Saturday, February 5, 2011

Indigenous Rights of Passage on the Southern Border

Indigenous What?
By Jose Matus, director
Indigenous Alliance without Borders
Feb. 5, 2011
Photo: Jose Matus with Zapatistas in mountains of Chiapas 1995/photo Brenda Norrell
Among the most difficult issues facing Indigenous peoples today is the protection and promotion of Indigenous Rights!
Indigenous Peoples
Federally recognized tribes are considered domestic dependent nations with rights to tribal sovereignty preserved. Tribal sovereignty refers to tribal rights to govern themselves, define their own membership, manage tribal property and regulate tribal business and domestic relations.
Government-to-government relationships between each tribe and the federal government
The Federal government has special trust obligations to protect tribal lands and resources, protect the rights to self-governments and provide services necessary to tribal survival and advancement.
The fight to preserve tribal sovereignty and treaty rights has been in the forefront of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Movement.
The current U.S. Immigration and Custom policies implemented on the U.S./Mexico border infringe on the sovereignty of Indigenous Nations along the southern border region. The continued militarization of the border and the systematic enforcement of federal immigration policies impede the free movement of religion, culture, language, and rights to sovereignty.
The Tribal Enhancement Card for travel does not solve issues of pass and re-pass rights. Only U.S. Indigenous citizens are eligible to obtain the card with approval of the U.S. Homeland Security Border Enforcement Immigration, Customs and Border Enforcement. Mexican Indigenous relatives who are culturally affiliated with southern border tribes do not qualify for the enhancement card.
This situation may be in violation of treaty rights and the trust responsibility of the U.S. Government to recognize tribes. The lack of an established protocol on the southern border to pass and re-pass subjects Indigenous peoples to U.S. Immigration and Customs laws.
The Indigenous Alliance Without Borders is conducting a comprehensive review of three documents. These address International border rights of passage and re-pass, to examine Treaties and carry out studies on Border Crossing Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Guidelines for the Inspection of Persons who are members of, or culturally affiliated with, Southern Border Native American Indian Tribes.
We are seeking more information on the above subject matter. The Indigenous Alliance will have a study session on this subject on Saturday, February 26, 2011. The time and place will be arranged.
If you have information, or need more information, contact Jose Matus at this email address.
Jose Matus, Yaqui ceremonial leader, for the past 30 years has carried out the responsibility given to him to bring Yaqui ceremonial leaders from Rio Yaqui, Sonora, across the border for temporary stays in Arizona to conduct ceremonies. Matus is the director of the Indigenous Alliance without Borders.

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