CRAMER ATTENDS NORTHERN TRIBAL BORDER SUMMIT, LISTENS TO TRIBAL NATIONS’ FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS
SHAKOPEE, MN – Congressman Kevin Cramer was the keynote speaker for the Northern Tribal Border Summit today in Shakopee, Minnesota.
Held at the Mystic Lake Casino and Hotel, the goal of the Summit is to provide an opportunity for leaders from Indigenous nations and tribes located near the U.S.-Canadian border to discuss border crossing related issues with the ultimate goal of creating a set of priorities that can be used for advocacy efforts.
The meeting was attended by 15 different tribes including the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara (MHA) Nation, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Nation, and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. U.S. Federal Government officials were also present to share their perspectives and discuss programs such as the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program and the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).
Cramer emphasized his biggest priority for attending the Summit was to gain a better perspective on border issues facing tribal nations. “More than anything else, I was there to listen,” said Cramer. “To listen to first-hand accounts of struggles, to listen to places where we’re seeing success, and to listen to the viewpoints on how we can help improve the system.”
During his speech, Cramer discussed his role as a Co-Chairman of the House Northern Border Caucus and how he hopes the caucus can serve as a base to work with Indigenous nations and tribes on border concerns. “The Northern Border Caucus has helped us northern border states speak with one voice,” said Cramer. “Our bipartisan work, both on legislative and diplomatic fronts, has given us the unique ability to move forward with initiatives, which may not have happened without a unified voice. Through this Summit, I hope we can encourage the northern border tribes to join us and build an alliance to speak on border issues with one voice.”
With the start of a new Congress and Administration, Cramer has made border issues a priority. Last Friday, Cramer discussed the ongoing challenges tribal nations face while meeting with officers from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other U.S. and Canadian officials at the Pembina-Emerson Border Crossing. Earlier this year, Cramer also convened a meeting in Grand Forks with members of the Canadian Parliament to discuss harmonizing Canadian immigration policies with ours, and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
In addition to Co-Chairing the Northern Border Caucus, Cramer was also appointed to the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group by House Speaker Paul Ryan – a small group of House members charged with working to address challenges between the U.S. and Canada. Congressman Cramer is the At-Large House Representative for the great state of North Dakota.