CBP Designates Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ Enhanced Tribal Card as Acceptable Travel Document
WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians announced today the publication of a notice in the Federal Register designating the Band’s Enhanced Tribal Card (ETC) as a travel document acceptable for entering the United States at land and sea Ports of Entry.
“We are proud of our partnership with CBP that has led to the issuance of the Pokagon Band Enhanced Tribal Card," said Pokagon Band Chairman John P. Warren. "The Pokagon Band ETC allows our tribal citizens to continue to freely cross U.S. land borders and sea ports.”
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians signed a Memorandum of Agreement with CBP in August 2015 to begin the process of creating a secure travel document denoting identity, tribal membership and citizenship. Production of the cards began in June 2016.
The new enhanced travel card incorporates secure issuance processes, document security features and radio frequency identification technology that meet the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The cards will be available to qualifying tribal members on a voluntary basis.
Pokagon Band members live on reservation lands located in southwestern Michigan and northeastern Indiana and numbered approximately 4,990 members as of 2014. Tribal government offices are located in Dowagiac, Michigan.
Pokagon Band citizens have long sustained their culture and connection to their homeland; numerous place-names in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan continually reflect that connection. The Pokagon people follow their Seven Grandfather teachings: the values of Wisdom, Love, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Humility, and Family.
CBP has been working with U.S. tribes on the ETC initiative to enhance their tribal identification document since 2008. To date, 21 U.S. tribes have officially submitted an ETC Memorandum of Agreement. Out of these 21, CBP has signed a memorandum of agreement with 18 tribes: The Kootenai of Idaho, the Pascua Yaqui of Arizona, the Seneca of New York, the Tohono O’odham of Arizona, the Coquille of Oregon, the Hydaburg Cooperative Association of Alaska, the Suquamish, Colville, Puyallop, Swinomish, and Samish Tribes of Washington State, the Fond du Lac of Minnesota, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, the Caddo Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.
In the WHTI Land/Sea Final Rule, published April 3, 2008, DHS allowed all U.S. federally recognized tribes to work with CBP to produce an ETC denoting citizenship and identity that could be accepted for entry into the United States through a Port of Entry. Under a memorandum of agreement, each interested U.S. tribe will develop a secure photo identification document to be issued only to the tribe's legitimate members who could be either U.S. or Canadian citizens. These documents can be electronically verified by CBP at Ports of Entry.