The 3rd Saturday of every July is the Annual Border Crossing Celebration, where Onkwehonwe cross the colonial border in Oni: kara (Niagara Falls). In addition, the celebration reminds the United States and Canada as a British Commonwealth to not interfere in our traditional travel and trade routes.
The Indian Defence League of America’s founders (IDLA) ensured this…
Good Minds Think Alike
Deskaheh became an enemy of Canada and even some of his people. His unrelenting campaign against Britain and Canada in the early to mid-1920s made it impossible to return to Canada without facing imprisonment.
Clinton Rickard welcomed his like-minded friend to stay with him, but while staying there in Rochester, New York, Deskaheh’s health worsened. He requested that his medicine carrier from Ohsweken visit him, but a 1924 US Immigration Law would not allow it.
On his deathbed in June 1925, Deskaheh told Rickard and others to “Fight for the line,” Shortly after his death, the Indian Defence League of America made its debut.
Indian Defence League of America
Rickard and several other Rotinonhsyonni, including David Hill and Sophie Martin (Pictured above), began to lobby for the United States to recognize their responsibility as outlined in Article 3 of the Jay Treaty. In only a few short years, IDLA succeeded in their bid and on April 2, 1928, The US president signed the terms of the Jay Treaty into recognition.
On the other hand, Canada was forging ahead to absorb Onkwehonwe into the body politic, and most, unfortunately, the argument continues to this day. A 2016 Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal People recommended that a solution be found and reported by December 2017, which never manifested any changes.
Once again, a group of elected chiefs, including a retired elected chief have formed a Jay Treaty Alliance to revisit this subject after numererous violations became publicized. Like the previous engagement, this group does appear to include any grassroots advocates, which is a fundamental component of any action.
RUN FOR THE BORDER
The Border Crossing Celebration has a long and rich history and has continued, albeit ceremonially, throughout the pandemic. Therefore, it has become critical to remind Canada that they have inherited their predecessor’s agreements, contracts and treaties.
Article three reminds Canada not to interfere with our ability to travel freely through their borders. Article three is the only article of the twenty-eight forming the Jay Treaty that Canada has not Ratified.
Canada will insist it is a country based on the rule of law, but the truth is they will attempt to skirt their laws when it suits their comfort level.
If you want to become involved, Please visit the IDLA Facebook page.