title graphic


Legal Issues

In February of 1996, gkisedtanamoogk, a Wampanoag man and member of the Wabanaki nations was refused admission to Canada. Previously, gkisedtanamoogk resided for 12 years at Burnt Church reserve, in north eastern New Brunswick with his wife, Miigam'agan, a Mi'kmaq woman, where they were raising their three children according to the traditional ways.

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 had 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 Canadian immigration authorities, gkisedtanamoogk gained temporary entry to Canada, valid for only one year.

The legal Issues involved are as follows:

1. Wabanaki territory is the land that presently constitutes Atlantic Canada and the 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-U.S. 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 right of free passage of Canadian Indians into the United States for living and working purposes without visas or permits. The Canadian government does not honour the same rights for Indians born in the United States.

5. American born children of Status Canadian Indian 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 provincially recognized religious or civil ceremony, are, according to Canadian authorities, common law marriages and not valid under the Immigration Act.

Lee Cohen

miingignoti-keteaoag homepage Site Designed by Laura Brooks. Copyright 1997
Date Created: Friday, October 24, 1997
Page Last Updated: Tuesday, November 04, 1997
Graphics and Background Courtesy of Dreamfires