Moral Foundations in the Aboriginal/British Crown 'Tradition': Virtue and The Covenant Chain
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Whether a mutually recognized respectful relationship between North America's First Nations and the British Crown existed forms one concern of this paper. A second, assuming sufficient evidence to affirm the first, is to describe the ethical framework according to which this relationship was formed. By appealing to 17th and 18th century records of agencies responsible for Indian affairs, the paper attempts to sketch the moral norms influencing the relationship, to the extent that such information can be gleaned from these records. It concludes that there were important, if not critical, ethical expectations exercised through wampum and other protocols in what was known as the Covenant Chain. The interdisciplinary analysis to ferret out these norms and concepts embedded in records of council meetings, descriptions of persons and other descriptions of how the English adapted to the practices of aboriginal people. Identifying the ethical elements is done partly through describing patterns of explicit use of ethical language and partly through what can be called a "presupposition analysis." The hope is to shed light on the conditions, in particular, that of the First Nation/British legal, political and economic tradition.