Americans coming into Canada
for All Native Tournament
By Roberta Aiken
November 22, 2005
The Annual All Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert
is one massive gathering running into its 47th consecutive year.
Teams representing T'simshian, Haida, Tlingit, Nisga, Nuxalk,
Haisla and many more nations all come together for a solid week
of Basketball in 4 divisions. This is one time out of the year
you can find thousands of people gathering for one cause
the love of the game. Not to mention being able to see family
and make new friends.
When the very first team from Alaska, Metlakatla Merchants, started
attending back in 1967. The Americans are treated just horribly
by our Canadian Customs Agents in Prince Rupert. Lined up for
hours with drug dogs going through the entire entourage, these
people numbering into the hundreds, have a right to be here in
the North west of British Columbia. Their families most all originate
from the T'simshian or Haida Nations of British Columbia.
What constitutes such extreme treatment from the Canadian Government?
At any other given time you can travel on the Alaska Marine Highway
System and you will never witness the same treatment that these
people suffer each and every February while trying to enter Canada.
In fact I urge you all to go down and witness the disrespect
that is shown to our families trying to come into their original
home lands. That is embarrassing to say the least - what a welcoming
party. Right! In fact last year the bunch that was turned back
literally were forced to have to ride that ferry all the way
to Seattle and back up to Ketchikan before they could be home.
This is not right.
Most of us, as humans, have done something we regret. We all
have had to humble ourselves and learn from those mistakes. Yet
how long do we have to suffer and pay for it? Sure an impaired
or DWI or any offense was a tough one but when most of these
people have lived a good honest and clean lifestyle for at least
7 years since their minor offenses. This is again wrong! Why
do they/we have to be treated like terrorists murderers or pedophiles
should be? I can see not permitting entrance into Canada on those
regards But come on these people are our very own family
members and have a god given right to come across that border
with no such harassment. They work hard as teams and individuals
to raise money to attend what is to some of them their annual
vacation. Again only to be greeted with such disgrace I would
like to challenge any Government officials to come out and see
this. All these people want to do is come play ball, see family
and friends and have a great time. Not to mention they spend
thousands of dollars in the City of Prince Rupert where the economy
has been slipping in past years.
You tell me why this situation
has to be this way? I along with many others challenge our government
to make the transition more welcoming to our Alaskan/American
families. Bring that Jay Treaty in and Sign it Canada you
are denying our rights here.
Skidegate, BC - Canada
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
Write a Letter -------Read Letters
E-mail the Editor
Stories In The News