August 17, 2011

Haudenosaunee passport = "fantasy document"?

Canadian Border Agent Confiscated Haudenosaunee Passport, Called It ‘Fantasy Document’A Mohawk woman is preparing a complaint against the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and has asked for surveillance video of a recent incident in which her Haudenosaunee passport was seized by a border official who called it “a fantasy document.” Joyce King, a citizen of the U.S. federally acknowledged St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, says she plans to file a complaint against the agency for discriminatory actions. “If my Haudenosaunee passport is a fantasy document, I’m a fantasy person living in a fantasy land and looking at a fantasy border,” King says.

The passport was seized on June 18 as King was travelling from Akwesasne Territory in New York to Cornwall, Ontario. King, the director of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Justice Department, said the border agent asked for identification and when she handed him her Haudenosaunee passport, she was told to get out of the car for a “secondary inspection” in the CBSA office. After a while, the border agent returned and asked her to present her identification. “They still hadn’t informed me that the Haudenosaunee passport was not acceptable, so I showed them the passport and they said they were confiscating it,” King said. “The agent said, ‘It’s a fantasy document,’ and I started asking questions, like ‘Is it the law or a policy you are enforcing here?’ He said it was the law and he could confiscate my passport under the Canadian Customs Act.” The agent gave her a receipt for her passport and a copy of the Customs Act, which lists 71 “fantasy passports” or travel documents. The list includes the Iroquois, Haudenosaunee and Anishinabek indigenous nations; countries that no longer exist under their former names, such as “Czechoslovakia”; decolonized countries, such as British Honduras; and some unexplained entries, such as Wisconsin and Principality of Vikingland.
Comment:  Political cartoon idea:

Native couple confronts a Canadian border agent. He holds a document labeled "Haudenosaunee passport." They hold documents labeled "US Constitution" and "Native treaties." One of the Natives is speaking. Caption: "We have our own fantasy documents."

For more on the subject, see US Hypocrisy Over Lacrosse Players and Iroquois Team to Use Tribal Passports.

Below:  "King has used her passport for international travel for years." (Marc Halberstadt)

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