Showdown: Will Obama recognize Indian Nation sovereignty and Haudenosaunee passports
UPDATE: Britain refused to honor the Haudenosaunee passports of the Iroquois Lacrosse team. In the end, after running up enormous hotel bills staying in New York and waiting, the team was denied visas by Britain to the Lacrosse world championships and then returned home as heroes.
Mohawk artist Tracy Thomas said, "To the Nationals, who are coming home, this is not a defeat. You have gained respect, honor and instilled pride to our children, to be who we are. We all have a piece of the Creator's heart in all of us, you have shown the world, what Lacrosse means to us, its more than a trophy, its our spiritual connection to the Creator's Game and you will play again another time."
The Mohawk Nation News said in an editorial that the refusal to honor the passport was part of the continual genocide and theft of land and resources of Indigenous peoples. Britain's demand for the Iroqouis team members to obtain US or Canadian passports was not an option.
"We are not immigrants. Being forced to carry the passports of illegal foreign corporations is blackmail," said Mohawk Nation News. Read column: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2010/07/lacrosse-passport-standoff-is-about.html
Read more about the team at:
Earlier, the US State Department issued a last minute, one-time waiver for the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team to travel on their Haudenosaunee passports, but the UK rejected it. The team was unable to board their rescheduled flight that would have placed them in England just in time for the game.
US Rep. Dan Maffei, D-NY, brought the issue to Congress twice Wednesday. Rep. Maffei demanded that Britian issue the visas, stating that it will be an international embarrassment if the team is not allowed to compete.
On Saturday, July 17, the team said in a statement that the passports reamin under review by the UK.
"The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team has not withdrawn from the 2010 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships, currently underway in Manchester, England. Today we will forfeit the 2nd game through no fault of our own. The team stands ready to travel if the United Kingdom issues us clearance to travel."
On Wednesday, the team said, "We have been informed by the Consulate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain that they will not accept the one-time travel waiver offered by the US State Department authorizing travel using the Haudenosaunee Passport for the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team and its delegation to the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships starting tomorrow in Manchester, England."
"We are deeply disappointed, and urge our friends and supporters to reach out to the British government to seek reconsideration in this unprecedented rejection of Haudenosaunee passports as well as the one-time travel waiver issued by the US State Departments as was originally requested by the UK Consulate," said the team's statement signed by Percy Abrams, executive director and Tonya Gonella Frichner, board member.
Showdown for President Obama: Will Obama recognize Indian Nation sovereignty and Haudenosaunee passports, as the Iroquois Lacrosse Team is stuck in New York
By Brenda Norrell
The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team is still stuck in New York, with the Obama Administration refusing to recognize the sovereignty of Indian Nations and the legitimacy of Haudenosaunee passports, which the team and others have been traveling on for years.
The issue is about more than a team getting to a game. For Indian Nations, it is about whether the Obama Administration will truly recognize Indian Nation sovereignty.
The US passport decision will also set a precedent for recognition of Indian Nation passports in the future, overseas and at the US borders.
While CNN, London Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post are covering the story, the Obama Administration, including the US State Department and Homeland Security, as of Wednesday morning, would not recognize the longstanding Haudenosaunee passports.
British officials will not grant visas to the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team unless the US states the team will be allowed back in the US on their Haudenosaunee passports. The game is Thursday night and the team has already spent more than $30,000 in additional funds because of the delay, funds raised from raffles and other fundraising activities.
While the team has been halted in New York since Sunday, others are currently traveling on their Haudenosaunee passports, including at least one person at the United Nations.
Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, Honorary Chairman of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team, said Lacrosse is a gift from the Haudenosaunee. The Iroquois Lacrosse Team members are an inspiration to Indian youths.
"The game of De-hon-tshi-gwa' ehs (Lacrosse) has become an inspiration to a third of the world's youth - 109 countries in all. The long-stick game is a gift to the world from the Haudenosaunee, the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. It would be strange -- beyond strange, indeed -- if the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team, the national team of the Haudenosaunee were denied participation in the World Lacrosse Championships by agencies of the United States. We are perplexed by this position taken by the Obama Administration," Lyons said.
"Since the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team's admittance to the Federation of International Lacrosse in 1983, the team has participated in every world competition as a member nation, flying our own colors, singing our own anthem and traveling on our own Haudenosaunee passports to England (1985, 1994), Australia and Japan. As citizens we have traveled internationally on our own passports since 1977. We do not take this issue of passports lightly. We have traversed our request with the utmost respect for the sovereignty of the nations involved. As Indigenous Peoples of North America, we have over 200 years of treaties and international relations with our brother, the United States."
Lyons called for support to help convince the U.S. to accommodate travel to Manchester, England. The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team and Team England are scheduled to open the World Lacrosse Championships at 7:00 pm Thursday July 15th.
"This is a call for support. We want to ensure that Native Peoples should not be told they cannot leave or cannot return to their homelands."
Lyons asked others to contact the White House at 202-456-4771 to express support for clearance to leave and return to participate in the World Lacrosse Championships in Manchester, England. Lyons asked that people let the team know if they contact the White House, by e-mailing the team at: email@example.com.
Lyons also encouraged others to email White House Indian Affairs senior staff Kimberly TeeHee at Kimberly_K._TeeHee@who.eop.gov and two State Department officials, Kathleen Milton at firstname.lastname@example.org and Lynn Sicade at email@example.com.