BORDER CROSSINGS [NATIVES AND OTHERS] HUNTER GRAY 12/31/01 [UPDATED 2009]
Native Land and Other Issues [and William Salter and the Ethical Culture Society, and Briefly Me] Hunter Gray 1/01/02]
AND RELATED NOTES -- INCLUDING SPEAKING AT CHICAGO -- AND WRITING A NEW BOOK [ 4/10/03]
BORDER CROSSINGS [NATIVES AND OTHERS] HUNTER GRAY 12/31/01 -- [UPDATED 2009]
But following the September 11, 2001, tragedy in New York City, the resultant atmosphere in the 'States obviously became more and more and more security conscious -- sometimes taking on the characteristics of outright fear and hysteria. Under the Bush administration, a wide variety of repressive policies -- some initiated via statute but others simply administrative -- flourished. On the Canadian border, this led to U.S. immigration and related officials often becoming increasingly restrictive and negative in their interpretations of Jay Treaty eligibility, including "who is an Indian?" -- in direct opposition to the promise of the Jay Treaty. This frequently paranoid perception and practice led to U.S. efforts to block entrance by some Natives who, in the opinion of the frequently uninformed and often prejudiced opinion of the Immigration officer, "didn't look Indian." And, in a number of the those situations, the officials' judgments trumped the fact that the Native individual had all of the "proper" documentation -- e.g., "Indian card."
This sorry and increasingly complicated situation, to put it mildly, has led to much well justified Native protest and formal litigation in the U.S. Federal court system. If it's always been a battle for Native rights to be recognized and respected under, among other things, the Jay Treaty, it is much more of one at this point.
The situation for Native people seeking entrance into the United States, and/or residence therein, under the provisions of the Jay Treaty has, thanks to the Bush version of Homeland Security and corollary agencies, become ever more complicated -- and tangled.
So obviously, it seems all too clear that, in some U.S. governmental quarters, policies have been deliberately aimed, formally and informally, toward an erosive chipping away of the special Jay Treaty status of Native Americans.
To Joan [on Marxism Discussion]:
We do not, I'm extremely sorry to say, get Aboriginal Television in this
section of Idaho -- unless we have really super extensive satellite stuff
[which we ourselves do not.]
My own observation has been that committed activists can always get back and forth across the borders one way or the other. But, in some eras like this one -- where we all are obviously being plunged deeper and deeper into a kind of fascism -- it can certainly be tougher. And in many circumstances, it can
certainly be lethally dangerous.
Native people on both sides of the southern border do have, on their side,
eons-old precedent which, in recent historical and contemporary times, is
generally recognized by both the United States and Mexico. Whatever its
vicissitudes, Mexico has never -- never -- been nearly as committed as the
'States to a monitored border. [I can tell some interesting tales on that
one!] On the Arizona and New Mexico sides, there is a good deal of
grassroots support -- with strong political implications -- for
conventionally unimpeded Native border crossings. This is one of the
reasons that Congressman Ed Pastor [D-AZ] is now calling for hearings
designed to promote free border access for Native people in that region -- and is specifically proposing legislation which would protect the crossing interests of the Tohono O'odham [sometimes called Papago] Nation. Based primarily in
Arizona, the Tohono O'odham also have a large membership in northern Sonora. Even if successful, that legislation as now proposed would not specifically assist the Yaqui of Sonora -- who have many members in Arizona and some in New Mexico -- or other Native peoples.
My hunch is that, while many problems lie ahead, there will be no heavy,
basic obstacles to Native border crossings vis-a-vis the 'States and Mexico.
Strong sympathy in many quarters on both sides of the border, mounting
media coverage, and Congressional hearings are certainly extremely
important to the Native cause. But it will be especially the shrewd and
extremely knowledgeable and enduring commitment of the Native people that
will persevere over the very long haul.
And it is, after all, one hell of a long and very rugged border!
The U.S. / Canadian situation is, of course, different. [I'm sure there are
people on this [Marxism] list who have had very contemporary border
experiences in that setting.] As this country -- the U.S. -- moves into its kind of fascist atmosphere, there are obviously those in Canada who are joining that sinister and nefarious campaign. If the post-World War II Red Scare is any indicator at all, there will certainly be mounting problems along the 49th Parallel etc. -- especially for activists. Mutual deportations were common in those days -- and especially mutual travel prohibitions: e.g., Harvey Murphy of Canadian Mine-Mill was prevented at one point from entering the 'States -- and Paul Robeson was blocked for a long time from entering Canada [or traveling anywhere beyond the U.S.]
But radical creativity came to the fore: the joint concert gatherings at
Peace Arch in 1952 and 1953 -- arranged primarily by the very enduring and
feisty Murphy -- to hear Paul Robeson, his feet practically touching the
border, boldly sing forth to both countries [and to the world!]
For Native people, the situation is legally quite different and with a
positive thrust. But I am certainly aware of the limitations of
rights-protecting legalisms when deliberate and
spontaneous fear and hysteria are spreading like forest fires --
accompanied by the increasingly formidable pyramids of repression.
For Native people vis-a-vis the U.S. / Canadian border, the basic legal
document is the Jay Treaty of 1794 -- between the U.S. and Great Britain -- whose especially relevant clause is this:
Article Three of the Jay Treaty:
"It is agreed that it shall at all times be free to . . .the Indians
dwelling on either side of said boundary line, freely, to pass and repass by
land or inland navigation, into the respective territories. . .and to
navigate all the lakes, rivers and waters thereof, freely to carry on trade
and commerce with each other."
This was specifically continued by the Treaty of Ghent  which followed
the War of 1812.
And, essentially, all of this has been ultimately upheld in all court
proceedings [e.g., Akins v. Saxbe, a key 1974 Federal court ruling in
Maine -- and much more. Andy Akins is a Penobscot from Indian Island, Me.] And it's been reflected in a long string of administrative rulings.
All of that said, however, it's been -- as the Akins case and others
demonstrate -- an off and on battle to enforce the Native border crossing
provisions in Jay -- and the natural rights of aboriginal peoples. Heroic
struggles on this front were conducted for many, many years in the earlier
part of the Twentieth Century by vigorous Native activists affiliated with
the Indian Defense League of America: among them [and there were many
indeed], Chief Clinton Rickard of Tuscarora ; Sophie
Martin, Mohawk from the Six Nations Reserve; Frank Meness, Algonquin of
Maniwaki Reserve. All of these and other stalwarts used, with great
creativity and general success, non-violent demonstrations, litigation, and political action. Similar Native efforts have occurred at other points along the border at various times.
While negative things will certainly intensify along the U.S. / Canadian
border, Native people do have the legal weapons, via Jay and Ghent and all
of the related court decisions and administrative regs, to fight with
especial depth and effectiveness to protect their border crossing rights.
More than that, they -- like those on both sides of the southern border --
certainly have eons of practice and precedent. But, here too, it will be
especially the shrewd and extremely knowledgeable and enduring commitment of the Native people that will persevere over the long, long pull.
A related note on Jay and Ghent and their continuing implications and
A Canadian Native in the United States can cross the border freely. He/she
can live and work in the 'States and obtain public benefits [food stamps,
AFDC, welfare] and social services. Very significantly, the Canadian
Native -- unlike, say, a conventional non- [American] Indian alien -- does
not have to have an "alien card" [ "1-151," "alien registration card,"
"green card"], does not have to register at the U.S. Post Office as an
alien, does not have to obtain a work permit -- but he/she will have to
obtain a Social Security number.
Furthermore, unlike a conventional, non-[American]
Indian alien, he/she
cannot be deported by the U.S. government. The U.S. government cannot
exclude him/her from entry, The U.S. government cannot deny services to the
Canadian Native. The United States government cannot impound or search
sacred objects -- in possession by the Canadian Native -- which have
religious significance to him/her as a Native American. Private employers
cannot deny him/her employment for lack of a "green card," "1-151
card," "alien registration card."
For the United States Native in Canada, this is basically reciprocal.
Neither the Canadian Native in the U.S. nor the U.S. Native in Canada can
secure the "special" Federal Indian monies of the "adoptive" country
provided for "its" Natives. At various points in the 'States, however, U.S.
Indian Health Services on U.S. reservations have been provided Canadian
Native people resident thereon.
And Native people can receive, from their "home country," special Federal
Indian funds even though they are presently resident in the "other" country.
At various teaching points in the
U.S. -- especially at University of Iowa and University of North Dakota -- I
did a great deal of advocate work designed to enable Canadian Native people
to secure acceptance into U.S. higher ed institutions with conventional U.S.
higher ed financial aid. I handled an initial case at Iowa on behalf of my
good friend, the late Isabelle Deom, Mohawk activist of Caughnawaga in the
mid-1970s. Although not an attorney, I am well versed in Federal Indian Law
[United States] and have some working knowledge of the Canadian counterpart.
In this case involving Isabelle, I prepared a very
lengthy brief -- based on
Jay -- and successfully argued for her acceptance at UI with full financial
aid. Other cases arose which we also won. Even more cases occurred at
University of North Dakota -- right under the border -- and we got every
single Canadian Native student admitted there with full financial aid
[including one into Medical School which he very successfully completed.]
Early on, I was contacted by other Native academics in the United States who
also were endeavouring to secure admission and financial aid for Canadian
Natives. I prepared a trenchant memo on Jay etc as it all related to
Canadian Native people and sent it out widely where it was very well
received and used quite effectively. [No false modesty on this one!]
And again, it's a very long border -- with some places, like Akwesasne on
the St. Lawrence, always so very strategically useful in going swiftly back
Determined agitators on the Sunny Side of the Force will always find a way
through -- wherever, whenever.
In the meantime, everyone of us -- Mexico, Canada, United States and
beyond -- is going to have fight with every resource at his and her command
to protect our rights and those of all others of the fewest alternatives.
This is going to be a hell of a fight on many fronts -- already is -- but we
shall emerge from the crucibles with sharp flint in our hands and we shall
In Solidarity - Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
Native Land and Other Issues [and William Salter and the Ethical Culture Society, and Briefly Me] Hunter Gray 1/01/02]
While I certainly have no intention of burdening
ASDnet [or any other list]
with my own family history -- unless it's directly relevant to a basic
point -- I am giving a tiny and peripheral slice of it right now. It links
directly to Indian policy issues.
Yesterday, in connection with the religion/god/agnosticism/atheism
discussion at ASDnet, I made a short post on parapsychology and mentioned,
in passing, our family's substantial personal debt to the great American
philosopher, William James of Harvard. And I also mentioned James'
brother-in-law, William M. Salter, who was involved in a number of very
good causes and was a co-founder of the still very functional and
commendably humanistic Ethical Culture Society [American Ethical Union].
William Salter and his wife, Mary Gibbens Salter [whose sister, Alice Howe
Gibbens, married William James], adopted my full-blooded Native father as a
somewhat older child and changed his name legally from Frank Gray to John
Randall Salter. [He was generally called Jack.] The adoption did not work
out well -- but the connection with William James and his sons over the long
haul became, for Dad, very solid and positive. This very interesting story
is discussed at length and in detail on our large website via this link
This post produced several very friendly off-ASDnet communications -- and
one of those related very much to the person's [a New Yorker] cordial
awareness of the Ethical Culture Movement.
Felix Adler provided the first sparks for the Ethical Culture Movement about
1876 and was quickly joined by William M. Salter [Cambridge, Mass and
Chocorua NH -- with major periods of time at Philadelphia and Chicago.] A
man of great courage, Salter was deeply involved in excellent causes
throughout his life: crusaded consistently for the Haymarket anarchists
and their families, with his close colleague Jane Addams was one of the
signers of the Call to Organization of NAACP in 1909, was active in the
preliminary movements which led to the founding of ACLU.
Salter was also a major figure for decades in the almost all-White Indian
Rights Association [one of its few Native members was the very activist
Sioux physician and writer, Dr Charles Eastman.] The IRA made the mistake
that many well-meaning organizations and individuals do: i.e., formulating
policy for "people of the fewest alternatives" without consulting those
The policies of the Native American nations vis-a-vis land ownership and
usage have always been: the Creator is the ultimate owner of the land, the
tribal nation holds the land in a communalistic -- once again,
communalistic -- fashion, and the Indian people use the land respectfully
and carefully. This, of course, runs directly counter to Euro-American
individual land ownership and use-for-maximum-profit purposes.
Following the Civil War, major Anglo land-grabs of all sorts were directed
against Native Americans. These were frequently bloody assaults along, as
the excellent Sioux writer, Vine Deloria Jr, has put it so well, "The Trail
of Broken Treaties." But there were other, more cunningly Machiavellian
thrusts: e.g., the allotment schemes.
Recognizing that the communalistic land ownership/use/maintenance ethos of
the Native nations made it difficult to chip away individual hunks for Anglo
usage, the land coveting enemies of the Indian people proposed to divide the
reservation land bases into individual and family allotments [which could
then, of course, be much more easily seized by the Anglos via individualized
chicanery and fraud. ] At the same time, the well-meaning [but almost
all-Anglo] Indian Rights Association had decided among themselves that
Indian tribal societies and cultures were doomed and could not long
survive -- and that the best survival shot Indians had was simply to abandon
the "old ways" and assimilate into the Melting Pot.
The fact that Native people have always -- always -- remained primarily and
tenaciously committed to their respective tribal nations and respective
cultures and have never had any intention of assimilating [and never will]
was not recognized at that point by the Indian Rights Association and by
most other Whites.
The upshot was that both the land-hungry enemies of the Indian people and
the well-meaning Anglo friends supported -- for entirely different
reasons -- what became the infamous General Allotment [Dawes] Act of 1887
which struck many reservations [fortunately many escaped its thrust],
carved up the victim land into allotments and wrecked in those cases the
communalistic land bases. The General Allotment Act was followed in 1898 by
the Curtis Act which targeted most of Oklahoma -- Indian Territory
[authored ironically by Sen. Charles Curtis of Kansas, himself fractionally
Kaw Indian, and later to become Herbert Hoover's V.P.]
The effects of these hideous allotment schemes were predictable. Within
a few decades, the Native land base in the United States [outside of the
always complex Alaskan situation] had been reduced via fraud from 160
million acres to about 53 million. Too late did the Indian Rights
Association realize its tragic role: something it regretted for the
remainder of its active life -- many decades thereafter.
As I've indicated, many tribes were able to keep the allotment schemes
away -- but often only because the good earth they held was not at that
point viewed by the Anglo predators as at all desirable. That land, as it
turned out, often held [and holds] rich and varied mineral deposits and
featured [and features] much "recreational potential" as well as
considerable grazing land and timber and water.
And today, all Native tribes -- as always -- have to fight tooth-and-claw to
protect their lands and their resources and all of the other sacrosanct
things from the same predatory forces.
As soon as he became Indian Commissioner under FDR in 1933, the very fine
John Collier formally ended the allotment schemes. But, obviously, much
damage had been done. The tribal nations struck by the allotment attack
survived, of course, but things have been consistently tough for them.
The Indian Rights Association pushed another oft-tragic assimilationist
policy which it also later regretted for the rest of its organizational
life: it encouraged its members to adopt Native American children and raise
them as Anglos. This was an almost total disaster all the way round.
My father's Native parents -- extremely poor in the economic sense [my
grandmother went to work as a domestic at age ten] -- were persuaded to give
up my father for adoption. And it didn't work. Dad, very much aware
fortunately of his Native identity and his always enduring tribal
affiliations and Native family ties, did not assimilate -- and left the
Salters at age 15 [occasionally returning briefly to see them.] William
James took a great interest in my father and spent much time with him,
especially in the New Hampshire setting. My father and William Salter saw
James a day before James died at Chocorua, NH in 1910.
William James, aware of the fraility of the Salter
adoption of my father, set aside money in his estate which eventually -- many, many years
later -- funded my father's successful sojourn at the Chicago Art Institute which
culminated in his B.A. [Dad had never finished grade school, obviously had had no high
school.] Later my father secured his M.A. and his M.F.A. from the University of
Iowa. [Decades later, when I taught at UI in the Graduate Program in Urban
and Regional Planning, our Indian-Chicano student center exhibited much of
He went West and I am very glad to have grown up in Northern Arizona and
Western New Mexico, very much ensconced in Southwestern Native settings
[especially Navajo and Laguna] and with strong relationships to Mexico.
The Indian Rights Association, always based at Philadelphia, learned from
its mistakes -- and went on to play an extremely positive role through most
of the 20th Century. At the point it formally disbanded, ca. 1990, it had
many Native members.
The Ethical Culture Movement continues its fine humanistic work to this very
moment. Several of its leaders [ e.g.,Algernon Black, Bob Stein], aware of
my connection to William Salter, were -- from New York and occasionally on
the Mississippi scene -- very supportive of our Jackson Movement of 1961-63.
And this intriguing note: in her excellent autobiography, We Are Many
[New York: International Publishers, 1940], Ella Reeve Bloor [Mother
Bloor], early and persistent activist in the American Communist movement,
discusses on pp. 41-43 the considerable influence the Ethical Movement and
William Salter had on her development as a young person at Philadelphia in
My father, his tribal affiliations and basic cultural commitment always very
much intact, never got around to changing his name back to Gray -- although
he sometimes spoke of doing it.
And I did change my name.
In Solidarity - Hunter [Hunterbear] [formerly John R Salter, Jr]
Micmac / St Francis Abenaki / St Regis Mohawk
Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
AND RELATED NOTES -- INCLUDING SPEAKING AT CHICAGO -- AND WRITING A NEW BOOK [ 4/10/03]
Note by Hunterbear:
I'm never quite sure how interested List discussion folk are in what I
write. Some certainly are -- and, believe me, I much appreciate the good
words that occasionally come and the good vibe thoughts that I somehow pick
up. Like most of us, I'm certainly committed to fighting on -- and on --
And that also means that I keep writing.
"I've been looking at your website," Cleveland Donald, Jr.. said over the
phone the other night. "And it definitely looks like you're putting
together another book." He added, "I certainly hope so."
Cleveland, who has known me for more than four decades, is absolutely right.
An early member at 14 and 15 of our groundbreaking Jackson NAACP Youth
Council back in the very beginnings of the blood-dimmed '60s and a vigorous
participant in our massively emergent and historic Jackson Movement which he
very much helped build, recipient [at 15] of a two volume set of philosophy
writings given him by Eldri which he still retains, one of the very first
Black students into Ole Miss, he's been a Black scholar/activist for decades
and now lives and teaches on the East Coast. For a long time, he directed
Black Studies at the University of Mississippi and, when I spoke there under
his auspices in late '79 at a gathering organized by the Black Student
Union, there were by then more than 800 Black students enrolled at Ole
So I am indeed writing another book [the first one, of course, was Jackson
Mississippi which emerged in 1979 and 1987.] Portions of this now
fast developing one have appeared on various discussion lists and, along
with other pieces, are now on our large Lair of Hunterbear website.
However, there are other dimensions that will be in the book that have never
been on lists nor are they on the website. These include some much older
materials but also current, more technical writing: e.g., tactical
intricacies in grassroots organizing and advocacy; principled negotiation
and bargaining; the complex legal strategies of a long series of excellent
and committed attorneys [e.g., Bill Kunstler and his
"removal-into-Federal-courts" maneuvers and our effort to force arch-racist
Federal judge William Harold Cox of Mississippi to disqualify himself; Jess
Brown and Dixon Pyles and their creative travels through the jurisdictional
maze and personal judges' quirks in the Mississippi judicial system]; all
sorts of ideological currents and everglades; factionalism -- high and low;
violence and personally emergent non-violence; surprises -- pleasant and
otherwise; the oft-poisonous sociology of the academic manzanita thickets;
and much more.
Like almost everyone, I don't tell people everything. There are some
dimensions of my personal makeup -- innate, inherent and deep -- of which I
say virtually nothing. On the other hand, this forthcoming book will be
mostly on much that's based on my direct experience -- and, if not on that,
considerable personal contact and extensive conversations with others.
Rarely, very rarely but occasionally, I'll disguise someone or something
just ever-so-slightly to protect his/her identity
It'll be an interesting and fast-moving book -- with quite contemporary
lessons -- and the consistent ethos of Keep Fighting.
One of the things with which I've begun to come to terms [and it hasn't been
easy at all] -- and which will be in this book -- is our family's
non-blood, adoptive relationship with the Anglo family who took my Native
father and who changed his name from Frank Gray to John Randall Salter.
This was William Mackintire Salter and his wife, Mary Gibbens Salter --
among the most prominent and active liberals in the United States in the
latter 19th century into the 20th. It was a bitter adoption and it's been
only fairly recently that I've come to recognize some of the positive things
that came out of it.
At the beginning of January, 2002, I posted on William M. Salter and the
organization of which he was co-founder -- the Ethical Culture Society [now
the Ethical Humanist Society.] I spoke of the Indian Rights Association in
which he was active, his courageous defense of the Haymarket anarchists and
their families, his being one of the national signers of the
Call-To-Organization of the NAACP in 1909 -- and considerably more. That
earlier post -- which is attached to this one -- led to renewed contact with
the Ethical movement. And one result is that I'm soon-to-be speaking a
couple of times under the auspices of the Greater Chicago group -- one of
those that historically was directly and personally organized by William M.
Salter. Here's that announcement:
From the Chicago Ethical Humanist -- monthly newsletter of the Ethical
Humanist Society of Greater Chicago [April 2003]:
WORKSHOP on "NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE NEW CENTURY" is planned for Saturday,
May 3d, 1-4:30 p.m. It will be led by Hunter Gray [John Randall Salter,
Jr.], Native American activist and adopted grandson of William M. Salter,
first Leader of our Society. We will cover key contemporary challenges for
Native Americans, including the issues of tribalism, spirituality,
sovereignty and cultural commitment. For information and advance
registration, see Ken Novak or call him at 847-XXX-XXXX.
Gray will also speak the next morning at our regular Sunday, May 4th,
meeting. His topic is "Always an Activist: My Life as a Native American
And here's the background post of over a year ago:
NATIVE LAND AND OTHER ISSUES [AND WILLIAM SALTER AND THE ETHICAL CULTURE
SOCIETY, AND BRIEFLY ME] HUNTER GRAY 1/01/02