Revitalizing Nêhiyaw Legal SystemsBook - 2015
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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, both nêhiyaw 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.
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” (www.idlenomore.ca).
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