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Friday, August 7, 2015

Annual Native Parade Encounters Delay at Border- Could a Lack of Jay Treaty Reciprocity by Canada be to Blame?

Members of the Indian Defense League of America encountered delays in their annual cross-border parade, in celebration of the Jay Treaty right of native peoples to freely pass the U.S./Canada border. 

“The U.S. and Canadian countries put a border through the middle of our territory, and today is the day we exercise the right to remind them that we have (the freedom) to pass through our territory,” said Jill Claus of the Tuscarora Nation.

Read the full article at: http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/2015/07/18/annual-native-parade-encounters-delay-at-border 

Although the delays were reportedly due to heightened security for the Pan American Games, it may have also had something to do with the fact that Canada never ratified the Jay Treaty. As it currently stands, U.S.-born Indians are not extended a reciprocal right of entry to Canada under the Jay Treaty. While Canadian courts have recognized and protected an aboriginal right to freely pass the border, the right is based on a complex,10-factor test for determining whether aboriginal rights exist in a particular case; it is difficult to assert and not a practical means for native peoples in the U.S. to access Canada.

Native communities have existed in North America long before there was a border to cross, and native communities continue exist on both sides of the border. Without some form of Jay Treaty reciprocity by Canada, native communities will continue to be hindered in their attempts to maintain cultural, social, business, and family ties with their cross-border counterparts.