|Wikileaks:||View 03OTTAWA123 at Wikileaks.org|
|Classification:||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY|
|Tags:||PREL PINS CA|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS OTTAWA 000123 SIPDIS SENSITIVE INTERIOR PASS TO FWS/KSTANSELL, WHITE HOUSE PASS TO OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL, PINS, CA SUBJECT: CANADA: FIRST NATIONS NATIONAL CHIEF WANTS TO WORK WITH U.S. TO IMPLEMENT SMART BORDER SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET OR OTHER PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION. 1. (SBU) In a meeting with the Ambassador on December 17, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Matthew Coon Come -- appealed specifically for U.S. collaboration with First Nations law enforcement personnel to enhance border security and help dispel negative perceptions that First Nations are a weak link along the border; -- proposed "sensitivity training" on cultural and religious traditions of First Nations peoples for U.S. border personnel; and -- sought USG assistance in encouraging the Government of Canada to reciprocate the border crossing rights of First Nations people that are codified only in U.S. law. Working with First Nations law enforcement personnel --------------------------------------------- ------- 2.(U) Ambassador Cellucci met with National Chief Matthew Coon Come at the latter's request. A long-time activist for aboriginal rights, Coon Come was elected to the top post of Canada's largest native organization in 2000. Although the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) does not represent all of Canada's government-recognized aboriginal groups, the organization has become an increasingly successful advocate of aboriginal rights. 3.(SBU) The Ambassador welcomed Chief Coon Come's active interest in and recommendations for enhancing operations along the U.S.-Canada border, particularly in light of the special concerns of the 60-odd First Nations communities that live along the border. He noted the possibility of incorporating First Nations law enforcement teams under the new Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETs) and invited Coon Come to share the models for cooperation that were developed at a conference on Native American border security in January 2002 for further review. Chief Coon Come said he hoped the Embassy and USG would support/promote working with the First Nations on such an initiative, as the Canadians had been less forthcoming on the matter. Educating border authorities on religious customs and practice --------------------------------------------- -------- 4. (U) Alluding to difficulties involving First Nations' people's transport of eagle feathers and related parts into the U.S., Chief Coon Come said that there appeared to be a general lack of understanding or appreciation for the sacredness of eagle feathers and "sacred pouches," which still could cause unpleasantness at the border on a case by case basis. The Ambassador agreed that appropriate respect for religious practices must be factored into a "smart" border; it was important for customs and other officials to understand and respect the significance of religious artifacts. In this regard, the notion of developing a training video was a worthwhile endeavor that we would share with law enforcement concerns in Washington. Canadian reciprocity of First Nations border crossing rights --------------------------------------------- --------------- 5. (U) Chief Coon Come explained that Article III of the Jay Treaty (1794), which addressed border crossing rights of First Nations people, took into consideration their longstanding seasonal migration patterns and specifically provided for their exemption from duties on personal goods and effects when crossing the U.S./Canada border. While these provisions were codified into U.S. law even before the War of 1812 (which abrogated the Treaty), they never have been incorporated into the statutes of Canada. Thus, First Nations people may transport effects for personal and community use into the U.S. on a duty-free basis, but Canadian authorities tend to impose a duty on similar effects entering Canada. 6. (SBU) Ambassador Celluci acknowledged that the difference in U.S. and Canadian treatment of First Nations people at the border was illogical given our ongoing efforts to harmonize operations and observed that such a discrepancy could be addressed under the Smart Border action plan. The Ambassador said he would ensure these concerns were considered in ongoing border talks with Canada. CELLUCCI
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