Daines and Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Support Tribal Communities’ Travel Across the U.S.-Canada Border

U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced his bipartisan “Tribal Border Crossing Parity Act,” which would eliminate the 50 percent blood quantum requirement for members of federally recognized tribes when exercising their treaty-protected right to cross between the U.S. and Canada freely. 

“For too long tribal members crossing Montana’s northern border have been subject to the discriminatory 50 percent blood quantum requirement that burdens Montanans and opens them up to unjust harassment. It’s time we end this outdated policy and honor Tribal sovereignty,” said Daines.


For over 70 years, federally-recognized tribes near the Canada border have been required to carry proof, obtained through the Department of the Interior (DOI), that they are at least 50 percent Native American when exercising their right to freely cross between the U.S. and Canada. The bipartisan legislation would eliminate the outdated 50 percent blood quantum requirement and allow tribal members to solely show their tribal ID to cross the U.S.-Canada border, ending the lengthy process of gathering information to secure a DOI blood quantum certificate and eliminating confusion for Customs and Border Protection and Canadian border authorities.

This legislative effort addresses issues stemming from the Jay Treaty of 1794, which was pivotal in preventing a second war with Great Britain, establishing trade policies, and setting the U.S.-Canada border inadvertently dividing Tribal lands. The treaty originally allowed Native Americans to travel freely across the border. However, the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act amendment imposed a blood quantum requirement for this right, complicating cross-border travel for many Tribal members.

The bill is supported by the St. Regis-Mohawk Tribe of New York, the Jay Treaty Border Alliance, the National Congress of American Indians, and the National Council of Urban Indian Health.

Letters of Support:

Blackfeet Nation

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation.

To read the full text of the bill, click HERE.