“The summit is the first step in establishing an alliance of similarly situated Indian nations to work on issues that affect our right to traverse our traditional territories and maintain relations to our homelands on either side of the border. This right is fundamental," Eric Thompson, a chief of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, said on Thursday. The meeting was organized by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, whose reservation in the U.S. is located in New York, and the Kootenai Tribe, whose homelands in the U.S. are in Idaho. It was hosted by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Minnesota. “The Ktunaxa Nation and its citizens have occupied Ktunaxa Territory since time began. We look forward to working with our sister indigenous governments, the United States and Canada, to ensure Ktunaxa citizens will be able to access all parts of the territory.” Chairman Gary Aitken, Jr. of the Kootenai Tribe said. During the meeting, the tribes formed the Northern Tribal Border Alliance to advance their issues before the U.S. and Canadian governments. Adequate funding is among their major priorities. "Our territory is a self-declared port and border security is a major concern to us. Major drug trafficking occurs off our coast with drugs coming in from Canada," said Chairman Nate Tyler of the Makah Nation, based in Washington state. "Unfortunately, we must compete with other governments for funding. I am glad to work with other sovereign tribal nations to ensure that we are funded directly for our efforts to protect America's northern border."
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