Friday, October 14, 2011

Exception | Vague | Protected

St. Regis Mohawk Reservation at Akwesasne.

The grey area covering the border between the United States and Canada at the reservation becomes one that struggles with the harboring of illegal drug trafficking and the nations’ inability to intervene with an unknown politically correct border.

1 comment:

  1. I find this fascinating due to the fact that international borders are extremely protected, yet this loophole in the system exists. The reservation, as a typology exists as a symbol of past [and enduring] repression of indigenous peoples of North America. This particular reservation is more than just an actual power inversion, it is deeply symbolic of the power that the nations now have over their lands - and more than just symbolic, as is the power of many sovereign nations, as we’ve been discussing in class. Considering the Mohawks were given the right to cross the international boundary in 1794 as a part of the Jay Treaty, I find it interesting that though the tribe considers the reservation a sovereign nation, it does share jurisdiction with the United States and due to its location, New York. In light of this jurisdiction, the freedom to move between Canada and the US is being protected by a treaty from over two hundred years ago - just as it should be and as it was before we started dividing and claiming various tribes’ land. This is starting to make me re-think my territory. Similar issues with drug trafficking as well as “illegal” border crossings are happening on the border of Mexico in the Tohono O'odham Indian reservation. From Wikipedia,”Most of the 25,000 Tohono O'odham today live in southern Arizona, but there is also a population of several thousand in northern Sonora, Mexico. Unlike aboriginal groups along the U.S.-Canada border, the Tohono O'odham were not given dual citizenship when a border was drawn across their lands in 1853 by the Gadsden Purchase. Even so, members of the nation moved freely across the current international boundary for decades – with the blessing of the U.S. government – to work, participate in religious ceremonies, keep medical appointments in Sells, and visit relatives ... But since the mid-1980s, stricter border enforcement has restricted this movement, and tribal members born in Mexico or who have insufficient documentation to prove U.S. birth or residency, have found themselves trapped in a remote corner of Mexico, with no access to the tribal centers only tens of miles away. Since 2001, bills have repeatedly been introduced in Congress to solve the "one people-two country" problem by granting U.S. citizenship to all enrolled members of the Tohono O'odham, but have so far been unsuccessful. Reasons that have been advanced in opposition to granting U.S. citizenship to all enrolled members of the Nation include the fact that births on the reservation have been for a large part informally recorded and the records are susceptible to easy alteration or falsification.” This is also fascinating. The propensity of flows of illegal drugs and ease of access to illegal immigrants has made this border a much more contested territory.