Treaty rights denied


I went to the Charlotte, N.C., Social Security office to apply for a Social Security card. After a few weeks of waiting, my card came in the mail and stated I was not eligible to work in America. When I asked the Social Security office why I was denied, there was no reason given but I was told, ''This is a complicated issue.'' I was told to go through Homeland Security to have my application evaluated. I mentioned to Social Security personnel I had my treaty papers, my birth certificate, my driver license, my Canadian passport and my Canadian social security card. All of this information did little to satisfy Social Security to change my status to work in America.

As a human being, I do not have a criminal record and I feel my rights have been violated. If one looks at the laws of this country, our people can work in America without a card and I feel I was treated as an immigrant in my own country. Under sections of the Jay Treaty we, as Indian people, have a right to work in America, we do not need a green card, we can live in America, cross the border freely, be eligible for benefits, et cetera!

Does anyone have any idea how I am supposed to pursue this matter when all else has failed?

- John Fox

Huntersville, N.C.

The writer is a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Canada.