Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 28, 2014

Terrance Nelson: Canadian Border Turns Away Native Americans

Southern Chiefs Grand Chief Terrance Nelson

By Terrance Nelson

SCO Grand Chief Terrance Nelson

Vice Chair American Indian Movement
Censored News
February 28 2014
Good Morning Tom
It has been a long time since we talked and I am so glad to know that you are the elected Tribal Chairman of Lac Du Flambeau again. I was Chief of Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation for 5 terms and I used to deal with Native Americans who would call us about being denied entry into Canada at the Emerson Border Crossing. Roseau River is nine miles from the US Border so they would call us to help them.
Lac Du Flambeau tribal members Donna Larsen and Joh Clah slept in their car overnight last night because they weren't allowed to cross the Border at Highway 59 Crossing. I spend 40 minutes on the phone this morning until I finally talked to the Supervisor Inspector Johns at the Emerson Border Crossing to see if they would allow Donna and Joh across. 

The reason stated was a lack of Identification. They had Tribal ID from Lac Du Flambeau and a Wisconsin Driver License. Generally Tribal ID or a Status Card is enough for First Nations people to cross into United States because the US recognizes the Jay Treaty, Canada does not. Donna finally gave up this morning and is travelling back the ten hour trip back to Lac Du Flambeau Wisconsin. These are not dangerous criminals or anything like that, they were wanting to attend the Midewiwin Ceremonies at Roseau River, our Anishinabe spiritual teachings.
Tom, I was elected Grand Chief of Southern Chiefs Organization on January 9 2014, SCO consists of 33 First Nations and has a combined population of 72,000 Dakota, Ojibway and Cree. These 33 First Nations are mostly Ojibway First Nations and our Anishinabe people are one of the largest indigenous peoples in North America on many reservations both sides of the United States and Canadian border. There have been many incidents of bad treatment of Native Americans by the Canadian Custom officers. They have become even more stringent and aggressive since they have been allowed to carry guns as Custom Officers.
Give a white man a gun and a badge and you release a wanna be Nazi.
The TransCanada pipeline has been denied by President Obama of United States. Native American President Bryan Brewer of Oglala, South Dakota has met with US President Obama on this issue. For a number of years, Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain in Minnesota has tried to deal with the harsh treatment by Canadian Custom officers on Red Lake tribal Membership but to no avail. Maryann Hi Eagle's husband Gordon Smith is a Navaho from New Mexico living in Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation and he is being shipped back because Canada will not recognize his right as a Native American to be in Canada. Canada recognized the right of the late Mary Roberts to adopt a German living in Roseau River but they won't allow the same for Gordon Smith, a Navaho. We on the other hand as First Nations people can live and work in the United States because of the Jay Treaty which Canada refuses to recognize.
I am Vice Chair of the American Indian Movement. The stronghold of AIM is northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Our Chairman of AIM is Keith Lussier of Red Lake Reservation. The incident with Donna Larsen is just one of a long list of incidents of how our people are treated by Canadian Customs. Nowadays, few Native Americans come to Canada to attend Pow-wows because the Customs is so hard to deal with since 9/11. I think we should organize a protest on the oil pipelines in Red Lake Reservation, Leech Lake and elsewhere if Canada and United States refuse to meet with leadership to deal fairly with our people. We are not immigrants, we are the first people of these lands, the borders are made by the immigrants, they have divided our lands amongst themselves. They have the right to treat their immigrant people whatever way they want, the immigrant government however don't have that right to treat our people like we were immigrants to our own lands.
The two following email addresses are in the cc box.
There are over 500 Blind CC addresses not shown that will receive this email. I ask those that receive a copy of the email to Tom Maulson re-post it on Facebook or send it on to your emails contacts. The email address for Prime Minister Steven Harper is easy to reply to but the other email address is the email for the secretary of Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer. Gary Doer is the former Premier of Manitoba, now the Canadian Ambassador in Washington. In Manitoba, there are over 8,000 First Nations children in the Provincial Child and Family Services, 71% of the jailed inmates in Manitoba are First Nations people even though the First Nation population is less than 14% of the Manitoba population, there is over 100 Murdered and Missing women in Manitoba. The attitude of Manitobans to First Nations people is very racist in many ways. The evidence is there, this is not simply my opinion. The First Nations in Manitoba have average unemployment rates of 60 to 95%.
The treatment of Donna Larsen and Joh Clah at the Canadian Border Highway 59 is nothing new. The conversation with Inspector Johns at Emerson Custom this morning is nothing new for me, the attitude is so what, we are the bosses, we don't care and do whatever you want, we don't have to change our policies. Chairman Tom, you were the lead in the Wisconsin Spear Fishing Wars in 1989. You stood strong through it all. You were good friends with my father Stan Nelson. You know about racism, it may be hidden today because the Tribes in Wisconsin have Casinos, they have some money and you have the white people dealing blackjack for you but you know that the racism isn't gone away, it was demonstrated again last night at the Canadian Customs border.
I will be in Las Vegas on March 17 for the Res Gaming Conference. I will meet with leadership of Native American Nations. If there is a call for a meeting on Border Crossings called in the near future, I and other First Nations leadership in Canada would be in attendance. Red Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota is about 150 miles from Roseau River. These are our Anishinabe brothers and sisters and we have been concerned with this issue for some time.I am aware that Red Lake, Leech Lake and other reservations have signed agreements on pipelines of Canadian oil crossing their reservation lands. Canadian Oil sold to United States is an issue near and dear to the heart of Prime Minister Steven Harper. In the last ten years, $4.5 Trillion has been traded between Canada and United States. Canadian exports are over 80% to the United States. Americans need to know that Canada absolutely requires a friendly attitude from the people who buy their exported products. If Canada treats your people like the Customs officers do, why should you not return the attitude on Canadian exports.
Thank you Tom for all your work and friendship with my father Stan Nelson. He died in 1995 and we still miss him, his strength and leadership in the Mediwwin Lodge. We have a large painting of him and my mother Marjorie in the Mediwiwin Lodge, the Lodge that Donna Larsen and Joh Clah were trying to attend when they were turned back by Canadian Customs. It is not as if they were dangerous people, they were just trying to attend spiritual ceremonies in Anishinabe territory. Donna can be reached on her cell phone at 715-892-2776. She is on her way back to Wisconsin.
SCO Grand Chief Terrance Nelson
Vice Chair American Indian Movement

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