Aseniwuche Winewak Nation

7 Cree Principles

Seven Cree principles were identified by the Aseniwuche Elders and Traditional Knowledge Holders as fundamental to Aseniwuche Winewak Nation. Wahkohtown Law and Governance Lodge Research Assistant and long-time colleague of AWN, Johanne Johnson, explored each of these principles and how they apply to the Nation historically and today as part of her Master’s in Native Studies at the University of Alberta.

With the help of Cree-fluent community member, Carol Wanyandie, Johanne interviewed seven Elders and Traditional Knowledge Holders. Johanne asked questions to elicit community members’ personal understandings of the meaning behind each principle, how they have seen these principles being applied in past and present actions in their lives, and how they believed the principles should apply in the future.

Johanne transcribed and analyzed the interview data and added information from published works where Cree scholars have discussed these principles. This helps everyone, fluent or not, deepen and broaden their understanding of the principles. These principles assisted in the development of the draft Membership Code and can be used for AWN’s future constitutional and other governance work.

In 2020, AWN presented Johanne with an Eagle Feather to celebrate her incredible academic achievements. The Eagle Feather is a sacred symbol in Cree culture given to those who have reached extraordinary accomplishments through hard work, integrity and a willingness to learn and improve. AWN was proud to honour Johanne’s dedication and commitment to understanding and making positive contributions to the Nation.

ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ _ᐱᒪᑎᓯᐃᐧᐣ
Nehiyaw Pimatisiwin

The principles and related laws connected to the Cree way of life.

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Maintaining the collective identity of the Aseniwuche Winewak through language.

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Recognizing that all beings are related in the world and respecting all relations.

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ᒥᔪ _ᐑᒉᐦᑐᐏᐣ

The importance of good communication, kindness, and respect to achieve unity.

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Understanding that individuals cannot “do it alone” and we need to support and help each other.

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The principle of respectful relationships between all beings, animate and inanimate.

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The obligation to speak the truth and be honest.

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Reference: Aseniwuche Winewak Nation Citizenship and Governance Research Project Report 2018-2020, prepared by Dr. Hadley Friedland, Dr. Shalene Jobin and Koren Lightning-Earle of the Wahkohtowin Law & Governance Lodge, University of Alberta