Cree Justice and Legal Traditions

A place to locate summaries and resources on Cree Legal and Justice traditions. Cree law, guiding principles, cultural approaches to sentencing or restoring justice, legal protocols, community responses and ways to address harm. 

DISCLAIMER: The information contained within these entries is meant to provide general information, contextual summaries which may help to inform aspects of a Gladue Submission such as the healing plan and concepts of justice within different Indigenous Legal Traditions. These summaries are meant to demonstrate different Indigenous legal and justice traditions, and speak to broad concepts found within these legal systems. The database does not claim that these summaries are applicable to every Indigenous community or person, nor should they be viewed as definitive statements on Indigenous Laws and Legal traditions which are responsive, proactive, and change over time. Rather, they outline broad concepts that speak to worldviews and values demonstrated through Indigenous law and legal systems. Every Nation and Community will have their own legal traditions, protocols, and laws that are unique to them. These summaries help to enable database users to identify underlying values, key background information, and provide case-examples as to how one nation, or perhaps many, practiced and/or continues to practice their legal traditions. These contextual pieces have the potential to inform what types of sanctions and responses might be culturally responsive/relevant for a particular offender; however, it is important to draft healing plans in consultation with communities and Elders, representatives from the Criminal Justice System, prosocial networks (family, friends, organizations, etc.), and the client to identify appropriate sanctions.

nêhiyaw (Cree) Laws and Guiding Principles 

  • Cree laws and principles which have been identified.

nêhiyaw (Cree) Justice Traditions and Protocols 

  • Sentencing and Community responses to harm, Cree justice protocols and methods of addressing conflict/harm.

The Importance of Circles in Cree Legal Traditions

  • Summary on the importance of Circles (talking, sentencing, healing) within Cree Legal Traditions, provided by the TRC Final Report: Reconciliation (Vol. 6) 

(Thesis) Nêhiyaw Âskiy Wiyasiwêwina: Plains Cree Earth Law and constitutional/ecological reconciliation                                               

  • "This dissertation examines the constitutive role that four areas of Plains Cree livelihood – nêhiyaw âcimowina (narrative processes), nêhiyaw âskiy (Plains Cree territory and territoriality), nêhiyawewin (Plains Cree language) and nêhiyaw mamâhtâwiwina (Plains Cree ceremony) – play in ensuring such good living. Taking a ‘law as weaving’ approach’, these areas and institutions form a web to support kind relations to our environments and ecologies. Treaties provide an integral avenue to revitalize the uses of nêhiyaw law in our land relations."