* Background on Aboriginal Border Crossings ° Jay Treaty and the Haudenausoni ° The Haida and the Pacific Coast* Legal Issues
* Personal Statement of gkisedtanamoogk
* Brief Outline of Historical WABANAKI Nations and the International Border* Request for Financial Support
Miingignoti-Keteaoag is a group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and organizations who have come together in support of the right of Aboriginal People to move freely within their traditional territories.
The name Miingignoti-Keteaoag is drawn from two Wabanaki languages, Micmac and Wampanoag. Roughly translated, it means "coming together to renew and restore the integrity and way of Life of Wabanaki Nations and our relationship to Creation according to the Life Principal." Specifically, the group conducts research, public education and fund-raising to address the effect of the Canadian-United States border on Wabanaki Peoples. Our long-term goal is to find ways for peaceful and respectful co-existence for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people on Turtle Island/North America.
The group began in 1996 in response to the terms under which the Canadian Department of Immigration allowed gkisedtanamoogk, a U.S.-born Wabanaki man, temporary entry back into Canada after denying his right to return home for six months following his visit to the U.S. We believe that gkisedtanamoogk should not have to apply to Canada's Department of Immigration to exercise his inherent right to live with his wife and family within his traditional homeland.
Miingignoti-Keteaoag, in order to strengthen efforts toward mobility rights for gkisedtanamoogk and all Wabanaki Peoples, is seeking information about Aboriginal families or individuals who have been affected by the Canada-U.S. border. The group invites you to contact us with your story, if your family or friends have been affected. The group meets in Fredericton approximately once a month and welcomes newcomers who wish to become involved in the work.
On behalf of Miingignoti-Keteaoag
Tel: (506) 459-0906 (h) 455-2881 (w)
Fax: (506) 455-3169
Tel: (506) 455-9068 (h) 452-3398 (w)
In the 1920's, Tuscarora Chief Clinton Richard, David Hill, and Sophie Martin formed the Indian Defense League of America to protest the lack of recognition of Haudenausoni treaty rights by the Canadian and United States governments. The repeated refusal to recognize the free and unrestricted passage of Confederacy members across the Canada-United States border - rights which were guaranteed under the provisions of the 1794 Jay Treaty and later reconfirmed by the Treaty of Ghent - has lead to a long history of Haudenausoni protest.
Since the 1920s, many Indian Defense League of America members, with chapters in each Iroquois reserve in Ontario, Quebec, and New York, were jailed, having been arrested in demonstrations or for deliberately refusing to pay customs duties. Their efforts, though passive resistance-style protest, focused on distinct rights and history of Aboriginal People everywhere.
In the 1950s, Louis Francis, a Mohawk on the Canadian side of Akwesasne/St. Regis brought suit against what he viewed as the illegal seizure and imposition of 123 dollars in customs duties by Canadian authorities. Francis had purchased a washing machine, electric refrigerator and oil stove on the U>S> side. The goods were not reported to the customs office and were subsequently seized until Francis paid the duty. Francis then sued the Canadian government to obtain return of the moneys, claiming a violation of the Jay and Ghent Treaties and protection under the Indian Act. The court dismissed the Francis action maintaining that the rights under the Jay treaty were never implemented or sanctioned by legislation; that the Indian Act did not apply. They also claimed that the Jay Treaty was abrogated by the War of 1812.
The International Bridge protest by the Mohawks on Cornwall Island in December 1968, the subject of the NFB film "You Are On Indian Land", and the annual Jay Treaty renewal walks are direct outgrowths of the earlier consciousness-raising protests of the 1920s. Today, under their own passports, Haudenausoni have appealed to the United Nations in Geneva and have taken part in international conventions such as the Russell Tribunal, in their determination to raise public awareness about their grievances.
Despite these advances, and the fact that the Jay Treaty's crucial article 3 and the Treaty of Ghent has now been recognized the U.S., the Canadian government and courts continue to reject ratification.
The border protests and court actions by the Haudenausoni continue.
- A. de Aguayo, Miingignoti-Keteaoag Research Team
For the Haida, the border between the United States and Canada cuts right through the middle of these islands and through a Way of Life.
The Haida Nation office insists that for over three hundred years, their territories extend south from Alaska at the 56th parallel, including Dixon Entrance and half the Hecate Strait. These territorial boundaries have been acknowledged and recognized by the Aboriginal neighbors, the Heiltsiuk, the Tsimshian, and the Nuu'Chah'Nuulth Peoples. The areas bountiful resources - salmon, kelp, herring, abalone, halibut - have sustained their families and are central to an elaborate feasting system, central to their spiritual and social lives. As Haida Michael Nicoli has stated in 1989, "We have no grief or grievance with other Aboriginal people of this area. We refer to this boundary as an interlocking boundary, not overlapping; Canada says we have an overlapping boundary and calls that a problem, buts its the federal government of Canada's problem, not ours." 
The Haida argue that the border issue is about sovereignty and who has the right to exercise it. They were never consulted on the imposition of the border in 1903, never agreed to it thus it does not apply. They are fighting for the right to continue to fish and gather and hunt on their islands without seeking permission every time they travel. They are also fighting for the right to continue to move about their lands to pursue their traditional cycle of ritual feasts - potlatches - amongst themselves without permission of the Canadian and American governments.
The issue of the border has become particularly acute in the 1980s when nuclear-powered submarines were argued to be using the Hecate Strait without warning or permission. In 1983, they filed a complaint with the United Nations. A number of Haida are now carrying their own Haida-issued passports.
To date, there has been no resolution. Haida protests continue.
- A. de Aguayo, Miingignoti-Keteaoag Research Team
1 - from Walking the Line by Marian Botsford Fraser, Douglas and McIntyre: Vancouver (1989), p. 164
gkisedtanamoogk and his son temporarily left Canada to visit in the United States. Upon returning home, Canadian immigration officials at the Houlton/Woodstock border refused them re-admission to Canada. Officials determined that gkisedtanamoogk was an American citizen living in Canada with his family, but without the requisite permanent resident visa to do so. gkisedtanamoogk has never taken legal steps to immigrate to Canada. Foreign nationals married to Canadians, are not permitted to reside in Canada with their spouses until they have applied for and obtained a permanent resident visa to Canada. His son was permitted to enter Canada, but gkisedtanamoogk was obliged to remain outside of Canada, exiled from his family and from land that both history and law confirm belong to gkisedtanamoogk and his people.
In August of 1996, as a result of negotiations with the Canadian Immigration Department, gkisedtanamoogk gained temporary entry to Canada, valid for one year.
The legal Issues involved are as follows:
1. Wabanaki territory is the land that presently constitutes Atlantic Canada and New England states. As foreign governments illegally occupying this land, gkisedtanamoogk does not recognize the authority of Canada or the United States to exercise jurisdiction over him or his people. gkisedtanamoogk cannot immigrate to his own homeland.
2. gkisedtanamoogk does not recognize the Canada-US international border that bisects Wabanaki land, divides Wabanaki families and restricts the rights of native people to cross their land without interference by Canadian authorities.
3. The Canadian government refuses to honour its historic commitment to Aboriginal mobility rights guaranteed under the Jay Treaty, the Treaty of Ghent and reaffirmed in the repatriated Canadian constitution.
4. The Canadian government refuses to honour the Jay Treaty signed between Great Britain and the United States in 1794, guaranteeing, among other things, the rights of "...Indians dwelling on either side of said boundary line, freely to pass and repass by land or inland navigation into the respective territories and countries of the two parties..." The United States honours the free passage of Canadian Indians into the United States for living and working purposes without visas or permits. The Canadian governments does not honour the same rights for Indians born in the United States.
5. American born children of status Canadian Indians women, are not permitted to live with their mothers and families in Canada unless they formally immigrate to Canada.
6. Traditional Native marriages, absent of civil registration and provincials recognized religious or civil ceremony, are, according to Canadian authorities, common law marriages and not valid under the Immigration Act.
Racism and might are not legitimate forces to either dictate the purpose of a people's destiny or are they the vital ingredients for the founding of a just society, an enlightened civilization, and champion for the philanthropic evolution of humanity. Quite to the contrary, these forces are steps to the decline of the human species and would ensure, if unchanged, the extinction of humanity's presence on the Earth. There is no greater evil working in the world, than the evil that comes from the destruction of love and compassion, dreams and the will, the zest and innocence of Children, Families, and a People. The resolute annihilation of a safe, peaceful and loving social environment, home and community, are acts of genocide. Such acts against any people, at any time, in any place, whether in the form of the physical, mental, or emotional, always deserves its rightful punishment and immediate end. This is t,c, unfortunate history and present reality suffered by the WABANAKI/Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island("north america").
At issue is 1) the obstruction against the determined maintenance of Familial integrity, integral relationships and the collective association rights of WABANAKI and other Indigenous Families, Communities, and Nations bonding, historically, across time and space, ["canada's" failure to respect and recognize the legitimacy of WABANAKI Spirituality and ceremonial marriage customs and rites] and 2) the denial of WABANAKI/Indigenous territorial, cultural, and spiritual integrity, ["canada's" failure to honour the Homelands of our Peoples as recognized by the Royal Proclamation of 1763, "canada's" constitution, International Laws, and WABANAKI Laws and Treaties] and 3) the inalienable right and responsibility to remain and further the development in the essence and reality of Being WABANAKI/Indigenous ["canada's application of immigration, citizenship, taxation, and other assimilationist/integrationist laws and policies to the WABANAKI and other Indigenous Peoples, Communities and Nations].
Borders separating "canada" and the "united states" are borders established by colonial european interests in land and resource ownership, extraction and exploitation. This border, and subsequent borders, has been placed over the objections, without consent, without given authority, and the required participation of WABANAKI and other Indigenous Nations whose Homelands, now profoundly divided, are affected.
Despite the rule of law, and "north america's" propensity for rhetorical claims of their fidelity to it, WABANAKI/Indigenous People and Nations continues to suffer from the painful and agonizing confusion stemming from "north america's" deliberate subversion of our treaties and complete disregard for our political nation-to-nation status and protocol.
Equally, the purposeful subterfuge of international law, and the subsequent failure from the deficient implementation of safeguards established by "north american" principal authority of constitutions, contributes to the injustice of these illegal borders and the resultant application of municipal status, laws, and labels to WABANAKI Nationals. The horrid history and legacy of 500 years of steady, unrelenting persecution and usurpation of Indigenous People, Culture, and Territories by foreign european-based tyranny remains a contemporary reality, unchanged by the pain, suffering, and struggle of our Peoples. This description of the circumstances of WABANAKI/Indigenous peoples, is the effect inclusive of "north american" borders and the practices of expropriating and transforming the realities of Indigenous Peoples.
Despite the rhythmic nature of social complacency, apathy, and self-serving disregard shown to WABANAKI/Indigenous struggles, we are determined that justice will prevail. We engage ourselves in unity, friendship, and the joining of forces with one another and with any people working to ensure holistically, the quality, dignity, and quantity of security and sustainability for All Living Beings of Creation.
Note: The usage of the terms "aboriginal" "native" "indian" are interchangably used and are meant to provide the reader with a term of reference that is usually understood. Equally, these terms are used to also share the significance of colonial "north american" usage depicting racism historically directed against WABANAKI/Indigenous Life. While i determine these terms to be racist and repulsive, there is no other generic term of application. One living in a geographic proximity to Indigenous Nations should take the time and learn the proper name of the People of the area. All our Nations have their own words describing who they are.
The use of quotation marks and lower case lettering is to intentionally denote my perspective on the dynamics of WABANAKI world-view. These usages should not be understood as grammatical errors.
The WABANAKI are composed of hundreds of OTAMASH/communities and WUTOTIMOINASH/Nations, out of which several KITCHITEASHYEUONKASH/ Confederacies of Nations exist. Some of the most well-known WABANAKI Nations are the MicMac, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Pennacook, Mohegan, Deleware, Pequot, Roanoke, and Powhatan. Place names of our Peoples include "Miramichi", Nashwaaksis", "Quebec", "Gaspe", "Massachusetts", "Connecticut", " Chesapeake", "Katahdin", "Aroostook", and "Manhattan". Some prominent WABANAKI vocabulary includes "skunk", "tomahawk", "pow-wow", "wig-wam", "moose", "raccoon", "toboggan", "succatash", "squash", "pumpkin", "eskimo", and "caribou".
Throughout history, the WABANAKI continue to remain a distinct and formidable presence in these lands.
At the closure to the american revolutionary war, the Treaty of Paris, 1783, established the present international boundary between "canada" and the "united states." This border was created and laid within WABANAKI Territories without the approval and participation of WABANAKI Confederate authorities. Vehement protests of this imposition by WABANAKI and the other Indigenous Nations culminated with the Treaty of Amity, of 1794, commonly known as the Jay Treaty. This treaty conducted principally with the "united states" and the british crown, established freedom of movement for the citizens and subjects of these respective nations. It also recognized the inherent mobility rights of Indigenous Nations to freely pass and repass at will, their territories without any regard to the border.
Despite the rule of law established by various royal proclamations, international and Indigenous Treaties cross-border mobility rights of WABANAKI Nations and Peoples continued to be hampered, not respected, and sometimes obstructed. As "american" courts and governments continue to recognize legal and binding obligations to respect such mobility, the "canadian" government hedges their responsibilities on grounds that they were not signatories or legislation by the "canadian" parliament has yet to effect this treaty. Consequently, American Indians born on the "canadian" side can pass and repass the border, live, seek employment, attend school, receive social assistance, and basically possess dual citizenship in the "united states." However, American Indians born on the "american" side cannot enter into "canadian" ports without first acquiring "canadian" visas or applying for immigration status. The Aboriginal rights of mobility, freedom to associate, rights to practice and maintain spiritual and ceremonial rituals, the integrity of Homelands and traditional/customary life are not recognized as applying to WABANAKI born in the "united states." This effectively discredits WABANAKI Spiritual Life, traditional economies, and territorial and social integrity; separates WABANAKI Families, Communities, and Nations; ignores the principals and spirit of the rule of law established through international and Indian treaties.
Note: The use of quotation marks and lower case lettering is intentional and is used to denote my perspective on the dynamics of WABANAKI world-view. These usages should not be mistaken for grammatical errors.
The continuing struggle for recognition of inherent Aboriginal rights, particularly regarding self-government and the freedom of movement that sovereignty implies, requires the support of many people in a number of different areas. Transformation must take place in the fields of education, history, anthropology, law, politics, cultural practice, and others, as well as in the relationships within and between peoples of various races and colors. Traditional Aboriginal peoples continue to reclaim both their dignity and destiny in our time, and desire a harmonious and just relationship with other people, but not at the expense of their own sense of nationhood.
In the case of Wabanaki people, a number of both recent and history issues have surfaced in the last few years, calling for the concern of all who want to see just and peaceful relationships develop. A central struggle is the case of gkisedtanamoogk and Miigam'agan, a traditional Wabanaki couple who are caught in the grip of the so-called "border-crossing" issue. In a co-ordinated effort a cross-cultural group called Miingignoti-Keteaoag is doing the research, public education, advocacy and legal work necessary to see that justice is done, not only for this single family but for all Aboriginal people within Wabanaki territory.
It is not possible to sustain these efforts, however, without the financial support of many people. We therefore ask that any person or group who shares the hope that one day just and harmonious relationships will exist between us all, and that Aboriginal people will be able to reclaim their own destiny within those relationships, consider sending us a contribution. We are unable to offer charitable receipts, but we assure all who read this that no personal monetary gain is being made by anyone within the group. Any contribution will be used solely to continue the struggle for gkisedtanamoogk, Miigam'agan and the Wabanaki people. The address below provides a place for you to send donations.
Thank you for your consideration of these important Aboriginal issues.
Treasurer for Miingignoti-Keteaoag
( ) Yes, I support your efforts ( ) Yes, I would like to know when the meetings are My phone # is _______________ My fax # is ________________ My E-Mail address is ___________________________________ My address is _________________________________________ ________________________________________ ( ) My contribution is enclosed, in the amount of $ ______________________ Please make cheques payable to Miingignoti-Keteaoag, and send to:
Brian McIntosh, 390 Sewell Street, Fredericton, NB, E3A 5G6