Photo Credit: Mike Graeme

Navigating the Border

The 1794 Jay Treaty between the U.S. and Britain was supposed to allow Aboriginal people free passage between the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. respects this treaty. Canada does not. What does that mean? Canadian First Nations can travel freely across the boundary to the U.S. to study, work or retire. American tribal people cannot do the reverse.

When we Sinixt travel to 80% of our traditional territory in Canada, we must do so as visitors. We require a government-issued passport or enhanced driver’s license. We must have plans to return to the United States.

This must change. In the aftermath of the Desautel decision, we are working with the Canadian government to make it easier for Sinixt people to travel, work and stay in our Canadian homeland, for as long as we wish. We must be treated as Canadians – as an Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

There must be the same right of entry for the Sinixt as there is for Canadian citizens and those who have Indian Act status in Canada. Check back here for updates.

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