Asserting our Sovereignty for the Benefit of our Nation, our Lands and our People

This page provides an ongoing record of information and materials related to our laws, their amendments and review processes.

Governance And Law-Making Move NCN Toward A New Era

Democracy and good governance go hand in hand. Study after study has confirmed that good governance is critical for achieving sustainable economic development. As the democratically elected representatives of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, Chief and Council have the honourable task, and the duty, to ensure legislation, policies and practices are developed and implemented to ensure government takes place by the people and for the people. Participation by NCN Citizens in the institutions and processes of government are essential if NCN is to continue to grow and prosper.

Our Othasowewin and Aski-Pumenikewin give us important tools to govern ourselves in positive and effective ways. Under the Indian Act we only passed four bylaws – Animal Control, Curfew, Membership Code and Financial Administration, all of which had to be approved by the Minister of Indian Affairs. They are all very outdated.

Our plan is to replace all of these with our own laws and to enact many others so that eventually “laws of general application” which section 88 of the Indian Act says apply to us will be replaced by many of our own laws. Our goal is to assert our sovereignty over our traditional lands and negotiate ways to avoid ambiguity and uncertainty with the laws enacted by the federal, provincial and municipal governments while restoring our own jurisdiction.

Nisichawayasi Nehethowuk Okemawin

Nisichawayasi Nehethowuk Okemawin depends on the election of ethical leaders and a competent, skilled public service to effectively deliver programs and services NCN Citizens need. Since Othasowewin was approved by NCN in November 2017, leadership has been working on the various administrative processes that need to be put in place.

The General Assembly held on April 25, 2018 was a historic day for NCN. It marked the review of the first laws to be passed under NCN’s own Constitution. NCN is taking a major step forward to assert sovereignty and to ensure there is accountability and transparency in the decision-making processes. Good governance is critical for the success of any Nation. Economic development requires stable, effective governing institutions.

Steps for Making a Law Under Our Othasowewin

The following steps are taken from Chapter 14 of Othasowewin and Chapter 7 of Aski-Pumenikewin. We are developing a manual for the community and our staff to assist in understanding how to bring forward proposals for laws.

Law-Making Steps

  • A law can be initiated by a Proposal to Chief and Council from a member of Chief and Council, an employee of Nisichawaysi Nehethowuk Okemawin or a group of at least 5% of NCN voters;
  • Upon receipt of a Proposal, Chief and Council must consider it within 30 days and decide whether to pass a Council Resolution to have a draft law prepared, which law must then be considered at a Council meeting within 6 months;
  • After considering the draft law, Chief and Council shall by resolution, direct that the law be considered at a General Assembly, reject the draft law, or request further work on the law;
  • The law will then be considered by the General Assembly to obtain advice from NCN Citizens;
  • Chief and Council may decide to have workshops about a proposed law before referring it to the General Assembly;
  • A report on the deliberations at the General Assembly must be prepared by the public service and tabled at the next regular meeting of Chief and Council;
  • Chief and Council will then review the law and the report and decide whether to accept, modify, reject or refer the law to a special committee of NCN Citizens for further consideration and revision;
  • If the law is referred to a special committee it must report back to Chief and Council within 30 days;
  • If approved, the law will come into effect within 30 days or the date on which Chief and Council decide;
  • The law will then be signed by Chief and Council and posted on the NCN website and the First Nations Gazette;
  • If a law proposed by a group of at least 5% of NCN Citizens is rejected, they can request written reasons for the decision made by Chief and Council;
  • Laws are amended using this same process.


Nisichawayasi Emergency Measures Law, 2020, c. E-1

CCLNCN 2020, c. E-1

WHEREAS  Kihche’othasowewin (the Great Law of the Creator) and the customary law principles of the Nisichawayasi Nehethowuk are to guide the conduct of Ethiniwuk (individuals) and Ka’esi’pisketuskan’nesichik (the Nation);

WHEREAS Article 7.2 of Othasowewin indicates that public confidence and public trust are elements of good governance and that decisions must be made in the collective best interest of our Nation;

WHEREAS it is in the best interests of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation to enact an NCN Law to provide for emergency planning, management and implementation of measures required for the public health and safety of NCN Citizens, residents and visitors to NCN Lands;

WHEREAS NCN has the authority under Article 14.13 of Othasowewin and Article 8.1 of Aski-Pumenikewin to enact NCN Laws urgently required for public health or safety;

THIS LAW in accordance with Othasowewin 2017, c. O-1 and Aski-Pumenikewin 2017, c. A-1 is enacted as follows:


  1. This law may be cited as the Nisichawayasi Emergency Measures Law, 2020, c. E-1.



  1. In this Nisichawayasi Emergency Measures Law, “emergency” means an urgent or imminent situation anticipated to be of a temporary nature that requires prompt action to
    (a)          prevent or limit serious endangerment of the lives, health or safety of NCN Citizens, residents on, or visitors to, NCN Lands; or
    (b) threatens the Tipethimisowin (sovereignty) or security of NCN.
    emergency plan” means a plan for preparing for, responding to and recovering from emergencies;
    NCN Lands” means the reserve lands more particularly described in Aski-Pumenikewin;
    N’tuskenan” means the traditional lands occupied and used by the Nisichawayasi Nehethowuk prior to signing the adhesion to Treaty 5 and includes NCN Lands and the Resource Management Area;

Scope and Application

  1. This law applies to the protection and safety of people throughout N’tuskenan.


Emergency Plans

  1. Each member of Council assigned a portfolio in accordance with Chapter 11 of Othasowewin shall work with the personnel in their area of responsibility to:
    (a)          identify the risks that are within or related to that portfolio including critical infrastructure and essential services and
    (b)          prepare emergency management plans related to those risks;
    (c)          update, maintain, test and implement those plans;
    (d)          ensure the plans developed for each portfolio area are included in the overall NCN emergency management plan.

Contents of emergency management plans

  1. Each departmental or organizational emergency management plan shall include
    (a)          the lead position during an emergency;
    (b)          applicable policies, processes, programs and procedures to provide for the continuity of the operations of Nisichawayasi Nehethowuk Okimawin (NCN government);
    (c)          essential services requirements; and
    (d)          applicability of, or co-ordination with, any applicable federal-provincial plans.

Chief and Council Orders or Regulation

  1. Chief and Council may without limitation make orders or regulations
    (a)          respecting the preparation, maintenance, testing and implementation of individual portfolio emergency management plans;
    (b)          approving portfolio emergency management plans;
    (c)          approving a comprehensive NCN emergency management plan; and
    (d)          respecting the co-ordination of emergency management plans with federal,  provincial municipal or other First Nation plans.


Declaration of State of Emergency

  1. If Chief and Council believe on reasonable grounds that an emergency exists and special temporary measures are required to deal with the emergency, Chief and Council may issue an order declaring that a state of emergency exists.

Contents of the Order

  1. An order declaring a state of emergency shall outline the nature of the emergency and the date it shall come into effect.

Duration of Order

  1. An order declaring a state of emergency shall expire at the end of sixty days from the date the order comes into effect unless the order is revoked earlier by council resolution or extended in accordance with this law.

Communication of Order

  1. Chief and Council shall ensure that the order is communicated to NCN Citizens, residents on, and visitors to, NCN Lands, other levels of government, businesses and other relevant entities using the most reasonable and appropriate means in the circumstance.

Extension of Order

  1. Chief and Council may extend the state of emergency for further periods of up to 30 days each to continue addressing the emergency.

Emergency Powers

  1. Upon the declaration of and during a state of emergency, Chief and Council may make such orders or regulations it believes is necessary to deal with the emergency:
    (a)          the regulation or prohibition of travel to, from or within any specified area of N’tuskenan or NCN Lands or part of either N’tuskenan or NCN Lands;
    (b)          the evacuation of persons and the removal of personal property from any specified area and making arrangements for the adequate care and protection of persons and property;
    (c)          control or prevent the movement of people and property;
    (d)          authorize the entry into any building on NCN Lands without a warrant or order under the Nisichawayasi Community Protection Law;
    (e)          authorize the procurement, use and distribution of essential resources, services and personnel and provide for reasonable compensation for in respect of the resources or services provided;
    (f)           regulate and provide for the distribution and availability of essential goods, services and resources;
    (g)          authorize and make emergency payments;
    (g)          direct or authorize the closure of schools, businesses, and other facilities;
    (h)          establish emergency shelters, health treatment, isolation or quarantine centres, or such other facilities as may be required;
    (i)           assess the damage to the environment, any works, undertakings, infrastructure or other structures and the costs to repair, replace or restore the environment, such works, undertakings, infrastructure or other structures;
    (j)           expend such sums as are necessary to pay expenses caused directly or indirectly by the emergency; and
    (k)          evict, banish, imprison or impose fines consistent with the  Nisichawayasi Community Protection Law 2019, c. C-1.


Repeal bylaw

  1. The 1992 NCN Emergency Measures bylaw established pursuant to the Indian Act (Canada) is repealed.

Effective date

  1. This law comes into force on March 20, 2020.


  • All necessary steps are authorized to be taken to transition from the 1992 bylaw to this law.


Joyce Yetman, Registrar

View PDF of the Emergency Measures Law 2020, c. E-1

Nisichawayasihk Nehetho Nation and Kihche’othasowewin (the Great Law of the Creator)

The Nisichawayasihk Nehethowuk traditionally live by reference to Kihche’othasowewin (the Great Law of the Creator), which is underpinned by spiritual and philosophical beliefs, values, principles and goals.  Nisichawayasihk Nehethowuk customary law is the sum total of these beliefs, values and norms.  All combine to guide and direct the conduct of ethiniwuk (individuals), ka’esi minisichik (the family), ka’esi anisko’wahkometochik (the extended family), ka’esi mamawe’minisichik (the clan) and ka’esi’pisketuskan’nesichik (the nation). In this way social order is maintained by doctrines that reflect Kihche’othasowewin.

Ceremonies are an important part of Nisichawayasihk Nehethowuk customary law and are performed primarily to seek guidance, reconciliation, restore harmony, reverse the potential of misfortune and achieve balance (tapiskochinikewin) with one’s surroundings.

The principles of Nisichawayasihk Nehethowuk customary law are as follows:

  1. Kwayaskonikiwin, (reconciliation) which means that the conduct of a person must be reconciled with Kihche’othasowewin (the Great Law of the Creator);
    Everything placed on N’tuskenan was placed for a purpose. The plants and animals gave our people all their gifts in exchange for respect. Now, the laws that are hidden in every leaf and rock have been violated and the agreed upon laws and customs are no longer followed. These laws might be ancient but not archaic but eternal. All the human races are subject to the same laws. For every action there is an equal reaction. Thus humans who do not respect creation and the Great Law will be penalized; accidents, sickness, disease, heart attacks, insanity, and even death will happen to the violators.
  2. Kistethichikewin, (respect) which means that the conduct of a person must be based on the sacred responsibility to treat all things with respect and honour. In the context of the duty to consult, Kistethichikewin means that a person must show respect to all the four orders of creation. The four orders of creation includes N’tuskenan or some will refer as Mother Earth as the first order with her life blood, the water (nepi). For without water, there would be no plant, animal, or human life.  The plant kingdom is the second, for without it there would be no animal or human life. The animal kingdom is the third. Last and clearly the least important is the human kingdom. It is we who owe the greatest duty of respect and care for the other three orders. That was a covenant of unity at the time of creation. Without the four orders, we will perish. And so, our role is not to subdue but to learn how to interact so that we can try our best to accommodate (nuheputhehiwewin) ourselves to the existing relationships and the interdependence. According to our Nehetho world view mankind’s interests are not to be placed above those of any other part of creation.
  3. Tawinamakewin, (consent) which means that a person is welcome.  In this          context, Tawinamakewin means that an entity requesting access to the land and   its resources has a duty to consult including consideration of the well-being of the   inhabitants. Therefore, the inhabitants will consider the request for access.
  4. Aski Kanache Pumenikewin, which means that the conduct of a person must be in accordance with the sacred duty to protect N’tuskenan (the land, life, home and spiritual shelter entrusted to us by Kihche’manitou [the Creator] for our children michimahch’ohc (since time immemorial). There is a duty to respect and seek Ethinesewin. Our human duty is to strive constantly to attain a state of mind and spirit that both acknowledges and manifests understanding at every instant and in every act.
  5. Ethinesewin, which means traditional knowledge, including the influence of moons and seasons on climate, weather, animals, plants and Ethiniwuk (individuals) as well as seasonal. Our special gift as Nehetho people involves understanding the complex relationships between the four orders of creation and all the things that exist within them.
  6. N’totumakewin,( the art of listening) which means that a person must seek not to be understood but to first understand. N’totumakewin establishes a duty to teach as well as to understand and to share as well as to seek Ethinesewin;
  7. Ayakwamisiwin, (to be cautious about life) which means that a person must be cautious of his/her actions where there is uncertainty.Our special responsibilities involve preserving the health of N’tuskenen, (N’kawenan-our mother) her lifeblood, and the plant, animal and human kingdoms. Where there is certainty, there is uncertainty. Where there is reality, there is unreality. There is the reality of the tangible and the intangible. The physical and the spiritual world are real and these two aspects are of one reality. Yet, there are laws which govern each of them. Violating the spiritual laws can affect the spiritual world. A balanced life is one that honors the laws of both of these realities.
  1. O’chinewin, which means that what a person does to nature will come back to that person.Creation sustained each other and was responsible for each other. This was the law that was agreed upon. The animals ate the plants and herbs, and the humans ate the animals. When we eat the flesh of the animals, we were getting good medicine and natural power for a long and healthy life. If there is a violation then there will be reciprocity.
  2. Aniskowatesewe Kanache Pumenikewin, which means that a person must act in accordance with the sacred responsibility to protect heritage resources; to protect our sacred sites; to protect our ancestors resting places and their tools.
  3. Kanatethechikewin, which means that the conduct of a person must be in accordance with the sacred responsibility to ensure that Ethinewikuna (human remains) and Aniskowe Apuchetawina (artifacts; the things we use while here on Earth) must not be disturbed;
  4. Asehewewin, which means that what a person does to Ethinewikuna (human remains) and Aniskowe Apuchetawina (artifacts; the things we use while here on Earth) will affect that person’s whole being.
  1. Nehetho Tipethimisowin,(nationhood) which means the exercise of sovereignty. The conduct of all persons must be consistent with Kihche’othasowewin (the Great Law of the Creator) and must reflect decision-making roles in accord with Nehetho Tipethimisowin.To Nisichawayasihk Nehethowuk (the people from where the three rivers meet and who speak nehethowewin: the language of the four winds), n’tuskenan (our land) has been entrusted to them by Kihche’manitou (the Creator) for their children michimahch’ohchi (since time immemorial).

Finance Law

This law sets out the rules for the financial administration and management of our NCN finances. Having this law in place will help to ensure accountability and transparency. It will help to strengthen our governance processes which is very important when dealing with financial institutions, seeking investments, accessing capital markets and so NCN Citizens know that we have robust processes in places that must be adhered to by all NCN Entities including Chief and Council and our staff.

The Finance Law was approved and officially adopted by Chief and Council on May 8, 2018. The new Nisichawayasi Finance Law came into effect on June 7, 2018 replacing the old Indian Act Financial Administration Bylaw from 1971. This is the first law completed solely using the procedures in our own Othasowewin.

Developing the Nisichawayasi Finance Law using the processes in our Othasowewin has proven to be much more efficient and less costly than using the Indian Act and old INAC policies, plus it allows us to be more responsive to the feedback received from NCN Citizens.

Draft versions include:

Community Protection Law

This law sets out new regulations for the protection of our community. Enacting this law helps to ensure that illegal drugs and alcohol are carefully monitored and appropriately dealt with in the community. It lays out the consequences for illegal behaviour, helping to discourage offenders inside and outside the community who wish to take advantage of our Nation. It also clarifies conduct for search and seizure, checkstops, confiscation and other details in policing these areas.

The Community Protection Law was approved and officially adopted by Chief and Council on August 22, 2019.

Developing the Nisichawayasi Community Protection Law using the processes in our Othasowewin has proven to be much more efficient and less costly than using the Indian Act and old INAC policies, plus it allows us to be more responsive to the feedback received from NCN Citizens.

For more detail on this law please refer to these documents:

Election Law

Election Law Amendments and Review Process

2018 Proposed Election Law Amendments

The proposed Election Law amendments are designed to strengthen our election processes by avoiding the ambiguities related to the inclusion of hybrid criminal offences and so any NCN Citizen who has a criminal record for indictable offences will not be able to run for office for 8 years from the date of the conviction or appeal proceedings or conclusion of any jail sentence.

Other amendments are needed to make it easier to conduct the actual election by ensuring flexibility in the dates for the various election steps to take place. As currently drafted it is sometimes difficult because the dates required to do certain things fall on weekends or holidays in the summer.

Amendments are also required to the preparation of the Voter’s list and access to it so that identity theft can be avoided given concerns in today’s world. The 2014 Appeal Committee’s decision also needs to be addressed as we have determined that an e-vote is not possible to meet the Election Law balloting requirements (candidate pictures, Cree syllabics and security features). Therefore, provisions have been added for anyone living more than 50 kilometers from an in-person voting location to request a mail-in ballot.
There are also technical amendments required to make the Election Law consistent with Othasowewin.

Draft versions include:

Election Code Vote Approves All But Two Proposed Amendments

NELSON HOUSE, Manitoba, October 29, 2013:  In NCN’s October 28 vote, a total of 439 NCN electors voted to approve all but two proposed amendments to the Election Code.  Voters rejected amendments to allow NCN Citizens convicted of a crime to run for office eight years after their conviction, and turned down mail-in ballots.  Full details are available in the attached news release. Click to download.

A breakdown of votes cast for and against each amendment are outline in the table on the second page of the Vote Results document. Click here to view the official vote results.

Revote on Election Code Amendments Set for Monday, Oct. 28

NCN Chief and Council and NCN Electoral Officer Joyce Yetman have set Monday, Oct. 28 as the date for a revote on amendments to the election code that were narrowly turned down in the Sept. 12 vote.

Voting Locations Announced

NCN Chief and Council and Electoral Officer Joyce Yetman have announced locations for the Oct. 28 vote. Polls will be open from noon to 8:00 p.m.  (The Election Code Newsletter incorrectly indicated polls would open at 8:00 a.m.)


Nelson House: United Church

Leaf Rapids:       Town Centre

Thompson:         Makwa Room, Mystery Lake Hotel

Winnipeg:           NCN Office, Suite 300 , 428 Portage Avenue at Vaughn Street. (Power Building)

Election Code Amendments are Important

“These amendments are important as part of our continuing evolution as a self-governing democratic First Nation,” Chief Jerry Primrose said.  “These changes, along with a proposed constitution for the First Nation to be reviewed with NCN Citizens this fall, will help clarify and improve our election and referendum processes. Low turnout was also a concern in the last vote, so we need all NCN Citizens to come out and participate in this vote.”

Door-to-Door Consultations Underway to Explain Amendments

Because of rumours and misunderstandings about the amendments before the last vote, NCN has hired community consultants to meet with NCN Citizens before the upcoming vote to explain the proposed changes.  NCN Chief and Council are also going door to door in Nelson House to consult, emphasize the importance of the vote and dispel any misconceptions.

Newsletter Provides Additional Information

A newsletter highlighting proposed changes is being circulated to NCN Citizens, or is available for download by clicking on the thumbnail below.  Copies of the Current Election Code and the Proposed 2013 Amended Election Code with tracked changes are also available for download below.

Final Vote Results Announced for Amendments to the Election Code

NCN voters reject amendments by six votes

NELSON HOUSE, Manitoba – September 13, 2013 – Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation Electoral Officer Joyce Yetman today announced final results of the September 12, 2013 voting results for amendments to the election code.

A total of 337 electors participated in the vote and there was 1 spoiled ballot. There were 213 votes cast in Nelson House, 77 in Thompson, and 38 in Winnipeg. Of those voting, 161 votes were cast in favor of the package of amendments and 167 votes were cast against the package of amendments. There were 9 rejected ballots.

As the package of amendments was not approved by a majority of NCN Citizens who cast a ballot, there will be no changes to the Election Code (1998, E-1 as amended in 2002 and 2010). Copies of the official results and the current Election Code are available from the NCN Electoral Officer or for download below.

Election Code Amendment Vote

All NCN Citizens are encouraged to participate in the Election Code Amendments Vote, Thursday, September 12, 2013

Election Code Amendment September 12 Vote


Nelson House: United Church

Thompson:         Mystery Lake Hotel Boardroom

Winnipeg:           NCN Winnipeg Office, Suite 300 (3rd Floor) Power Building, 428 Portage Avenue

Final Information Relevant to the September 2013 Election Code Amendment Vote (Please click to download and read before vote.)

* Please note: “While Chief and Council and the technical team have carefully reviewed the material in this newsletter to ensure all proposed amendments to the Election Code are accurate, Chief and Council reserve the right to correct any errors or omissions prior to the vote on September 12th.” Please download and refer to the ‘tracked changes’ version of the complete proposed election code for the final wording that will be subject to the vote. Text highlighted in yellow in that document indicates sections and/or text that differs from the newsletter version.

Background to 2012-13 Review Process

NCN’s Election Code was first adopted in 1998.

In 2004, an extensive Election Code review process was initiated involving considerable Citizen input.  However, no proposed amendments resulting from that review were enacted before the 2006 election for Chief and Council.

In 2010, the Election Code Review process was restarted, driven by the need to remove residency requirements for Members seeking office resulting from the Gull Bay First Nation federal court decisions.  Without those changes, the 2010 NCN election could have faced legal challenges.

On June 14, 2010, a General Assembly was held to review and vote on 25 proposed amendments, but only four were approved, and NCN Citizens gave direction that further consultation should take place well before the 2014 election.

Since then, other proposed changes have been added from several sources including the independent observer at the 2010 election, the electoral officer, Chief and Council, staff and advisors.

In late 2012, the current election code review process began with two rounds of workshops held in May and July 2013.

Earlier Information Related to the 2012-13 Election Code Amendment Review Process and Workshops

Information Related to the June 14, 2010 General Assembly to Amend Election Code Set

In preparation for the 2010 election for Chief and Council in August, a General Assembly was held Monday, June 14 (rescheduled from May 31) in Nelson House to review and vote on proposed amendments to NCN’s election code.  See notices below:

Information on the proposed amendments is contained in the document below which you can click to download.  The document provides side-by-side comparisons of revised clauses with existing clauses, as well as wording for proposed new clauses to be added.

Complete copies of the existing and proposed amended Election Code documents can be viewed or downloaded below.

The General Assembly followed NCN’s General Assembly Protocol can be viewed in the attachment below.

View the ballot prepared in the event a secret ballot vote had been requested by a minimum of 10 attending NCN Members.

Read the newsletter reporting on the June 14, 2010 General Assembly.

Election Code Newsletters Distributed in 2004 and 2005