Thursday, April 30, 2009
The New US/Canada Mandated Tribal ID's
For the most part, Native people are oblivious to the things that their, so-called, leaders subject them to. A case in point is the new Tribal ID card.
The US and Canada have developed new requirements for what they will accept for "legal" tribal identification cards. The arbitrary lines that they have drawn between them that have, by no small coincidence, separated our nations, communities and families; will not be passable by our people without these new cards or a fight. By and large the "recognized leadership" has laid down for the new regulations. There has been little or no resistance to the changes because our people have been left in the dark. There have been no meetings, no notices and no discussions within our communities about the details of these new regulations and information requirements. All anyone has been told is that new ID's are coming and that they will be necessary to cross between the US and Canada.
Well what are the new requirements? The new cards are high tech. They will include encrypted information on them that none of us will be able to access. The cards will not only be scannable to retrieve this info but it will be possible to send a signal that will allow the card to transmit information back to those who wish to retrieve it. So yes, we will be trackable. The technology is called RFID. See the link in the side bar for more info on RFID Chips.
If that isn't creepy enough, there is the issue of the information on file, where it comes from, where it goes to and who maintains and secures that info. This isn't just about identifying people any more. In the name of the "War on Terror", we will be placed on lists based on criminal records, tax and other financial records, biometric information, travel, political views, public statements, private statements, our associations, our relatives, our purchases and who knows what else. Determining whether an individual is on a given list will not even require an interrogation or an interview. Your card can simply be scanned and it won't even have to come out of your wallet because it will have remote access.
The fact that tribal ID's will be used for this purpose is the part that is the most unsettling. It is bothersome on two fronts. That our, so-called leadership would subject their people to this invasion of privacy is treasonous, but the ignorance of our people brandishing these things on the false belief that it is a symbol of our distinction and our sovereignty is pathetic.
How did we get this stupid? When did we become this passive? I hope that we aren't. I know there are those that have and will resist. We are the ones that always referred to a "card carrying Indian" with a certain amount of disdain. Disdain will not be strong enough for these card carriers. These cards will separate our communities dramatically if we allow them. Not only will it cause conflict in travel to and from community to community, but the divide between those that comply and those that don't may take generations to heal.
I personally would rather spend the extra twenty minutes arguing with the morons at customs and risk the challenge to my entry then let them determine how to identify myself. How many times have we heard all of the problems in our communities reduced to self esteem and identity issues. This is literally an identity issue. It has got to stop. We need to challenge these new cards and hold these tribal administrations accountable. Press the issue. Ask the questions. Demand the answers.