An Ethic of Mutual Respect
240 pages, 6 x 9
5 figures and 1 map
Release Date:01 Jul 2013
Release Date:10 Oct 2012
Release Date:01 Oct 2012

An Ethic of Mutual Respect

The Covenant Chain and Aboriginal-Crown Relations

UBC Press

Over the course of a century, until the late 1700s, the British Crown, the Iroquois, and other Aboriginal groups of eastern North America developed a system of alliances and treaties that came to be known collectively as the Covenant Chain.

In An Ethic of Mutual Respect, Bruce Morito offers a philosophical interrogation of the predominant current reading of the historical record regarding the Covenant Chain. Through this fresh perspective, he overturns assumptions about early First Nations--Crown relationships and demonstrates the relevance of the Covenant Chain to the current relationship. By examining the forms of expression contained in colonial documents, the Record of Indian Affairs, and related materials, Morito locates the values and moral commitments that underpinned the parties’ strategies for negotiation and reconciliation. What becomes apparent is that these interactions developed an ethic of mutually recognized respect that was coherent and neither culturally nor historically bound. This ethic, Morito argues, remains relevant to current debates over Aboriginal and treaty rights as they pertain to the British Crown tradition. Real change is possible if the focus can be shifted from piecemeal legal and political disputes to the development of an intercultural ethic based on trust, respect, and solidarity.

This book will appeal to anyone interested in Native American studies, philosophy, ethics, politics, law, and history.

Bruce Morito gives vibrant voice to an important yet long-ignored topic. He makes a compelling argument for the existence of the Covenant Chain’s moral framework, using historical evidence to inform present-day indigenous–settler relations. This is an engaging and original book. Douglas Sanderson, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
In An Ethic of Mutual Respect, Bruce Morito demonstrates how the Covenant Chain underlies a vital relationship in the history of Canada ... This book has the potential to correct historical injustice while paving the way for new relationship building. It is of significant importance to anyone who wants to understand the true nature of European-Indian interactions, treaty relationships, and the meaning of treaties. Lorraine Mayer, Native Studies, Brandon University
Bruce Morito is a professor of philosophy in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Athabasca University.



1 The Historical Context

2 Structure and Function of the Covenant Chain Treaty Relationship

3 Reputation and the Role of Key Agents

4 The Transcultural, Transhistorical Ethic of the Covenant Chain


Notes; Bibliography; Index

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