Revitalizing nêhiyaw Legal Systems
Traditionally and through custom, nêhiyaw (Cree) laws are shared and passed down through the generations in the oral tradition, utilizing stories, songs, ceremonies, lands, waters, animals, land markings and other sacred rites. The loss of the languages, customs, and traditions of Indigenous peoples as a direct result of colonization has necessitated this departure from the oral tradition to record the physical laws of the nêhiyaw, for the spiritual laws can never be written down. As a result, this book is the first of its kind.
McAdam, a co-founder of the international movement Idle No More, shares nêhiyaw laws so that future generations, bothnêhiyaw and non-Indigenous people, may understand and live by them to revitalize Indigenous nationhood. Nationhood is about land, language, and culture. Understanding and gaining an awareness of Indigenous laws will provide insight into the thoughts and worldview of Indigenous people before and during the numbered Treaty making process, and help create a harmonious society for all. Hopefully, then, the pain of the poverty, incarceration, suicide, death after death, without hope for the future, of nêhiyaw will become a distant memory.
- 2016, Winner - Aboriginal Peoples' Publishing Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards
- 2016, Short-listed - Non-Fiction Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards
- 2016, Winner - Rasmussen, Rasmussen and Charowsky Aboriginal Peoples’ Writing Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards
- 2016, Winner - Regina Public Library Aboriginal Peoples’ Publishing Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards
- 2016, Short-listed - University of Saskatchewan Non-Fiction Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards
The text employs many Cree words, but this is done in a way that makes the meaning clear to non-indigenous readers, and there’s a glossary for those who don’t know the language.
Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) is a citizen of the nêhiyaw Nation and holds a Juris Doctorate (LL.B) from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor’s of Human Justice (B.H.J) from the University of Regina. She remains active in the global grassroots Indigenous-led resistance Idle No More (idlenomore.ca).
Introduction: ahâw . . . pîhtokwêk
Soulflame manitow wiyinikêwina
The Promised Land
Rebuilding Indigenous Nationhood
Idle No More
Glossary of nêhiyawêwin Terms
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