The border between Minnesota and Canada is 547 miles long. The entire U.S.-Canada border is 3,987 miles, excluding Alaska. That border with Canada is 1,538 miles alone. The U.S.-Canadian boundary is the largest non-militarized border in the world. In 2007, 11.2 million Canadians crossed the border to the U.S., and 10.6 Americans went to Canada. These are same day trips. This year, 12 million are expected to cross at Niagara Falls alone.

The U.S.-Mexican border compares at 1,933 miles. With public awareness focused on the Mexican border, size is apparently not the issue. Across the U.S., thirteen states have boundaries with Canada. Only four states have boundaries with Mexico. 
I just returned from a trip to Buffalo, NY where the newspapers were filled with reports about the new requirements for border crossing. U.S. citizens in Buffalo were rushing to get enhanced driver's licenses that would allow them to continue their frequent trips across the international border at Niagara Falls. 

The Six Nations of Hodenosaunee (or Iroquois) have a separate agreement with the U.S. and Canada, and will be issuing their own enhanced identity cards in December. In the meantime, special new, hologram-imbedded cards are available, which along with a letter, will suffice. The Six Nations have family and business connections across the two borders and travel regularly to and from Canada. Former agreements and treaties allowed all Six Nations members to travel freely over the borders with a simpler tribal identity card. Since 9/11, the jittery governments have stepped on their prior treaty agreements.

Along the Minnesota border, there are similar associations of Ojibwe families on either side of the U.S. - Canadian borders. Like the Hodenosaunee, much prior to the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, the territories of these native nations and the Dakota spread across the north and northwest. Further west, dozens of tribes' territories traversed the borders of the relatively new countries. 

Minnesota has four major border crossings: Warroad, Baudette, International Falls, and Grand Portage. Except for truck traffic, they are relatively pokey compared to Niagara Falls. Nevertheless, Minnesotans have the convenience of international travel without going very far.


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