This book is the first of its kind. Traditionally, nêhiyaw (Cree) laws are passed down through the generations in the oral tradition, utilizing stories, songs, ceremonies, and other sacred rites. The loss of Indigenous languages, customs, and traditions, a direct result of colonization, has necessitated this departure from the oral tradition to record the physical laws of the nêhiyaw. The spiritual laws can never be written down. McAdam, a co-founder of the international movement Idle No More, shares nêhiyaw laws so that future generations, nêhiyaw and non-Indigenous people, may understand and live by them to revitalize Indigenous nationhood. 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 nêhiyaw woman, a citizen of the nêhiyaw Nation. Sylvia is a direct descendant of Treaty peoples; a mix of nêhiyaw and nakawe (Saulteaux) peoples. Sylvia has her Juris Doctorate (LL.B) from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Human Justice (B.H.J) degree 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 received several eagle feathers from Indigenous communities. Sylvia is co-founder of a global grassroots Indigenous led resistance called “Idle No More” (www.idlenomore.ca). Sylvia is a mother, grandmother, sister, and a passionate protector and defender of all lands, waters, and animals. Her greatest solace and joy is being on her peoples’ lands and waters.