The 2017 Gathering of Potawatomi Nations will take place north of the border at the Walpole Island Indian Community, which is located in Canada just across from Detroit, Michigan. One item that all CPN members from the United States must pack in preparation for this year’s visit is a valid U.S. passport, passport card or U.S. NEXUS card.

Those travelling with minors who are not their own children or those without full legal custody may be asked to present a notarized affidavit of consent from the minor’s guardians. Applying for passports for children under the age of 16 is an entirely separate process, and more can be learned at

For tourists staying less than 180 days in Canada, there is no need for a visa of any kind. Those with past criminal records, including misdemeanors or alcohol-related driving offenses, may need to prove their time served and rehabilitation. To know what qualifies under these statutes, visit

To speed transit through border controls and customs, the U.S. and Canada both encourage travelers to enroll in trusted travelers programs that provide expedited travel for pre-approved, low risk travelers. Learn more about enrolling in these programs, visit

Apply for passports sooner rather than later

For some Citizen Potawatomi, especially those from states in the continental interior and hundreds or thousands of miles from the nearest international border, a U.S. passport has never been a necessity. Yet attending Gathering in Canada this year will not happen without it, and waiting until the last minute is in all likelihood an unworkable option.

The U.S. Department of State estimates that the routine passport application processing times are between four to five weeks, or two to three weeks if expedited at a higher fee. There are three document options for international travel between the U.S. and Canada:

Passport book – $110: Valid for all international travel.

Passport card – $30: Valid only for return to the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. This is not valid for air travel.

Passport book and card – $140: Get both documents at the same time.

All of these fees must be paid by check – personal, certified, cashier’s or travelers – or through money orders payable to the U.S. Department of State. Cash and credit or debit cards may not be an option, so prepare and research the specific application facility beforehand.

Visit to locate a passport application center near you, but in many instances in the State of Oklahoma, the county courthouse serves this role.