Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Exciting Jay Treaty Developments in 2016 and Beyond!

On Saturday, July 9th, U.S. immigration attorney Greg Boos chaired a panel on An Indigenous Right of Free Passage at the Border: The Jay Treaty’s Promise & Potential at 11th Annual Vine Deloria Jr. Symposium at the Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, WA. Vine Deloria was an internationally known aboriginal activist and educator. Perhaps his most famous work is Custer Died for Your Sins, but he is author of several other important works as well.

Meanwhile, Greg Boos is chairing a steering committee to organize a two-day national conference on the Jay Treaty in the spring of 2017. The conference will be co-hosted by Western Washington University and Northwest Indian College.

The Seattle Journal of Environmental Law (SJEL) article written by attorneys Greg Boos, Greg McLawsen, and Heather Fathali entitled Canadian Indians, Inuit, Métis, and Métis: An Exploration of the Unparalleled Rights Enjoyed by American Indians Born in Canada to Freely Access the United States was used as part of the Vine Deloria Jr. Symposium materials. It will also be used as part of the materials for the spring conference. In a recent law review article entitled The Indigenous as Alien, UC Berkeley School of Law Professor Leti Volp refers to the SJEL article as the “definitive explanation of Jay Treaty rights”.

On the legislative side, Washington State Representatives Susan DelBene and Derek Kilmer have introduced a bill to expand the base qualification of those eligible for classification as an American Indian born in Canada under INA 289. Simultaneously, the Canadian Senate issued a report calling for appointment of a special representative to find solutions to address border crossing challenges for First Nations communities that straddle Canada and the United States or that are close to the border.

Finally, the Jay Treaty’s aboriginal right of free border passage has become the subject of a piece of art by Richard Linkletter on display at Winnipeg’s Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art.