Northern Tribal Border Summit aims to tackle tough issues and challenges — enhanced Tribal I.D. cards and strategies for improving border access on agenda

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In a joint press release issued by the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, they have announced the convening of a “Northern Tribal Border Summit” for tribal leaders.

This rare and innovative event will be held August 20-21, 2017 at Shakopee’s Mystic Lake Casino and Hotel in Shakopee, Minnesota.

“We look forward to discussing how best to improve border crossing for Native peoples during the Trump and Trudeau administrations,” said Gary Aitken, Jr. Chairman of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, “particularly those tribes, like ours, that have our people located on both sides of the border.”

The Summit is an opportunity for leaders of tribal governments and First Nations communities located on or near the U.S.-Canada border to discuss border-crossing and related issues, including:

Challenges of Northern Border Crossing for Tribal Citizens & Members;
Trump and Trudeau Administration U.S. Northern Border Policies;
Enhanced Tribal Cards and Strategies for Improving Border Access; and
Forming a Northern Tribal Border Alliance.

“There are many aspects of our border crossing that are unique,” said Chief Beverly Cook of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. “From the handling of cultural and sacred items to the use of our tribal identification cards.”

Chief Eric Thompson of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe added, “This is an important opportunity for northern border tribes and First Nations communities to come together in an effort to work collaboratively regarding our shared experience with border issues in the United States and Canada.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer, the Co-Chair of the House of Representatives Northern Border Caucus, will serve as Luncheon Keynote Speaker. Also presenting will be representatives of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, as well as the Assembly of First Nations.

Robert Odawi Porter, Esq., former President of the Seneca Nation and Summit coordinator, says, “as American and Canadian border policies evolve to address national security and business concerns, Native nations along the border must maximize the opportunity to shape those policies to better respect tribal citizenship and sovereignty.”

There will be welcoming reception the evening of Sunday, August 20. The Summit will be held on Monday, August 21. There is no fee to attend the Summit, but participation is limited to officials and staff of federally recognized tribes located on or near the U.S.-Canada border and their attorneys or professional advocates. A block of rooms has been set aside at the Mystic Lake Hotel under “Northern Tribal Border Summit” and can be reserved by calling (800) 262-7799. Attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging.

If you have any questions, please contact Kimberlee M. Dunlop at or Kayla Gebeck at

By: ATV Staff

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