Monday, January 30, 2017

The Jay Treaty’s 

Promise & Potential

22 May 2017

Northwest Indian College

Building 7a (Log Building)
2522 Kwina Rd, Bellingham, WA 98226

Registration is free ~ register here!

Borders in Globalization
Cascadia Cross-Border Law
Children of the Setting Sun Productions
Northwest Indian College

Scope of the Conference

The conference will discuss the preservation and expansion of cross-border rights of the indigenous peoples of Canada and the U.S. Important for broad economic and cultural reasons, these rights are essential for preserving ties between indigenous peoples whose communities span the U.S./Canada border.

Borders are political constructs. As it occurs directly after the Vine Deloria, Jr. Symposium, this conference is uniquely suited to capture and expand on the dialogue focused on the legal framework that surrounds interacting with the natural world. The conference will include sessions on the following:

  • Restorative Justice & Treaties
  • The Jay Treaty & Cultural Cohesion
  • The Jay Treaty & Post-Secondary Education in the U.S.
  • The Jay Treaty as an Economic Development Tool
  • The Jay Treaty and Environmental Protections 
  • The Jay Treaty’s Potential for the Future

History of the Jay Treaty

In 1794, the United States and Great Britain negotiated the Jay Treaty, established in part to mitigate the effects of the recently established boundary line between Canada and the United States on the indigenous peoples who suddenly found their lands bisected.

The rights and benefits originally set out by the Jay Treaty—now reflected by U.S. law in § 289 Immigration and Nationality Act—bestow upon Canadians with a 50% or better native bloodline theoretical privileges unparalleled by all but United States citizens to enter the U.S. and remain and work or engage in other lawful activity, virtually unrestricted by U.S. immigration laws. Qualifying Canadians, defined in statute as “American Indians born in Canada” may be of Indian, Inuit, or Métis background if bloodline can be documented.

Meanwhile, upon becoming an independent nation, Canada failed to ratify the Jay Treaty. While its constitutional framework provides for protection of aboriginal rights; it is unclear whether, and to what extent, such protections extend to a right of free passage for U.S. born indigenous peoples seeking entry to Canada.

Current Impacts and Issues

In the wake of post-9/11 security enhancements, it has become increasingly difficult for indigenous peoples to exercise their border crossing rights to the extent they are entitled. Moreover, inconsistent and inaccurate information disseminated by government agencies on both sides of the border complicates an already sensitive and misunderstood issue. 

Confirmed Speakers

  • The Honourable Steven Point– (Skowkale First Nation); [Provincial Court of British Columbia Judge, former Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia]
  • Frank Ettawageshik–  (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa) [Executive Director, United Tribes of Michigan]
  • Tim Ballew, Senior– (Lummi Nation) [Northwest Indian College, former Chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council, Life-Long Fisherman] 
  • Harley Chappell– (Semiahmoo First NationChief of the Semiahmoo First Nation
  • Joanne Charles– (Semiahmoo First Nation) [Semiahmoo Council Member] 
  • Jewell James (Lummi Nation) [Master Carver]
  • Dana Wilson– (Lummi Nation) [Fish Commissioner of Lummi Nation, Life-Long Fisherman]
  • Shirley Williams– (Lummi Nation) Whiteswan Environmental, WE (One Mind for the Purpose of the Work)
  • Troy Olsen– (Lummi Nation); Whiteswan Environmental, WE (One Mind for the Purpose of the Work)
  • Michael O’Shea– University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education
  • Heather Fathali– U.S. Immigration Attorney, Cascadia Cross-Border Law

Registration is free ~ register here!
Please contact Kate Buchanan at with queries. 


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