As Indigenous People, it is our inherent right to move freely throughout our traditional territories regardless of borders imposed by settler states. This right is recognized by the United States under the Jay Treaty but has not been formally recognized by Canada.
As part of a larger strategy to address border-crossing issues, AIAI has been working closely with border officials to provide education and cultural competency training.
We have met with representatives from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Field Operations Offices in Buffalo and Detroit as well as representatives from the Canadian Customs and Border Services Agency in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Plans are underway to expand these sessions to all Ports of Entry near our Member Nations’ territories.Through these training sessions we are building relationships and exploring ground-level solutions for issues our citizens face when crossing the border.
Because the United States recognizes Indigenous rights to cross the border through the Jay Treaty, border officials on the US side have been open and receptive to building strong relationships and ongoing training. Since no such commitment exists in Canada, there is a lesser commitment to move this work forward. We will continue to push the Canadian Federal Government to recognize this right, while we continue to exercise it regardless.
AIAI will continue to work with the US CBP and will attempt to re-engage with the Canada Customs and Border Services Agency.
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Name: Natasha George
Phone: 519.434.2761 ext. 240