants or Jews. It guarantees the protection of the rights of individual human beings" (Bloom 1986: 33-4). The Canadian Constitution, by virtue of its bicentrism, does promise differential respect for Protestants and Roman Catholics, French and English-speakers, compared to all other members of Canadian society, and so may be said to contemplate a regime of proportionality before the law, rather than simple equality or sameness.
The U.S. Constitution does not, therefore, permit one to affirm any sort of intrinsic group identity, only one’s individuality or one’s nationality (read: citizenship), while the Canadian constitution downplays individuality and nationality in order to preserve the pact between the two so-called "founding peoples" – the British and the French – on whose alliance (as opposed to "perfect Union") the survival of the country is supposed to rest. This may explain why neither "American individualism" nor "American nationalism" has any real counterpart in Canada. "Canadian individualism" simply makes no sense, and there can be no such thing as "Canadian nationalism" because it is always balanced by "Quebec nationalism" and the various "regionalisms" – Western, Maritime, etc..
If, as suggested previously, the constitution of mind varies in accordance with the constitution of society, what then are the implications of these contrasting constitutional arrangements for the operations of the intellect? According to the "constitutional thesis," the combination of the principles of egalitarian individualism and concentrism give rise to a synthetic imaginary in the case of the United States, whereas in Canada the mix of proportionalism and bicentrism lead to the formation of a diathetical imaginary – that is, a way of thinking that juxtaposes but does not synthesize.
Being possessed of a diathetical imagination, Canadians rarely assume that any viewpoint they might hold is universal, and are always conscious of other perspectives. The preoccupation with otherness inevitably leads to a concern with borders. Thus, the Canadian imaginary manifests a strong interest in observing borders – both cultural and physical – as well as in looking both ways from some borderline position. The American imaginary, by contrast, manifests an interest in extending borders, which is why it is more appropriate to speak of a "frontier" than of a border mentality in the case of the United States. Developing this contrast, Ian Angus describes the American frontier as "a perpetual hurtling outward … [which is] without limit and thus claims all of America for itself. The United States names itself "America" since its outward rush is not self-limiting but would extend as far as the natural limit of the continent" (Angus 1997: 128).
By way of example, one can see the synthetic, concentric propensity of the American imaginary in operation in the following lines from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass:
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you
Come, I will make the continent indissoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,
I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy,
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their
counterpart of on the same terms
Note the concentric egotism of the first three lines, the vision of the continent as a single whole in the next two (Whitman was an annexationist at heart), and the powerful emphasis on treating everyone "the same" in the last three lines
By way of contrast, one can see the bicentric propensity of the Canadian imaginary at
work in Margaret Atwood’s Two-Headed Poems. In one of the longer poems in that collection, "Tricks with Mirrors," the emphasis is on the boundedness or closed-offness of one self to another, even when that self is one’s own mirror image. "Mirrors / are the perfect lovers," it is said, but there can never be any release, any communion for the double in the mirror. The poem also develops the image of "Our leader" as one who "reflects / light like a mirror, / splits our faces" and a little later on figures as "a siamese twin." Again the emphasis is on the non-identity of the self, and of the country:
Who does our leader speak for?
How can you use two languages
and mean what you say in both?
But enough poetry (even if it is written by the most celebrated poets of the two countries). What does all of this mean for anthropology?
Given the concentric structure of the American imaginary, American anthropologists will be inclined to theorize society in a singular fashion; given the bicentric structure of the Canadian imaginary, Canadian anthropologists will tend to theorize society in a dualistic fashion. A case in point would be the American Culture and Personality School. Basic to this theoretical approach is the notion that there exists a one-to-one correspondence between a type of personality structure and a culture. Edward Sapir expressed this notion well when he wrote: "the more fully one tries to understand a culture, the more it seems to take on the characteristics of a personality organization" (Sapir 1949: 201). The idea of cultures as personality types writ large found its most consummate expression in Ruth Benedict’s Patterns of Culture, with that work’s detailed portraits of the "Apollonian" Pueblo Indian, the "Dionysian" Plains Indian, the "paranoid" Dobuan, and the "megalomaniac" Kwakiutl personality organizations.
One looks in vain for any comparatively unified theory of culture and personality in the annals of Canadian anthropology. It seems the best Canadian anthropologists can do is project divided personalities onto their ethnographic subjects. Consider Michael Lambek’s insistence on adopting a dualistic viewpoint in his account of trance in Mayotte in Human Spirits: "Spirit and host are two entirely different persons … This opposition between two discrete identities, host and spirit, is the single most crucial element, the axiom, upon which the entire system of posession rests" (Lambek 1981: 40-41). As appears from this quotation, Lambek sees double where others would be inclined to see one. This is not to impugn Lambek’s findings. It is simply to suggest that he was disposed by his constitution to attend to the doubling of the self in spirit possession, and as such made a ground-breaking contribution to the literature on this subject.
In recent years, American anthropology has been gripped by a totalizing conception of a higher order, "world-system theory." In the words of Marcus and Fischer, this theory holds that it is essential that every ethnographic monograph
register the constitutive workings of impersonal international political and economic systems on the local level where fieldwork usually takes place. These workings can no longer be accounted for as merely external impacts upon local, self-contained cultures. Rather, external systems have their thoroughly local definition and penetration, and are formative of the symbols and shared meanings within the most intimate life-worlds of ethnographic subjects (Marcus and Fischer 1986: 38).
Canadian anthropology has not been immune from the preoccupation with world-system theory or "globalization" that has swept American anthropology. However, in the Canadian literature on this subject the tendency has been to highlight the diversity in the unity of the phenomenon of globalization, rather than the unity in the diversity the way an American scholar would (see Leach 1997).
To sum up, Canadian anthropology is a tradition that is not one because it is produced by culture-bearers (i.e. ethnographers) who belong to a country that is not one. In its very bicentricity (or refusal to synthesize) lies its strength and its potential for excellence, just as the strength of American anthropology lies in its concentricity. By way of example, think of Richard Handler’s (1988) penetrating analysis of Quebec culture on the model of the "collective individual." His account makes perfect sense, by American standards.
Politicizing Canadian Anthropology
In a trenchant and thought-provoking paper published in "Reflections on Anthropology in Canada/Réflexions sur l’anthropologie au Canada" (a special issue of the journal Anthropologica), Tom Dunk challenges my "constitutional thesis" and advances a competing theory to explain the absence of a unified national culture and, accordingly, of a unified tradition of socio-cultural anthropology, in Canada. His theory is grounded in an avowedly homegrown paradigm, staple theory. This theory is the work of Canada’s foremost political economist, Harold Innis.
Following the general outlines of [Innis’] approach, if Canadian identity is fractured, it is the product of each region’s historical origins as staple-producing zones [i.e. Canada’s long and regionally variegated integration into global capitalism] rather than the hegemonic ideology of bicentrism (Dunk 2000: 136-37).
The roots of Canadian disunity are thus traced by Dunk to the differential development of environments and markets for cod, lumber, and other natural resources (e.g. wheat, oil and gas), as well as the industrial products of the Ontario heartland.
Dunk goes on to expose how the Canadian constitution entrenched the interests of a particular elite class fraction. He also questions whether the "official state policies of bilingualism and multiculturalism" can truly be considered the expression of a "national political/collective will" when they have consistently provoked such a virulent backlash from the margins. Moreover, Dunk argues, there is nothing unique about my account of the contingent, relational character of the Canadian identity: this is just another manifestation of the "postmodern condition" or poststructuralist theories of identity generally.
In answer to Dunk’s last point, I would note that Canada is founded on the juxtaposition or affirmation of "two contradictory views of the fundamental nature of man": the English and the French (Lower cited in Black 1975: 173). This binarism admits of no dissolution – it cannot legally be collapsed (a stance that flies in the face of postmodernism and poststructuralism, both of which hinge on deconstructing binaries). To respond to Dunk’s second point, there may be class interests behind the constitution but the constitution also mediates the pursuit of those interests since the elites are no less subject to the "rule of law" than the masses. Furthermore, it is misleading to conflate the principles of bicentrism and coordinate federalism with "the official state policies of bilingualism and multiculturalism" (in Dunk’s words) since the very articulation and force of these policies depend on the constitution for their validity and scope (e.g. the Canada Official Languages Act does not apply to provincial governments or services). In a similar way, the forces of global capitalism do not operate in an untrammelled fashion, but rather insinuate themselves through the structure of the constitution just as they articulate themselves to the local ecology of the various staple producing zones of Canada. (To assert otherwise would be to engage in the most vulgar form of economic-environmental determinism.)
The advantage of the constitutional approach advocated here lies precisely in the way it complexifies Dunk’s overly general analysis in terms of class interests, exogenous forces, and physical circumstances. There is an emergent quality to Canadian culture which cannot be explained in terms of those factors Dunk highlights in his analysis, just as there is an emergent quality to Canadian anthropology. The latter tradition amounts to something more than an anthropology of and for lumberjacks, cod fisherman, or native peoples. This emergent quality is an effect of the constitution.
Dunk’s most serious challenge to the constitutionalization thesis stems from his account of the "neo-colonial" character of the anthropological labour market in Canada. As noted previously, Dunk asks: how could a local tradition emerge given the presence of so many foreign-trained academics? This argument may be overstated, however. Consider the academic pedigree of Harold Innis. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where he studied under Frank Knight and Robert Park. Was Innis’ mind and hence his work colonized as a result? Not if one attends to its details.
Innis started out as a political economist but ended up as a communication theorist. In addition to proposing the staple theory, he was responsible for formulating a highly original — and decidedly bicentric — theory of communicative biases. He postulated a dynamic (and irresolvable) tension between time-binding and space-binding media: the former foster local community and continuity, the latter privilege individualism, empire-building, and change (Innis 1950). The same diathetical (or juxtapositional) style of thinking was apparent in Innis’ style of lecturing. Apparently, Innis "habitually jumped from point ‘A’ to point ‘F’, leaving his auditors to make connections as best they could" (Babe 2000: 53). This mosaical style would be perfected by his foremost disciple, Marshall McLuhan (see Howes 1992: 165).
Innis’ case suggests that it is possible to write (and lecture) constitutionally, even for those who quit the country temporarily to earn an advanced degree elsewhere. Conversely, what of all the American scholars who occupy positions in Canadian universities and who have done so since the 1960s? Is it the case that their American citizenship insulates them from the psychological effects of living under the Canadian constitution all this time? Wouldn’t they too acquire some of the same bicentricities the rest of the Canadian population? Here, it is important to remember that there is nothing essential about being a Canadian or being an American, it is entirely legal and relational – that is, these statuses are entirely a product of the way the two cultures have tended through their constitutions to constitute themselves in contradistinction to each other.
Furthermore, as we have seen, the Canadian constitution enforces recognition of some "other" as intrinsic to any sense of self. Hence, it is not surprising that there should be a space for Americans and other others within Canadian anthropology. Dunk himself appears to come round to this position in the concluding section of his essay where he speaks of the "bifurcated consciousness" (a concept borrowed from Canadian sociologist Dorothy Smith) necessary to negotiating a theoretical position in a world dominated by unequal power relations between states and their intelligentsia. The question of power is an important one for Dunk, and he sees all cultures as either dominant or subordinate. I would view them as "equally significant, integrated systems of differences" (Boon 1982: ix). This is not to ignore power, though it is to suggest that power is always framed by knowledge.
Indigenizing Canadian Anthropology
In the same issue of Anthropologica in which Tom Dunk’s essay appeared, Regna Darnell contributed an engaging piece in which she proposed "a model for thinking anthropologically about Canada" in terms of the "tensile strength" of "shifting binaries" and "cross-cutting standpoints" (Darnell 2000). She even goes so far as to suggest that: "Many First Nations values [such as interaction, dialogue, balance, and sharing] correspond to how Canada would like to imagine itself" (Darnell 2000: 172). As should be apparent, there is a constitutional ring to Darnell’s argument (even though she makes no mention of the constitution in her paper). However, I have doubts about attaching such importance to "values" in place of structure (see Grant 1986), and I also think there are certain nuances to the Canadian identity and the shape of anthropology in Canada which Darnell’s position fails to capture.
As regards the Canadian identity, Darnell sees it as marked by compromise and the avoidance of political excess. "Why did the Canadian chicken cross the road? To get to the middle" (Darnell 2000). Expressive as this analogy may be, it requires qualification, for it suggests that the Canadian identity is a middling one. That is not bicentric enough, from a constitutional perspective. I would therefore rewrite Darnell’s punchline as follows: "To get to the middle and stand with feet on both sides of the yellow line." (The yellow line could stand for the Ottawa River, which divides Ontario and Quebec, or the split between east and west, or centre and periphery, and so on – in accordance with the principle of coordinate federalism.)
As regards Canadian anthropology, Darnell sees it as marked by a focus on First Nations issues and peoples, and therefore continuous with the Americanist Tradition: "the essential concerns of the Americanist Tradition have spanned the [Canada/U.S.] border", she writes (Darnell 1999: 41). The statistical evidence for this is quite striking (see Darnell 1997, 1998), and the factors Darnell adduces, such as ease of access, employment opportunities, and disciplinary history, go a considerable way toward explaining this focus. However, while according to Darnell (1999: 44): "anthropologists come by their theories by two major sources: first, from the symbolic capital of the discipline itself and, second, through a dialogic reflexivity with the people they study," I would argue that a third important source is the anthropologist’s own constitution.
In the case of Canada, jurisdiction over "Indians and land reserved for Indians" is allocated to the federal government by virtue of section 91(24) of the Constitution Act. This provision is in conflict with section 92(13) which reserves the regulation of "property and civil rights in the province" to the provinces. "Indians" therefore occupy an anomalous status within the division of powers under the constitution: they are "people out of place." Anomalies inevitably attract attention and are sources of "danger" in the ordinary scheme of things (Douglas 1966). "Indians" cannot be contained within the bicentrism of the Canadian constitution (any more than they can be contained within the concentrism of the American constitution). This may explain the the convenient notion of the American Indian/First Nations being a "disappearing race" (Fogelson 1999; Francis 1997). However, First Nations peoples have not disappeared, and in the case of Canada, aboriginal and treaty rights even received constitional entrenchment in 1982, which has in turn allowed for a spectacular expansion in their scope in recent years (Howes 1996b). Anthropologists, in partnership with lawyers and collaboration with First Nations peoples themselves, have contributed substantially to this expansion as a result of their participation in the official land claims and latter day treaty-making process. Thanks to this effort, there may come a day when "Indians" are no longer "people out of place."
First Nations Constitutionalism
It would be fascinating to study how American and Canadian anthropologists have theorized American Indian/First Nations cultures differently – that is, either concentrically or bicentrically – in keeping with the model advanced in this essay. Limitations of space prevent me from doing so here, and what I would like to do instead is briefly sketch what an indigenous Americanist anthropology – that is, an anthropology informed by First Nations constitutional principles – might look like.
First Nations have their own constitutions, of course (on the Mohawk constitution, for example, see Alfred (1992); on the Witsuwit’en constitution see Mills (1994) and the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Delgamuukw). Such constitutions are for the most part unwritten, which is to say "oral." The prime framer of these constitutions is the figure of Trickster (or Coyote), while the cardinal principle of First Nations constitutionalism is the rule of transformation.
The "rule of transformation" (which is the First Nations’ equivalent of the "rule of law") has implications for the native understanding of borders and of the whole. Borders, whether geographical (Canada/U.S.) or natural (animal/human), do not have the same meaning in Indian country that they do for other citizens of North America. This is because the "rule of transformation" presupposes that all borders can be crossed as opposed to extended the American way or observed the Canadian way. Meanwhile, the whole is neither unified the American way nor divided internally the Canadian way, but always shifting.
There are some non-native authorities which lend support to the above interpretation of the leading principles of First Nations constitutionalism. For example, there is Roger McDonnell’s brilliant account (1982) of the shifting definition of "dene" in Athapaskan, and there is Robin Riddington’s evocative theorization (1999) of the meaning of borders in what he calls "Coyote’s canon": "borders are constructed by what you know and don’t know. Coyote epistemology requires training in illegal border crossing" (Fee and Flick in Riddington 2000: 20). .
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