January 24, 2009

Border Crossing Rights-kids poem-teacher tool


From the time that Skywoman fell

North America was on a turtle shell

Native people were free to roam

Turtle Island, our natural home.

Since 1492 we see and saw

Treaties that are still the law

The list is long and tattered too

So this is if you never knew,

The first ones were legal deeds

Two separate lines in wampum beads

Distinct ways, words, and ceremony

Governance and territory.

John Jay’s Treaty (article 3) of 1794*

Was also known as so much more

Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation

Recognized a sovereign nation

The border we called the ‘medicine line’

A margin of colonial design

The 1812 Washington treaty

Guaranteed our right to cross freely

1814 (article 9) Treaty of Ghent*

Reaffirmed what sovereignty meant

Three treaties that still recognize

Native people did not colonize

Again a treaty in 1842

Re-reaffirmed what we always knew

Another Washington treaty that would enforce

Our inherent right to cross of course

July 14, 1928

IDLA made no debate

Inherent rights to cross their line

Confirmed in Article 3* and Article 9*

In mid-July every year

There’s a crossing, you may hear

Autonomous homelands, our steps display

Within Canada and the USA

Inherent first, and treaty right

To cross their border, day and night

At the Whirlpool Bridge near the Falls you’ll see

Our people practice Sovereignty

Native American Poetry
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