Nationhood Interrupted
120 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Feb 2015
Release Date:31 Jan 2019
Release Date:10 Jan 2019

Nationhood Interrupted

Revitalizing nêhiyaw Legal Systems

UBC Press, Purich Publishing

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, Shortlisted - 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, Shortlisted - University of Saskatchewan Non-Fiction Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards
  • 2016, Winner - Aboriginal Peoples’ Publishing 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. Alexis Kienlen, Quill & Quire
Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) is a citizen of the nêhiyaw Nation, who 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 is a recipient of the Carol Geller Human Rights Award, Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers Award, Social Justice Award, 2014 Global Citizen Award, and has received several eagle feathers from Indigenous communities. She remains active in the global grassroots Indigenous led resistance called “Idle No More” (





tawâw niwâhkômâkanak

Introduction: ahâw . . . pîhtokwêk

Soulflame manitow wiyinikêwina

The Promised Land

Rebuilding Indigenous Nationhood

Idle No More

Glossary of nêhiyawêwin Terms


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