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Traditional Governance


"Wahkohtowin means "everything is related." It is one of the basic principles of Cree Natural Law passed through language, song, prayer, and storytelling."

Voices of the Land, Wahkohtowin - Cree Natural Law


*** This guide includes resources for many different Cree nations and related nations - be cognizant of which nation(s) you are researching. See the sidebar for a list of specific Cree nations. ***

Traditional Governance Interviews

This is an interview with Nêhiyawak Elder Barry Ahenakew about Nêhiyaw traditional governance. Students at FNUniv followed traditional protocols to invite Elders and Knowledge Holders to participate in video interviews about Indigenous governance. These interviews were conducted by the National Centre for Collaboration on Indigenous Education (NCCIE), the First Nations University of Canada, and the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. 

Interview transcript

Interview Summary

Interview Summary

Interview Transcript

Cree words in the interview

  • "Jimmy Myo is speaking an old, ceremonial dialect of Cree. Many of the words and phrases below have more than one meaning. Please refer to this list as you listen to Mr. Myo speak. Consider the explanations as a launching point for discussion of the different layers of meaning for these words and phrases."




Film and Video

"This documentary focuses on the goose hunt, a ritual of central importance to the Cree people of the James Bay coastal areas. Not only a source of food, the hunt is also used to transfer Cree culture, skills, and ethics to future generations. Filmmaker Paul M. Rickard invites us along with his own family on a fall goose hunt, so that we can share in the experience."

Discussions by four Cree Elders; George Brertton, Fred Campiou, Isaac Chamakese and William Dreaver, give insight into the differences between Canadian law and Cree Natural Law and why Natural Law is needed in contemporary society.